Tim Challies recently reposted something he wrote back in the summer of 2014. It is worth mentioning here again too, since we can so easily reduce our reading too to a single level – whether too shallow or too deep. He reminds us that it is good to read at multiple levels, and that we become better readers and benefit more when we read in different ways.
This is how he opens his post; following that I give you two of the ways in which he says we ought to read. I hope you find this reminder helpful and encouraging as you press on in your own reading.
Reading is kind of like repairing a bicycle. Kind of. For too long now my bike has been semi-operational. It has one brake that just doesn’t want to behave and all my attempts to fix it have failed. Why? Well it turns out that I haven’t been using the right tool. To get the bike working I need to use the right tool. And when it comes to reading, well, you’ve got to use the right tool—you’ve got to know what kind of reading to do. Here are seven different kinds of reading.
And here are two of the seven ways in which we ought to read (I have chosen these because I judge them most important to the Christian. But, again, remember, there are at least five other ways to read.):
Studying. Studying is reading at its best, I think, but reading that can and should be done with only the choicest books. Life is too short and there are simply too many books to invest a great deal of time in every one of them. And this is where so many readers go wrong—they spend too much time and invest too much effort in books that simply don’t deserve it. When you study a book, you labor over it, you read it with highlighter in hand, you flip back and forth, you try to learn absolutely everything the book offers. Only the smallest percentage of books are worthy of this level of investment, so choose carefully which books you study. (Suggestions: Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen or The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul)
Devotional. Devotional reading is reading deep truths meant to make a deep impact on your faith. This is slow and meditative reading that requires an open Bible and plenty of prayer. The Christian faith has many wonderful devotional works that are drawn from the Bible and will, in turn, draw you to the Bible. Read these ones day-by-day and allow them to lead you closer to God as he reveals himself through his Word. (Consider: The Reformed Expository Commentary series or Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon)
Source: 7 Different Ways to Read a Book