What I Read and Why
Since I am called to teach and preach on the Kingdom of God, I have placed upon myself a very demanding reading regiment so I will have a biblical worldview for every major arena of life. This means I cannot concentrate on only one area of study. For example, as much as I love reading history I cannot only focus on that area because I would then be unbalanced in other areas. Hence, I have a continual diet of study that includes various areas of discipline.
Scripture teaches us to take every thought captive by the knowledge of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). As this New Year approaches I have an even greater hunger in my heart to study the word of God and books on other subjects that will better enable me to be a minister of the Gospel of Christ. The purpose of this article is to encourage myself and other leaders and ministers of the gospel to live a life of study and devotion that will be far greater than anything we have ever undertaken in the past!
The following are areas in which I have a goal to study, with at least one scriptural verse to support doing so. I desire to study:
1. History, because I want to understand the present and be adequately prepared for the future (Proverbs 22:3; Ecclesiastes 1:9).
I study world history to see the hand of God on the nations; I study American history to better understand how and why our nation is in its present condition; I study church history because Jesus has been building and the Holy Spirit has been teaching His church for over 2,000 years, so I want to learn what they have been doing with the saints during this time.
2. Theology, because I want to continually grow in the knowledge of God (2 Peter 3:18). In past centuries theology, or divinity, as taught in Ivy League schools like Harvard and Yale, was called the queen of the sciences in which all other subjects evolved around and without which no other subject could be understood or placed properly.
3. Economics, so I can effectively steward my finances for the glory of God (Deuteronomy 8:18).
4. Apologetics (the defense of the faith), so I can be ready to give a reason for the hope that I have in Christ (1 Peter 3:15; Jude 3).
5. Current events, so I can apply the Bible to contemporary life and culture and be relevant as the salt of the earth and the light of the world (1 Chronicles 12:32).
6. Eschatology (the doctrine of last things), so I can learn how to live my life today (Ephesians 1:9-11). Truly, our eschatology always determines our protology (our understanding of God’s purposes for humanity)!
7. Biographies, so I can model my life after the way of good people (Proverbs 2:20).
8. Philosophy, so I might know how to answer those taken captive by empty philosophy (Colossians 2:8).
9. Leadership and management, so I can more effectively grow organizations I manage and nurture world-class leaders for the next generation (2 Timothy 2:2).
10. Science, so I can more adequately declare the glory of God (Psalm 19; Romans 1:20-21).
11. Nutrition, so I can glorify God in my body by practicing preventative holistic health (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).
12. Literature, so I can relate to books from the past and present that have framed societal thinking (Daniel 1:17).
13. Poetry and art, so I can relate the gospel through metaphor, beauty, and subtlety (Proverbs 11:30; 1 Corinthians 9:19-23).
14. Music, so I can connect emotionally with those I have befriended and am communicating the gospel.
15. The writings of the mystics (for example, A.W. Tozer) so I can obey the greatest commandment and grow in my love and devotion to Christ (Matthew 22:37-40).
16. Emotional health, so I can live a balanced life and mature in my relationships with myself and those around me (1 Thessalonians 5:13).
17. Marriage and family, so I can love my wife as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:22-6:4).
18. Urban missiology, so I can learn how other urban practitioners are making a difference in their communities (read the book of Nehemiah).
19. Action research, so I can learn effective ways of proving theories, and so I can become a contemplative practitioner (Luke 9:10).
20. Motivation and self-help, so I can sharpen my life skills and obtain personal mastery in areas related to my calling (Genesis 1:26; 1 Corinthians 9:26-27).
21. Growing trends and statistics, so I can properly analyze where the church and culture are heading based on God’s sovereign hand (Daniel 2:20-22).
22. Christian psychology, so I am better equipped to minister to the emotional needs of others (Luke 4:18).
23. Sociology and anthropology, so I can learn case studies of human behavior and better understand human nature (John 2:24-25).
24. Biblical and contemporary law, so I can apply God’s moral and civil law to public policy.
25. The Bible, which alone has, in seed form, the universal principles of every discipline mentioned above and beyond so I can live a wise life, be equipped for every good work, discern between my emotions and my spirit, and live a prosperous life growing in faith that comes by continually hearing the rhema word of the Lord (2 Timothy 3:15-16; Hebrews 4:12; Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1; Romans 10:17).
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