our knowledge of Him to deepen our
That’s why in Proverbs 2: 3, 5 Solomon
writes, “And if you call out for insight and
cry aloud for understanding . . . then you
will understand the fear of the Lord and
find the knowledge of God.”
Those who give the classics a try dis-
cover, as Reed says, that “they are a little
chewier and you’ve got to work a little
harder to digest them. But they’re more
ADVICE FROM REED
A modern edition of a Christian classic with
updated language and an introduction to
the work’s historical context can help us get
more out of our reading, says Rick Reed.
A good place to start for those new to the
classics might be The Pilgrim’s Progress by
John Bunyan (1678) or Bernard of Clairvaux’s
On Loving God (early 1100s). More advanced
readers can try Saint Augustine’s The City
of God (426) or John Calvin’s Institutes of the
Christian Religion (mid-1500s).
Given that the ideas and perspectives
in Christian classics can be unfamiliar
to us, Dustin Resch advises, “The most
important thing in reading any piece of
writing is neighbour love. What I mean by
that is I hope that I can read the writing
of a fellow Christian (or anyone for that
matter) in a spirit of generosity and patience
and commitment to understanding what
they are saying.” One way to cultivate this
patience is to form a reading group and get
together to talk about worthwhile texts with
friends and others from your church.
But Reed provides perhaps the most
important principle for reading Christian
classics when he says, “Whether the book
is old or young, whether it’s a classic
or a lesser-known work, we have the
same obligation, and that is to evaluate
everything we read in light of the
Scriptures.” –BEN WHITE
Ben White works at Temple Baptist Church in
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