Entering the Popular Reading Fray

I just ordered The Shack & Young, Restless and Reformed.

Currently I am reading:

  • MacArthur Study Bible NKJV
  • Mark, Pillar Commentary Series by James Edward
  • The Letters of Samuel Rutherford
  • Our Lord Prays for His Own by Marcus Rainsford

Just completed:

  • The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God’s Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin by John Piper.
  • The Pleasures of God by Piper.

My reading has been hobbled by eye issues, but Dr. Bauder has inspired me/kicked me in the seat, to get going. I don’t know if I can do fifty but I can do much better. What is everyone else reading? Any recommendations?


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Top 10 Book Recommendations

If you had to choose 10 spiritual books to be stuck on a desert island with which would you pick? Here are my choices:

  1. New Inductive Study Bible
  2. Bible Knowledge Commentary – Wolvoord & Zuck
  3. Pilgrims Progress – John Bunyan (The Holy War by Bunyan is also strongly recommended)
  4. The Life and Diary of David Brainerd – edited by Jonathan Edwards
  5. Hudson Taylor 2-vol biography – Dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor
  6. To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson – Cortney Anderson
  7. Knowing God – J.I. Packer
  8. Christian Theology – Millard Erickson
  9. Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers and Quotations
  10. Hymns of Grace and Glory – edited by Pinkston

Upon a visit to the “cataract of Niagara” October 25, 1822

Friday, Oct. 25 I walked twenty-two miles to see the cataract of Niagara. I descended a spiral staircase of one hundred steps ; then casting my eyes upward, beheld the rocks towering one hundred and fifty feet above my head, while immense volumes of water poured from this height in awful majesty. These circumstances, tighter with the continued roar of the water falling into the awful gulf beneath, and then passing along in dreadful agitation – the trembling of the earth around the cataract—the rising spray, with the attending rainbow—united to form a scene more sublime and impressive, than any I had ever witnessed. Stupid must be the mind that can view such a wonder without being led to adore its Divine Author. On this occasion my heart adopted the language of the inspired penman, “Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the god! Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders.” “The heavens declare thy glory, and the firmament showeth thy handy work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.”

While beholding the constant motion of the stream, I was forcibly struck with its analogy to man’s voyage down the stream of time. A few miles above the falls, the river glides gently and undisturbed; is the morning of life passes smoothly away. As in a little distance, the smooth surface of the a water is broken in passing over the rocks, and with inconceivable swiftness is finally hurried down the tremendous precipice; — so after a few days, the fair appearances of earthly prospects are broken on the rocks of disappointment, and every passing moment hastens the living to that dread precipice, whence they must launch into eternity. Still, while the sons of vanity know this, they sport and amuse themselves with that which cannot profit, and that which renders their hearts insensible to their dreadful danger. Thus they remain stupidly ignorant of the horrid gulf into which, unless they soon awake, they will as surely plunge, as the waters of Niagara, in their course, plunge down the precipice. Should we not think people beside themselves, were we to see them enter a vessel a few mile s above the falls, suffer it to float with the current, and in the meantime waste their hours in sleep, or amuse themselves with frivolous reading, dancing, card playing, decking themselves with ornaments, or gorgeous and costly apparel, till they should find their bark leaving the gentle stream, and hastening with awful speed down the irresistible current? Then in vain they might turn their eyes from the danger; — in vain might they strive to forget their condition. Nothing now can save them from the sad and final doom! Should we not pity them? Should we not, before they are passed beyond the reach of help, labor diligently to aroused them from their stupidity; to warn them of their danger, and to turn them from their fatal course? Humanity answers, yes. And while men, floating rapidly down the stream of time, must soon launch into eternity—and, if not aroused from their insensibility to spiritual things, must sink into the burning lake; shall we labor less diligently for their eternal welfare—or be less anxious to save them from the far more dreadful destruction that awaits them? Heaven says, no. Reason and revelation say no. And conscience approves the decision. But, Oh! how astonishing the mournful truth—that men are offended when we seek their welfare; when we strive to awaken them from fatal stupidity; and from this count us enemies, and treat us as foes!

From:

The Life and Memoirs of David Marks, Minister of the Gospel, Marilla Marks, Dover, 1846.

New Inductive Study Bible (Part 3) Method Overview

The real benefit that this study Bible brings to the believer’s exploration of the Truth rests in the study method that it promotes. This Bible does not come with verse by verse notes as most study Bibles do. Rather, it promotes a method whereby the believer discerns the truth for himself, inductively. The old adage stands true that “If you give someone a fish you feed him for a night; if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” This Bible will teach you how to fish.

The goal of Bible study should be to determine what the author intended the words, which he penned under inspiration, to mean. The text has many applications, but it has one meaning. This method guides the student to identify the historical, grammatical, and contextual meaning of each passage.

First, the reader is instructed to prayerfully seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We need to remember that Bible Study is spiritual work, and the truths are spiritually discerned. Next, the study attempts to establish breadth of view, by directing the student to read and re-read the book under consideration. After establishing a sound big picture, the details need to be identified. This is accomplished by asking yourself the five “Ws” and “H” (Who, What, When, Where, Why and How). It seems so simple, but it takes practice to do this well. Perhaps the most visible part of this method is the next step, during which the student is instructed to “mark key words.”  The Bible gives an initial suggested list of these key-words for each book, but personal investigation will reveal more.

After gathering all of the facts, now it is time to synthesize them. This is done by establishing a title/theme for each chapter (sometimes paragraph) as well as for the entire book . This is not just what you are emotionally led to make the theme; rather, it is what the details and context dictate the theme to be.

You will find that practice improves your abilities to exercise this approach. However, from the very beginning you will find that the approach slows you down and forces you to reflect and mediatate upon what you are reading. The goal of the study is not to tally the chapters that you have read. The goal is to know what God’s Word means, what that reveals of Him, and how that reflects upon us.

David Brainerd’s Diary: July 18, 1745

“Longed to spend the little inch of time I have in the
world more for God. Felt a spirit of seriousness, tenderness, sweetness,
and devotion – and wished to spend the whole night in prayer and
communion with God.”

How I wish for Brainerd’s devotion, eternal perspective, and spiritual fire. The Diary of David Brainerd is my #1 favorite biography. Reading this diary takes effort, it is not an endevor to be entered upon lightly. Unquestionably, his writings reveal his flaws, but they also reveal the heart of the man yearning for God. If you choose to read this biography you need to commit yourself from the outset to complete it without setting it aside. You also need to allow time for reflection upon what the words reveal about walking with God and what they reveal about your own life.