Saturday, June 09, 2012

Reading Biblical Devotional Books - An Antidote to Burnout

"Over the past forty-four years or so I have been reading expository books by Bible scholars that give evidence of good background and technical knowledge while also being devotionally edifying. I find that these books do three important things to us. First, they increase our knowledge of God’s life-giving Word. Second, they give us information that would not have normally been accessible to us and thus help us to be more at home in the world of the Bible. And third, they feed the soul with eternal truth which is a great source of inspiration, joy, edification, security, and one of the surest antidotes to burnout.

Here is a list of some of the authors who have ministered to me from my late teens: Graham Scroggie, F. B. Meyer, G. Campbell Morgan, A. T. Robertson, H. L. Ellison, F. F. Bruce, Donald Guthrie, Alec Motyer, John Stott, and Leon Morris. More recently I am finding the writings of Thomas Schreiner (NT Theology), Bruce Waltke (OT Theology), Chris Wright and Don Carson doing this for me.

Then there is another kind of author who writes books that are primarily devotional but which are also biblically and theologically grounded. Here are some of my favourite authors of this kind of book: Robert Murray M‘Cheyne (A Basket of Fragments); Jonathan Edwards, E. Stanley Jones (the devotional The Word Became Flesh is amazing), Paul Rees, Wesley Duewel, Dennis Kinlaw (How to Have the Mind of Christ may be the most inspiring book I have read), J. I. Packer (Knowing God is still unsurpassed), Robert Coleman (see his latest, The Heart of the Gospel), C. J. Mahaney (Humility), Tim Keller (so many recent books), and John Piper (A Godward Life; Future Grace). The top place in this category goes to John Wesley, whose complete works I am slowly reading through. I learned his style of arguing for biblical truth when studying for my lay preacher’s exams about forty-four years ago. This has had a huge impact on my style of preaching.

These are books to read slowly. I have not finished reading most of them. And I do not feel bad about that. But by reading large chunks from these books slowly over a period of several months, the Lord has ministered the wealth of his truth to my soul. Read more

No comments: