February 1, 2013
Reading good writing is requisite for producing good writing. Artists learn technique by copying masterworks. Mechanics learn their skill by taking machines apart and putting them back together. We can likewise put into practice ideas like the ones offered here by imitating exemplars … We also encourage you read broadly in order to find your own sources of inspiration.
I do not claim to be a great writer. But one further, logical suggestion that improves ones ability to write is to write. Practice makes perfect.
December 6, 2012
I’m excited to get to read and review Murray Harris’ new book Prepositions and Theology for Criswell Theological Review. The book should arrive any day in the mail, and I plan on diving in right away. After all, what can be more exciting than reading about prepositions, right?
November 23, 2012
I came across this post via Dave Black’s blog. The post explains why Leaders are Readers. Enjoy!
May 8, 2012
This week, my wife and I began the daunting task of organizing my study. My task? To decide which books I absolutely have to take with me to Germany, which to store, and which to throw out or pass along. I narrowed my essential books down to these two piles (see picture). The taller stack on the left is the books that will come in suitcases, in the shorter stack are the books I hope to read or re-read before our departure.
Then, once the study was organized, I was able to take some pictures of my desk. Unfortunately, it will not fit into a suitcase and is too big to be a carry on, so I’m going to list it on Craigslist.
February 22, 2012
Recently I received Logos 4, a Bible study software for the computer. I received this software as payment for some articles I wrote a while back. Now the challenge is to figure out how this software works. I’m thrilled about many of the books in my Logos library; here are some that I had been wanting and now own:
- Synonyms of the New Testament (Trench)
- A Short Syntax of NT Greek (Nunn)
- A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Metzger)
- TDNT (Kittel)
- The Works of Josephus
- A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the NT (Barclay Newman)
- The Genre, Composition and Genre of the Epistle of James (Cheung)
- GKC: Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar
- Greek-English Lexicon of the NT Based on Semantic Domains (Louw-Nida)
- A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint (Lust)
- An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon (Liddell)
What resources do you find most helpful to your study of the Scriptures, which source do you use the most, and which should be found in every Bible student’s library? Let me know and I’ll be sure to add them to my new electronic library.
January 28, 2012
Today I finished George Bailey’s Germans: Biography of an Obsession. There were so many excellent points, in fact I scribbled and underlined on nearly every page. I also found Bailey fascinating, especially his interest in languages. Bailey’s first exposure to the German language came at the age of 12 when he began spending summers in the wilderness of Washington state with his lumberjack German uncle. Then at the age of 16 Bailey began working in a kitchen on a midwestern train, where he was surrounded by Germans and Poles and Czechs and Russians. Bailey then got a scholarship to Columbia College in New York city. He chose to study Classics with a focus on Greek. During his studies, Bailey was drawn to the kitchen of a nearby Hebrew seminary, where again he was exposed to numerous languages, including Hebrew. Bailey exchanged lessons in German for lessons in Hebrew with one of the students. Then, during WWII Bailey served as an army translator, communicating primarily in German and Russian. After the war, Bailey chose to study at Magdalen College, Oxford, under the famous C. S. Lewis. Bailey recounts several stories of his encounter with Lewis, including the time when Lewis was forced to confess to Bailey that he could not read a German quote.
Here were some of my favorite takeaways from Bailey’s book:
“What attracted me to German from the first was its distinctness and clarity. It was hard, clear, and sharp. . . . It seemed to me the manliest of languages. There were those wonderful reinforced consonants: “Stumpf” instead of stump, “Schwert” instead of sword (where only the first and last consonants are pronounced)” (Germans, 16).
“The study of languages is an intellectual pursuit. But the pursuit does not make the intellectual; the intellectual makes the pursuit. In fact, in a curious way knowledge of a foreign language tends to inhibit one from reading widely. While the linguist is able to read the original text he often can do so only with the greatest difficulty. The ability coupled with the difficulty acts as a double deterrent: it rules out reading the work in translation and discourages struggling with the original text (Germans, 22; I had to chuckle when I read this, for I’ve often thought that I could have done a lot more reading if I hadn’t spent so many long hours trying to learn some new language).
