How do you approach reading

JeffR

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello esteemed brothers and sisters,

I would just like to share and expostulate upon my manner of going through a learning process, which is more than 50% made up of reading, and the rest of online resources, i mean thereby that which are tools which i have at my disposal, in a physical sense. As i progress the less will i comment on such things, using phrases beginning with the word my, but as i am enthusiastic about this approach, i find it interesting to voice it here, and see if from such wording of it, it can help aid me in better wordings in the future as my heart is ever transformed by God through Christ, and these resources.

This approach has been theoretically a part of my readings no matter what the subject matter, and at least for the time being i find it to be promising a most exciting and worthwhile approach in the very large subject matter of Christianity. And this approach's working title is "all at once", using all the various kinds of resources amassed over time, to come to, to ever be coming to a multi-dimensional understanding of what can be a very complex subject due to it's massiveness.

In this part of my life i see, and daily have been getting confirmations in my deeper consciousness that there has to be a base, a strong foundation for such an approach, and this is The Reformed position upon not just theology, but upon the life of the believer, The Puritans being some of the most applicable guides to living godly and holy. So the foundational array of resources is that, of the broadly Reformed tradition, which i like because i like to have as much as possible to look up to. As i mature i may be more discerning and gain a helpful critical view of some of the finer details, and PB would definitely be instrumental on that.

Then there is the larger context of the Christian faith, 1st off the areas of special interest, for example the Charismatic movement, Dispensationalism, the mystic tradition, and so on.

And then from a secure regulated use of the above, i would then, with caution test the waters of some of the things i was interested and led astray by in my other periods of experience, in the fields of philosophy, social sciences, sundry historical topics, like The Founding Fathers, which may for me unveil itself as being a vital element of Christianity, and so many other things, perhaps new to me through a more extensive and rigorous study of the aforementioned things.

I so much love reading out loud to my dad in a relaxed manner, the great books that nourish the soul, and venturing through all the other material in the manner stipulated above.

A fear i have is how will i live alone after dad passes, and i feel God is using this time to prepare me for when that may happen. It's like i'm a mass of blubber spiritually, and i'm beginning to recuperate from a lifetime of not doing what i ought to have done, and by God's grace and patience, the after photo of me would be of a person who could perform normal functions and walk relatively long distances.

Thank you for reading everyone, this is probably not up to Puritan Board standards of excellence, but i felt at the time i could perhaps share this, if i'm too self critical, may i grow up soon.
 
If i may, i would like to keep posting in this thread my ongoing thoughts, in this journey, walk that newly these days has become a refreshed reality. I could ostensibly do this privately, but maybe there's someone who'd see this and find it edifying in some way, or those seasoned believers to take pity on me and nudge me in a better route.

So, tonight, in the wee morning hours of March 26, 2024 i'm affirming in my mind and resolving to take the plunge and learn from online resources, trusted resources which i've only skimmed in the past, on subjects and personages that i feel called to learn more about. The one i'm currently on is a video from Reformed Forum, episode number 666 on the history of Dispensationalism, and it's becoming very informative, the guest speaker mentioned this https://www.amazon.ca/dp/0875523749...434AOPEU&psc=1&ref_=list_c_wl_lv_ov_lig_dp_it as an excellent resource, but unavailable in an ebook format, well if i see it in a google search that would be nice, but for the time being i can do without buying more books for awhile.

Previously saw a quick video with Dr. Beeke describing how he reads devotional material, very nice, Beeke is a Godsend to this modern world, but another perspective i gained from the Reformed Reddit group where i saw someone with concerns about the chances of idolizing the Puritans, and surely that can be a pitfall for an unstable person, i would like to guard myself against that, and just keep making clear to myself that it's just that the Puritans can be so helpful in clearing the vision and sentiments to what really matters, God's Word, Jesus, and how we are living the Christian life.

My dad is very much in line with the End Times mentality, and it's an eye opener for me to hear this Reformed Forum discussion which is gently and objectively critiquing it all. This night dad asked me what i thought of Rick Joyner, now he and my late mom used to minister to a guy who had a spiritual warfare problem, and Joyner was a name to be reckoned with for that person, along with Derek Prince, something happened with my parents so that at some point they distanced Prince from their warm sentiments. I mention this because my whole life up to now has been rolled up with my folks, and now as i unpack all the layers of things, i find it possible to make sense of these matters, how to dialogue with other kinds of biblical adherence, to do this with a spirit of love, while fearlessly pursuing the truth. (Just a little window into my present concerns, if this kind of thing is alright, i'll be honored to chart my progress here for all to see.)
 
At the top of my google document which spells out in intrinsic detail what resources i have and my progress, maybe if it goes well and is deemed of interest i'd send this document to some publisher :eureka: i put this at the top to orient myself

All unto Jesus Christ , the author and finisher of my faith, The Word of God made flesh, what follows are the tools at my disposal as my earthly sojourn continues.

