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Reading Priorities

I hope you’ve decided to take on the 2012 reading challenge – if you haven’t done so yet, why not jump on board? We’re only a few days into 2012, so there’s plenty of time!

If you’re currently reading our first challenge book, Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books (Kindle edition here), you are no doubt benefiting from some sound, biblical wisdom as it pertains to the things we read. Perhaps it’s obvious, but I wanted to start with this book to give us a good framework for the rest of our reading, and to help you develop a framework for your own reading priorities.

In Chapter 7, Reinke shares his reading priorities and how he groups them. This is a practice I have engaged in for several years and find it tremendously helpful in weeding through the millions of options that are available to read. Reinke has 6 categories (which I assume means he has all 6 types of reading going on consistently/simultaneously – this is also how I read):

1. Reading Scripture

2. Reading to know and delight in Christ

3. Reading to kindle spiritual reflection

4. Reading to initiate personal change

5. Reading to pursue vocational excellence

6. Reading to enjoy a good story

I like his categories and think they offer good diversity. My personal categories are as follows:

1. Reading Scripture – This year (and probably into next year) I am reading individual books of the Bible entirely, 20 times each, until moving onto the next one (to include a chapter of Proverbs every day).

2. Reading devotionally – (Tabletalk Magazine, Valley of Vision, Morning and Evening, etc.) – probably similar to Reinke’s #2

3. Reading for study – books related to what I’m teaching/preaching now or in the future.

4. Reading to counsel and be counseled – (Books on marriage, parenting, depression, relationships, etc.) I always want to know how to better counsel my brothers and sisters in Christ, and I want to grow in my sanctification. Reading a wide range of books related to the hearts/minds of sinful people has proven helpful to me and has given me much to recommend to others when they have specific needs. Books in this category have proven helpful in identifying specific areas of sin in my life, and the Lord has used these books for my sanctification.

5. Reading theology and ecclesiology –  (Books on God’s nature, attributes, works, etc. and books about God’s Church) All Christian reading is inherently theological, but this category is for specific works that relate to systematic theology, biblical theology, and ecclesiology.

6. Reading biography and autobiography – I think it’s important for Christians to regularly read about the lives of other Christians and non-Christians. I like biographies and autobiographies and always have 1 going.

7. Reading to learn something new – I have a lot of hobbies and interests. I like to learn new things. In this category I read about all sorts of different things: Beekeeping, gold/silver investments, politics, golf, running, music, education, business – it’s a catch all category that doesn’t specifically relate to Christianity/theology.

8. Reading fiction – I don’t spend much time in this category, but I’ve increased my fiction reading a bit. I resonate 100% with Reinke’s statement: “In all honesty, it has taken me many years to simply delight myself in beautiful books. Now they provide me with relaxation, pleasure, and a delightful weapon to foil the devil.” I have mostly found fiction to be a waste of time, but there is good fiction and, if nothing else, I like to read good writing no matter what it’s about, so there are some gems of fiction worth reading. The last fiction book I really enjoyed was Peace Like a River (Kindle edition here) by Leif Enger.

Of these 8 categories, I usually have 5-6 of them going at one time. But, I realize that’s not going to work for everyone! Some people need to read one book to completion before picking up another. Others read a lot of different books, but perhaps haven’t discovered the joy and importance of categorizing and prioritizing them. So, let’s look at Reinke’s challenge:

“Now make your own list of reading priorities. First, look at the books you have read over the last twenty-four months that have benefitted your life. Create categories for those books. Second, include any category that you don’t currently read but would like to add, perhaps something mentioned in [chapter 7]. By now you should have a list of two to five categories. Start small and be realistic. Third, begin making book selections informed by your reading priorities. Invest the time you need to define a purpose to why you want to read books. Once you have an answer to this question, you will find it much easier to choose your next book from the twenty-eight million attractive options.”

 

So, what are your reading categories/priorities?

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About Nick Kennicott

Christian saved by grace, married to Felicia, father to Eva, Abry, and Nicholas, pastor at Redeemer Baptist Church (visitRBC.org). Hobbies include golf, reading, writing, organic gardening, music, and stand-up​ paddleboarding.

5 responses to “Reading Priorities

  1. Tony

    I’m very honored to be your first read in 2012, Nick!

  2. It is a great book, brother – I’m excited to have the people in our church read it. Thank you for writing!

  3. I just got on board brother. I will call u
    Z

  4. Wendy ⋅

    I have accepted the challenge. Alan got me the Kindle Touch for my birthday and have already began Lit!. Good reading. Thank you.

  5. Jeff Stephens ⋅

    This whole idea was very unique for a blog, Nick. I like it. I have not gone so far as to work out my own categories yet but I will work on that tonight.

    After reading this post I don’t feel so bad about having a few different books going at one time. I always thought it was a sign of my poor planning or something. I

    I have been working on Satan Cast Out for a little while and a Sproul book on apologetics. Since I got the kindle for my birthday, I have been working on Lauren Hilldenbrand’s Unbroken, a bio of Louis Zamperini.

    My reading has been rocky for the past year or two b/c of our school / work schedule. My rule for myself was that I won’t read any extra-biblical books unless I had read my bible that day…and some days that was a challenge.

    I love to read fiction and hobby-type books but always felt so guilty if I did. I know that is an area I need to let go of and grow in and your comments helped me feel better about it. Ficton is OK…there, I said it!

    Jenny is reading LIT on her Nook and I will start it this weekend.

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