“The chief significance of being at a university is the access to books” (Germans, 152).
August 25, 2011
I hope you get as much pleasure out of this quote as I did today, and that it motivates you to continue writing:
“Reading alound . . . is the nourishment of style; for we imitate most beautifully when our mind has been stamped by beautiful examples. And who would not take pleasure in reading aloud, readily taking in what has been created by the toil of others? Just as it is no help for painters to admire the works of great ones unless they themselves put their hand to painting, so neither the words of older writers nor the multitude of their thoughts nor their purity of language nor harmonious composition, are useful to those who are going to engage in rhetoric unless each student exercises himself everyday in writing” (The Exercises of Aelius Theon, quoted in Kennedy, Progymnasmata, 5-6).
Some thoughts I take away from this:
- Good writers are good readers
- Good writers read good authors, or, as the quote so eloquently says, good writers nourish their minds with beautiful examples
- Good writers read old authors
- Good writers imitate, whether consciously or subconsciously, those whom they read
- Good writers write regularly
August 21, 2011
How has your summer reading been going? I’ve enjoyed some pretty good ones so far. Most of my reading has been related to my thesis in James. It’s amazing, with each new article and book I read about the Epistle, I gain another insight into already familiar territory. Outside of my thesis, I’m currently enjoying Yoder’s The Politics of Jesus and Wright’s The New Testament and the People of God. Waiting for me on the shelf are some works by Kierkegaard, Old Testament Theology by Sailhammer, and some on the language of the NT. In my personal devotions, I’m currently reading through Acts and Genesis. I’m also trying to read through Augustine’s The City of God to keep up with Latin. With my 8 month old daughter, I’ve been reading God must really love shapes and God must really love colors.
On a related note, I noticed THIS article this morning about the president’s summer reading list. Looks like he’s been into some fiction lately.
February 11, 2011
“It is important to acquire early in life the power of reading sense wherever you happen to be. I first read Tamburlaine while traveling from Larne to Belfast in a thunderstorm, and first read Browning’s Paracelsus by a candle which went out and had to be relit whenever a big battery fired in a pit below me, which I think it did every four minutes that whole night” (Lewis, Surprised by Joy, 32).
Did you catch that? Lewis read Paracelsus in a fox hole in world war one with bombs exploding around him, at night, by candle light. Now that is book sense.
I’m learning the joy’s of reading sense, as Lewis describes it. First, always have a book in arms reach no matter where you are — some unexpected delay may afford you the perfect opportunity to steal some minutes in a book. Second, learn to read in short spurts, in an environment full of distractions and noise. Third, have a book next to the bed at night, rather than being frustrated you can’t sleep, be thankful for the chance to read.
January 11, 2011
Patrick has posted a great quote about prayer and reading. He quotes B. B. Warfield:
Sometimes we hear it said that ten minutes on your knees will give you a truer, deeper, more operative knowledge of God than ten hours over your books.
“What!” is the appropriate response, “than ten hours over your books, on your knees?” Why should you turn from God when you turn to your books, or feel that you must turn from your books in order to turn to God? If learning and devotion are as antagonistic as that, then the intellectual life is in itself accursed, and there can be no question of a religious life for a student, even of theology.
Don’t you find that true in your own reading and study, that you often pray as you read? Now, that is not to say that “closet prayer” is unimportant. But when it comes to choosing reading material, my favorite is the kind that draws me to my knees. In fact, I found myself doing that just today when I read,
To please people is worthy of reproach not only or primarily because it indicates that the person who tries to please others is not being fully honest, independent, and driven only by the truth. it further suggests that the way he is trying to appeal to the others is not by serving their best interest or the interest of truth, but by appealing to their selfishness or their desire to be flattered (Yoder, To Hear the Word, 6).