18 November 2008

More on Reading

Hey, speaking of reading (#4 from my last post) here’s a great list on keeping your home library from the latest issue of Banner of Truth thanks to Stephen and Nate.

DIRECTION 1. Always reckon that the best book to be read, the first book to be read, and often the only book to be read, is God’s book.
DIRECTION 2. Give no credit to that opinion which holds bookishness in religion in suspicion or contempt.
DIRECTION 3. Do not be simply a collector of books. Retain them not for the number, beauty, antiquity, rarity, value, or mere possession of them.
DIRECTION 4. Mortify your library. That which you shelve may be construed the measure of that which you approve. That which you retain for reference may be read unwittingly for life (see Acts 19:19).
DIRECTION 5. Reckon that, contrary to popular expectation, those books lately written may be inferior to those of another day.
DIRECTION 6. Judge the importance of a book, not by the author’s exuberance or the publisher’s notices, but by the relative weight assigned that topic in God’s book. Weak books struggle through the press with ease nowadays, which strangely impresses the unwary.
DIRECTION 7. Do not give, lend, or recommend a book which you have not read. Do not trust an author just because he has written helpfully once or upon one subject.
DIRECTION 8. Care for your books. Esteem them as friends, for there may be times when they will be the only friends you have!
DIRECTION 9. And always a. Read widely. Avoid the accumulation of devotional material. Sermons are generally better heard than read. b. Read with discrimination. Be quick to part company with that book which fails to promote sound doctrine, solid thought, balanced inference, experimental godliness, and esteem for Christ.
DIRECTION 10. Never be found without a book nearby.

My disagreements here might be to part a of number 9 where we encouraged to “avoid the accumulation of devotional material.” As we don’t have the accompanying text with the directions I don’t want to put words in the author’s mouth. So, if I may, I would alter this to say that we should balance our libraries and therefore our reading time with both academic and devotional material. If I’m reading one then I’m usually reading the other. Otherwise I’m not academically increasing my general knowledge which should be balanced with devotional reading. In that way the former is not solely for education sake alone. I might also take some slight exception to number 4 and part b of number 9 (again giving the author the benefit of doubt as we don’t have the whole article). We must know our enemy and to do so and to be able to soundly counter him we must study his written work. If we “study to show ourselves approved” first we should then be reasonably able to discern biblical from unbiblical thus avoiding the author’s caution of what we “retain for reference may be read unwittingly for life.” On the whole I take recommendations such as these to heart and give them due thought and application in my life. How about you?

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