Advice on Reading

While doing some research in preparation for a sermon next week, I ran across some advice on reading from Richard Baxter, one of the great Puritan pastors. One of the questions I often get asked is “How do I decide what to read?” You can’t do better than Baxter’s suggestions.

While reading ask oneself:

1. Could I spend this time no better?

2. Are there better books that would edify me more?

3. Are the lovers of such a book as this the greatest lovers of the Book of God and of a holy life?

4. Does this book increase my love to the Word of God, kill my sin, and prepare me for the life to come?

There is a bit more to this good advice here.


  1. Ken,

    It just occurred to me that questions 3 & 4 from Baxter, if used to gauge good material for Christians to read, would likely clear out the majority of stuff in most Christian bookstores!

    **Sigh** 🙂

  2. Spencer,

    Unfortunately true…I think this would apply to ANY bookstore as well. While there is room in my reading for pure pleasure reading that would not meet Baxter’s test (I call it brain candy), when I settle down to read something for growth reasons I’m going to try to follow the Baxter standard.

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