A place to start

Chris, reading ideas seem to be the flavor of the month in the blog world (see Chris Pixley’s post below). Nevertheless, these are really good questions, I will take a shot at a few of them. I hope you won’t mind my responding in a post since this is probably too long for a comment.

I know preachers always say this but our first love in reading should be the Scriptures. Too many times I have been able to rattle off a list of books I’m reading only to be far too deficient in the only book that really matters. I have truly made a conscious effort to increase my Bible intake with the goal of reading through Scripture about three times a year. The other change came when I read a few books by Hughes Oliphant Old on worship and prayer (I have come to cherish anything he has in print…much on preaching too). Learning to constantly ask the Lord to “open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things form His law” has meant everything in my study. Along these lines, Matthew Henry’s “A Method of Prayer” was huge in transforming my prayer practice, especially as it relates to ministry of the Word.

Outside of Scripture I’m reading T. H. L. Parker’s “Calvin’s Preaching.” I’m also making my way through LOTR and Augustine’s “Confessions.” In the way of periodicals and journals, I subscribe to The Master’s Seminary Journal, The Journal of Modern Ministry, Reformed Quarterly, Time Magazine, ESPN, U. S. News and World Report, World, Forbes, The Week, and National Review.

Building an effective ministry library is like owning Google stock, it’s expensive and you can never have too much of it. As a “general rule” I only purchase commentaries and resources on whatever I’m teaching at the moment. Yes there are always exceptions but this is where I try to focus my attention and budget. In preparing for sermons, the books I turn to most are TDNT, BAGD, TWOT, ISBE and whatever commentaries I can find on the particular study. At the moment that means a lot resources on the Sermon on the Mount and the Minor Prophets.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Paul-

    I’d love to compare notes when you finish Parker’s Calvin’s Preaching. Few really recognize that his preaching is probably to be seen as Calvin’s greatest legacy. In fact, it’s tough to truly understand his Institutes apart from the recognition that Calvin was, first and foremost, an exegete and Bible expositor.

  2. Chris,
    You couldn’t be more right about Calvin. I actually preached one of his sermons for our Reformation celebration and some were amazed at how “current” it sounded and how helpful he was in his exposition of the text.

    I just read his introductory letter from his commentary on Hosea and it is full of wisdom for preachers. There is one nugget there that I will use on a post very soon.

    Parker writes, “The impulsion, or compulsion, to preach was theological. Calvin preached because he believed. He preached in the way he did because he believed what he did” (pg.1).

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