Pastors Who Do Not Read Serve a Stale Meal

Chris —  August 6, 2012

One of the many things I am thankful for at The Red Brick Church is that they give me a book allowance and encourage me to study. Pastors who do not read and study quickly become stale in the pulpit. While they may be making good points, they ring the same bell week after week. The church soon grows tired of such a diet.

Justin Taylor recently posted on the importance of pastors taking the time to read.

Charles Spurgeon, reflecting on 2 Timothy 4:13 (where Paul said to Timothy: “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments”):

We do not know what the books were about, and we can only form some guess as to what the parchments were. Paul had a few books which were left, perhaps wrapped up in the cloak, and Timothy was to be careful to bring them.

Even an apostle must read.

Some of our very ultra-Calvinistic brethren think that a minister who reads books and studies his sermon must be a very deplorable specimen of a preacher. A man who comes up into the pulpit, professes to take his text on the spot and talks any quantity of nonsense is the idol of many. If he will speak without premeditation, or pretend to do so, and never produce what they call a dish of dead men’s brains—oh, that is the preacher!

How rebuked they are by the apostle!

He is inspired, and yet he wants books!

He has been preaching for at least thirty years, and yet he wants books!

He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books!

He had had a wider experience than most men, and yet wants books!

He had been caught up into the Third Heaven and had heard things which it was unlawful for a man to utter, yet he wants books!

He had written the major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books!

The apostle says to Timothy, and so he says to every preacher, “Give attendance to reading” (1 Tim. 4:13).

The man who never reads will never be read.

He who never quotes will never be quoted.

He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains proves that he has no brains of his own.

Brethren, what is true of ministers is true of all our people. You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers and expositions of the Bible.

Here’s how John Piper put it in his chapter “Fight for Your Life” in Brothers, We Are Not Professionals (new edition coming from B&H in February 2013): . . . .

Read the rest here.

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3 responses to Pastors Who Do Not Read Serve a Stale Meal

  1. Right now I’m trying to read four book’s at one time. Gospel by JD Greear, Unpacking Forgiveness by you, Heaven by Randy Alcorn, and The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges. I need to pick just one. Read it and really soak in what the book is trying to teach me. Trying to read all of them at once is not working very well.

  2. Rebecca, without commenting on Unpacking, that is a great list of books!

  3. I whole-heartedly agree with your thoughts. I do know pastors on the other end of the spectrum who are tremendous readers and still speak on the same four books year after year, and express the same thoughts even after being in ministry for 25 years. I always am encouraging people to read and recommending good books to them. Such a profitable idea especially for ministry sake.