Friday, December 13, 2013

Devoting Your Mind in 2014

It's that time of year again. Not for Christmas shopping — for picking out a daily devotional for next year. If that is something you tend to do, and even if it's not, I'd like to recommend a different approach this year.

Instead of spending the next year reading someone commenting on one Bible verse taken out of context (I'm not a big fan of the daily devotional books, I admit), take the time and learn a little about God, Jesus, Bibliology, world views, the resurrection, and church history.

Rick Cornish wrote a little series of books: 5-Minute Theologian, 5-Minute Apologist, and 5-Minute Church Historian. Each has 100 chapters of 2-3 pages apiece. Five minutes on a theology or apologetic topic will not give you a seminary level understanding of that truth, but it will give you a better understanding. And that is a good thing for you and for the Church corporately.

(Theology: I don't agree with everything he says, but he's fair and thoughtful about everything. Apologetics: He's a typical evangelical, even when that's not always a good thing, but I think you'll be OK. Historian: I haven't read it yet, but it's harder to screw that up, so I'm comfortable saying "let's read it".)

Reading one chapter a day will take up 300 days. Double up here and there and you can be done by the fall. After that, I suggest a different kind of daily devotional. (I know what I said above, but this one's better. A lot.)

John Stott's Through the Bible, Through the Year is designed to start in September following the church year. It starts in the Old Testament, builds to Advent, goes into the life of Christ and Easter, then finishes out the New Testament. Being Stott, each entry is well-written, insightful, and based in a solid understanding of the passage of the day.

If you don't want to read the 5-Minute books, you can pick this one up and just start a quarter of the way through it (week 18).

I know I'm asking you to buy four books instead of one, but it won't be so bad if you space the purchases out. And I think you'll read these books again or loan them out. In short, you'll get your money's worth, and you'll get an solid couple of years of learning to better love the Lord with your mind.

No comments: