Reading Old Books

Do you ever feel like many books being written today are going to be popular for about five months and then forgotten forever? Me too, which is why I try to read books which have already stood the test of time. Through this, I don’t want to minimize what is being written today, merely seek some balance.
Reading classical works can be more difficult because of the differences in word usage, but it can be good to slow our minds down and learn to chew on ideas. Here, I’ve compiled a list of some great classics to start with. Some of them are over 400 years old. But I’m guessing the classics will pull you in, like they have me.

The Imitation of Christ, Thomas A’Kempis (the overall impact of this work is in incalcuable)
Meeting The Master In The Garden, Thomas A’Kempis (reprinted in 2005, brilliant)
The Glory of Christ, John Owen (easily the best treatise of Christ’s glory I’ve read)
Communion with God, John Owen
The Holy Spirit, John Owen
Death Of Death In The Death Of Christ, John Owen
The Mortification of Sin, John Owen (powerful instruction on how to systematically fight to remove indwelling sin)
Religious Affections, Jonathan Edwards (highly recommended by my hero, John Piper)
The Preciousness of Time, Jonathan Edwards
The Reformed Pastor, Richard Baxter (its been said every pastor should read this once a year)
A Christian Directory, Richard Baxter
Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan (2nd all-time publishing bestseller to the Bible)
The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Jeremiah Burroughs
Remedies for Wandering Thoughts in Worship, Richard Steele
Doctrine of Repentance, Thomas Watson
A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, John Wesley (answers question, what is true sanctification?)
A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, William Law ( John Wesley credited this book with most stirring his heart early in his ministry)

C.S. Lewis said every fourth book he read was from before the 20th century and he recommended this practice to others.

I’m convinced most of the world’s greatest theological geniuses are already dead.

What do you think?

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2 Responses to Reading Old Books

  1. Anonymous says:

    you’re not dead, and you’re a genius.

  2. betadance says:

    I like that “every 4th book” idea…may just have to put that into practice. You’ve got some good stuff on here, friend–and very well written, which warms my little grammar-snob heart! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Gwen

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