“Read Less, and Still be a Christian” (or) The Most Freeing Thing I Have Heard in a Long Time

When you attend seminary, especially a seminary presided over by a genius who reads and remembers everything, a seminary where there is a generally high-level of academic emphasis and aspiration; when you attend a seminary like that, you get sucked into thinking that to be a good, intelligent Christian, you should read lots of books. And, if you have a blog, you should review them. And so on. Reading and/or reviewing a lot of books is great. The problem is that most people read too slowly to do this well. I am one of those people.

Recently, I heard both Mark Driscoll and John Piper reference the idea (probably coming from some comments by Piper), that how much you read is not as important as what and how well you read. (I think both references are from the Resurgence Text and Context conference. Go to theResurgence.com and you’ll find it.)

That’s like an earthquake, jail-breaking light bulb for me. It’s like liberty proclaimed to a captive, who thinks that he has to read every possible book on every possible subject for God to be pleased. Some people can do that, and do it well. Others, need to focus, churn, meditate, soak.

Reading is crucial. Reading the Bible is the most important. But other good, solid reading is huge as well.

Reading slowly, methodically, and carefully is allowed. You don’t have to read dozens and dozens and dozens of books every year to grow in true knowledge of God and all that that entails. You should read often and read consistently. But, as the saying goes, quality is better than quantity.


About Danny Slavich

I am a Christian husband, father, pastor, and poet. I lead Pembroke Road Baptist Church a multi-cultural, multi-generational church in urban South Florida.
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4 Responses to “Read Less, and Still be a Christian” (or) The Most Freeing Thing I Have Heard in a Long Time

  1. Richter says:

    This is a fantastic post. I constantly feel overwhelmed because I have so many of friends (like you) that are well read and I feel like I am in the dust. So I buy lots of books that I want to read (trying to keep up), forget about them because I am a slow reader and can’t read two books at once and so they never get read. But the idea of a slow, methodical, and careful reading is awesome. Really taking the time to digest what you are reading. Makes me excited to buy a lot of books that I want to do that to…though they will never get read.

  2. Paul Roberts says:

    Very well said! I’m linking this on Facebook.

    “Too often we use that phrase [‘well-read”] to mean the quantity rather than the quality of reading. A person who has read widely but not well deserves to be pitied rather than praised. As Thomas Hobbes said, ‘If I read as many books as most men do, I would be as dull-witted as they are.'” — Mortimer Adler, in “How to Read a Book.”

  3. Danny Slavich says:

    Justin, I’m glad that this is encouraging to you.

    Paul, thanks, and that is a great quote!

  4. Pingback: more about reading « Today …

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