The fifth interview in our series on the OUP Handbooks is with Paul Dafydd Jones and Paul T. Nimmo, co-editors of The Oxford Handbook of Karl Barth. In what follows, we discuss various aspects of the work including the depth of the essays and what makes this resource distinct amongst other works on Karl Barth.[Read more…]
I recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Elizabeth Mburu about her fascinating book on biblical interpretation, African Hermeneutics (Hippo Books/Langham Publications). In this groundbreaking work, she lays out a fresh interpretive methodology, rooted in the rich soil of the African experience. I highly recommend our readers get a hold of this book and digest it slowly, even as the work is a delight to read thanks to her considerate prose.[Read more…]
The New Year began for those of us in the UK with a new lockdown fresh out of the gates. We are like toddlers struggling up the steps to the top of a slide only to arrive at a higher, scarier ascent. Where did the slide go?
On Monday morning, friends of mine returned to work (both online and in the office), only to be told that same evening that they could not leave their homes, nor could their children go to school the next day (after 2 weeks of Christmas break). For us scholars and pastors, finding time to study is never easy, but the pandemic makes it nearly impossible.
2021 begins on a low.[Read more…]
How’s that New Year’s resolution going? You know, the one you made last year, too? Didn’t you resolve to read Hebrew and Greek for 10 minutes each every morning? Or was it 20 minutes?[Read more…]
So you’re in seminary. Your journey has included countless hours of study, late nights tucked away in seldom-visited corners of the library, and copious amounts of caffeine to keep you going. Ancient Greek draws you closer to insanity, and you feel if you learn one more Hebrew stem, your brain just may explode. But if you’re a brave enough soul, you may want to supplement your class work with additional reading. Perhaps your seminary subscribes to a theological bent different than your own, and you’d like to do some research on the subject. Maybe you just want to be able to keep from saying, ‘Because my seminary taught me so,’ when someone asks why you believe in a particular doctrine. If that is the case, you’ll want to develop a reading plan to hone your beliefs. This has been my experience, and I humbly submit to you several tips concerning developing a reading plan.
1. Create a plan you can handle, and stick to it- There’s no point in creating a reading plan if it’s something you’ll follow for a week and give up on. Chances are, if you’re taking a full load of classes, working forty hours a week, and raising a family, you won’t be able to read a book a week. Also if your goal is to read through Calvin’s Institutes or Grudem’s Systematic Theology, you may want to give yourself ample time to work through those. So figure out how much time you have to devote to additional reading, and create a plan that will stretch you, but at the same time won’t overwhelm you.
2. Take notes- If you’re anything like me, you forget 99% of what you read the moment you flip the page. So it helps to keep a notebook handy to jot down anything you find to be particularly important. Remember, reading is not a race; it’s okay to take your time as you go through a book if it helps you to keep from forgetting what you’ve learned. It may even be helpful to summarize each page or chapter in a few paragraphs if what you’ve read is especially heavy.
3. Vary it up, Part 1- It’s important when studying a particular doctrine to read authors which approach the doctrine from various angles. For example, if you’re a cessationist, don’t read books on the spiritual gifts written only by fellow cessationists. Check out something by a continuationist. It will give you a better understanding of the arguments made by the other side, as well as dispel any misconceptions you may have about the other viewpoint. It’s not the easiest thing to read something you disagree with, but in the end it will strengthen your own view, or even cause you to reconsider your position.
4. Vary it up, Part 2- You should also consider reading other types of books occasionally. If you are reading only deep theological books, you may be refreshed by picking up something lighter from time to time. This doesn’t have to be hard: if you like baseball, read a book on Roberto Clemente. If you are interested in literature, pick up Little Women. This is especially helpful if you are planning to read many books in a short period of time, as the change of pace can keep you from losing a zeal for reading.
5. Don’t forget the Word!- This is the most important tip concerning a reading plan. Remember that your purpose in reading is to serve you as you study the Word, and to prepare you for ministry. It’s not intended to replace Bible reading with something else. Whatever your reading plan, it must not take a bite out of your time in the Word.
Most seminaries offer excellent libraries where students can find books on any subject imaginable. Make use of the extensive collection offered in your library while you have this wonderful opportunity. A reading plan can benefit any seminary student, if well-planned and carried out. By following a reading plan and abiding in God’s Word, there is potential for great growth in seminary apart from and in addition to the rigors of class work. May these tips be helpful; may you grow in grace and truth through your supplemental reading endeavors, and may God always be glorified and honored!
Going to seminary involves books… LOTS of books. Half way through my first semester I saw a guy in class open one of his books and proceed to place it on the small metal stand… BRILLIANT I thought. Right there, next to his laptop sat his book, wide open and propped up to reduce having to bend over.
The next day I went to my local Barnes and Nobel and picked one up for $4. It was an AMAZING investment.
Everyone reads in different places. Personally, I am a desk reader. That typically means I have the book on the desk and I’m hunched over it reading. This is a horrible position in which to spend long amounts of time. Now that I have my book stand I simply prop up the book (I usually set the stand on a couple of my bigger books to get it to eye level) and presto, the text is in front of my face and I can sit back and read.
Now, by far, the greatest use of the book stand comes into play during paper time. Being able to prop open a book I’m quoting from or referencing and not having to bend over to read the words then back up to type… priceless! I set the book I’m using right next to my screen and go to town.
Now, there are tons of Book Stand options. For me, the cheap, lightweight book stand is where its at. I can throw it in my bag and take it where ever I go. It makes for a great lunch companion when your hand are full of food and you need to read.
Any other book stand nerds out there?