Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Dear Timothy 12: Keep Studying

This letter written by Ligon Duncan is one of the best in this book. Its message is applicable to all Christians, but especially to pastors. Here is a humble attempt to capture the main nuggets:

The Importance of Study

Study is commanded and encouraged in the Bible. The great example is of the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy. At the end of his life, Paul asked Timothy to bring his books so that he could continue to study in prison. Duncan has a Spurgeon quote on this point that is worth the price of this book.

What to Study

Life is too short to waste on insubstantial reading. Duncan says, "you want to be reading soul-fattening books--works that will increase your knowledge, you love for the Lord and your confidence in Scripture" (p. 201). Duncan has a C.S. Lewis quote that is worth the price of 100 of these books. Here are the works Duncan lists as worth reading for pastors:
  • A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (Sam Waldron)
  • The Religious Life of Theological Students (B.B. Warfield)
  • Knowing God (J.I. Packer)
  • The Reformed Pastor (Richard Baxter)
  • Pilgrim's Progress (John Bunyan)
  • Survey of the Bible (William Hendriksen)
  • A Quest for Godliness (J.I. Packer)
  • Redemption Accomplished and Applied (John Murray)
  • Christianity and Liberalism (J. Gresham Machen)
  • Holiness (J.C. Ryle)
  • No Place for Truth (David F. Wells)

Above All:

  • Bondage of the Will (Luther)
  • Institutes of the Christian Religion (Calvin)
  • Institutes of Elenctic Theology (Turretin)
  • Marrow of Theology (Ames)
  • Reformed Dogmatics (Heppe)
  • John Bunyan, John Owen, John Gill, John Dagg, C.H. Spurgeon, and Carl Henry

How to Study

Read, Reflect, Write, Teach, Live

When You Study

Duncan urges us to schedule study time and keep it sacred so that not much interrupts us.

Why You Study

He says, "We want to learn in order to be serviceable to the church" (p. 212).

What You Aim at in Studying

Duncan gives six aims for our studying. We should not study simply for mere head knowledge or higher degrees. We should study to increase our effectiveness and to be more godly.

What You Do With Your Study

We should turn our study into prayer.


Rob Tombrella said...

awesome---what's the quote worth 100 books?

justin said...

The quote is actually several pages long. Too long to post here. However, I will link to it in another post.
It comes from Lewis' introduction to an Athanasius work on the incarnation.

Mark Redfern said...

Sam Waldron, author of the Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession, is one of my pastors and the man that I am studying under in preparation for ministry.