In brief, in order of the tools’ importance:

1. Prayer
2. Study bibles
3. Reformed Literature
4. Resources concerning Christianity in general
5. Select literature for aesthetic and other interests

In this sequence the second mentioned is always dependent on what precedes it. #5 therefore would be that which i have a good reason to be spending any amount of time with. No blanket rules will i give for being a licence of any sort.
 
Today -- March 28, 2024 marks the beginning of a new practice for me, in my document, mentioned above, whenever i read from a source it will go into there at the right place according to my apprehension of where it would go. The list is arranged in this way:

1. Reformed literature (RL) -- not at this time detailing a line from say Augustine to Aquinas for example as i only hear (and believe) there is a strong continuance thereof, but seeing Bullinger/Calvin as the generally accepted starting points of a distinctive Reformed literature. And say Luther's Bondage of the Will.

2. Everything else which concerns Christianity, in this wording i avoid controversy by including what may seem un-Christian, because it is stipulated that it concerns Christianity, so here would include heresy, other denominations, along with standard, mainstream resources, but someone like Joel Osteen may never pop up. But someone like Nietzsche would because his attacks on Christianity concern it.

3. That which is deemed at the time of it's remained inclusion ok for time being spent with, for example the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Dante's Divine Comedy, Milton's Paradise Lost, Shakespeare, etcetera

However, at this stage i am most privy to the need to be grounded in the rightness of the resources, so most of the reading times will be with RL.
 
I recently came under a bit of conviction over my past use of a shady ebook service, and here i will list the sources i could actually pay for, with further thoughts:

William Perkins -- 10 volumes -- each about 50 dollars, however the 12 volumes of Thomas Goodwin have not a viable ebook format, BUT with Monergism i would still have a healthy amount of Goodwin.

The Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries would cost about 180 or so, and i'd love to do that when i can, since when you buy from Amazon you can more easily share your highlights, like i've been doing recently.

All the Herman Bavinck besides his magnum opus which i got the right way, all appear to be on Amazon.

Regarding Turretin, the edition i did pay for with the typographical errors, i could 98% of the time make out what the words were, a little cross to bear.

I have a question now for Logos, i might make a new post for this, but would i be able to use Logos with a computer that is in Guest Mode?

I'll edit in anything else as i think of it, hold me to it brothers and sisters.
 
Narrowing it down, i have compiled a little network lists of what i need to focus on most of all, the longer it is the more time i need to spend with it obviously. These lists for the most part limit it all to doctrinally sound works, works or names with an * by it are those which i may need to acquire new editions of. Those with ^ are those which are an ongoing series which i am invested in.

Tolle lege

Complete or collected works

1 - *William Perkins
2 - *Thomas Goodwin
3 - Richard Sibbes
4 - John Flavel
5 - Thomas Watson
6 - Thomas Brooks
7 - ^John Owen
8 - Thomas Manton
9 - John Bunyan
10 - Thomas Boston
11 - John Gill
12 - Jonathan Edwards
13 - R.C. Sproul

Long works, 3 volumes or more

1 - *Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics - Richard A. Muller
2 - *Institutes of Elenctic Theology - Francis Turretin
3 - The Christian’s Reasonable Service - Wilhemus a Brakel
4 - *Reformed Confessions of the 16th & 17th Centuries
5 - Reformed Dogmatics - Herman Bavinck
6 - ^Reformed Systematic Theology - Joel Beeke & Paul Smalley
7 - ^Theoretical-Practical Theology - Petrus van Mastricht
8 - Theology of Lordship - John Frame
9 - Matthew Henry’s Commentary
10 - Matthew Poole’s Commentary
11 - Calvin’s Commentaries
12 - ^Nick Needham’s 2,000 Years of Christ’s Power
13 - The Dordrecht Bible Commentary
14 - The Reformation Heritage Study Bible
15 - The Reformation Study Bible
16 - The ESV Study Bible

Medium sized works 2 volumes, or 1 really long volume

1 - Institutes of the Christian Religion - John Calvin
2 - Looking Unto Jesus - Isaac Ambrose
3 - A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith - Robert L. Reymond
4 - The Existence and Attributes of God - Stephen Charnock
5 - The Economy of the Covenants - Herman Witsius
6 - The Christian in Complete Armor - William Gurnall
Principal other works by Joel Beeke
7 - Meet the Puritans
8 - Puritan Reformed Theology
9 - A Puritan Theology
10 - The Christian’s Only Comfort in Life and Death - Theodorus VanderGroe


Regular sized works

1 - Reprobation and God’s Sovereignty - Peter Sammons
2 - The Reformation as Renewal - Matthew Barrett
The Five Solas
3 - *Faith Alone - Thomas R. Schreiner
4 - *God’s Word Alone - Matthew Barrett
5 - *Christ Alone - Carl R. Trueman
6 - *God’s Glory Alone - Matthew Barrett
7 - *The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self
And 8 - *Strange New World - Carl R. Trueman
9 - The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination - Jerome Zanchius
10 - The Theology of the Westminster Standards - J.V. Fesko
11 - Westminster Standards
12 - The Marrow of Sacred Divinity - William Ames
 
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That's generally sound. The key point is to go deeper before you go wider. For me, the key point was mastering Charles Hodge or Shedd (ironically, they disagreed on points) before learning the latest nuance. Of course, when I was a young whippersnapper, I did the complete opposite. I focused on theonomy, federal vision, and apologetics before I knew much about the faith I was defending. As a result, I didn't know much.

As to devotional works, I'll leave that for others. I generally get nothing out of devotional material. In fact, I am far more stirred reading deeper works. My own reading plan:

1. Bible/language resources.
2. Some heavy work.
3. Then whatever happens.

That isn't as haphazard as it looks. Because when I read the heavier works, I am also "following the footnote trail," and that itself is a brain developing process.
 
That's generally sound. The key point is to go deeper before you go wider. For me, the key point was mastering Charles Hodge or Shedd (ironically, they disagreed on points) before learning the latest nuance. Of course, when I was a young whippersnapper, I did the complete opposite. I focused on theonomy, federal vision, and apologetics before I knew much about the faith I was defending. As a result, I didn't know much.

As to devotional works, I'll leave that for others. I generally get nothing out of devotional material. In fact, I am far more stirred reading deeper works. My own reading plan:

1. Bible/language resources.
2. Some heavy work.
3. Then whatever happens.

That isn't as haphazard as it looks. Because when I read the heavier works, I am also "following the footnote trail," and that itself is a brain developing process.
"Go deeper before you go wider" that is great advice, thank you!! Yes i'm finding myself gravitating to Muller and Turretin today, maybe will finish them in a couple months or so, but i sure as heck won't master anything. Muller's Dictionary of Greek and Latin i have, is that a good one in your books?
 
Muller's Dictionary of Greek and Latin i have, is that a good one in your books?

Most important book in my library. I read it like I do a novel. I used to do devotions from it. Turretin is a work you will always be coming back to and analyzing.
 
Hello esteemed brothers and sisters,

I would just like to share and expostulate upon my manner of going through a learning process, which is more than 50% made up of reading, and the rest of online resources, i mean thereby that which are tools which i have at my disposal, in a physical sense. As i progress the less will i comment on such things, using phrases beginning with the word my, but as i am enthusiastic about this approach, i find it interesting to voice it here, and see if from such wording of it, it can help aid me in better wordings in the future as my heart is ever transformed by God through Christ, and these resources.

This approach has been theoretically a part of my readings no matter what the subject matter, and at least for the time being i find it to be promising a most exciting and worthwhile approach in the very large subject matter of Christianity. And this approach's working title is "all at once", using all the various kinds of resources amassed over time, to come to, to ever be coming to a multi-dimensional understanding of what can be a very complex subject due to it's massiveness.

In this part of my life i see, and daily have been getting confirmations in my deeper consciousness that there has to be a base, a strong foundation for such an approach, and this is The Reformed position upon not just theology, but upon the life of the believer, The Puritans being some of the most applicable guides to living godly and holy. So the foundational array of resources is that, of the broadly Reformed tradition, which i like because i like to have as much as possible to look up to. As i mature i may be more discerning and gain a helpful critical view of some of the finer details, and PB would definitely be instrumental on that.

Then there is the larger context of the Christian faith, 1st off the areas of special interest, for example the Charismatic movement, Dispensationalism, the mystic tradition, and so on.

And then from a secure regulated use of the above, i would then, with caution test the waters of some of the things i was interested and led astray by in my other periods of experience, in the fields of philosophy, social sciences, sundry historical topics, like The Founding Fathers, which may for me unveil itself as being a vital element of Christianity, and so many other things, perhaps new to me through a more extensive and rigorous study of the aforementioned things.

I so much love reading out loud to my dad in a relaxed manner, the great books that nourish the soul, and venturing through all the other material in the manner stipulated above.

A fear i have is how will i live alone after dad passes, and i feel God is using this time to prepare me for when that may happen. It's like i'm a mass of blubber spiritually, and i'm beginning to recuperate from a lifetime of not doing what i ought to have done, and by God's grace and patience, the after photo of me would be of a person who could perform normal functions and walk relatively long distances.

Thank you for reading everyone, this is probably not up to Puritan Board standards of excellence, but i felt at the time i could perhaps share this, if i'm too self critical, may i grow up soon.
My father passed on March 17, 2024 and I have been preparing for his loss for a few years now. Preparation does help.
 
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