What have you been reading or learning lately? Stepping into the new role of Seminary president, I am realizing that I will have to work a lot harder to carve out time and space for personal reading and study. Those of you engaged in full-time ministry can relate to that I’m sure. It is easy for all the meetings, visits and other obligations to eat up all the time in a day.
When I was a parish pastor, the summer months afforded more opportunities for reading. I have fond memories of sitting on the porch of the parsonage in rural Storm Lake, Iowa, musing over a book and carrying on an argument with the author by scratching comments and questions in the margins while enjoying a cigar and watching birds flutter about in the front yard.
As we work with students at the Seminary, we seek to inculcate a love for learning and to foster the spiritual devotion and intellectual curiosity that fuel it. It is true that, “Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Eccl. 12:12 ESV). But the Scriptures also exhort us: “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future” (Prov. 19:20 ESV). Of course, in all that we read, study and ponder, we acknowledge that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10 ESV), and we acknowledge that one Book among all other books is the supreme source of heavenly truth and wisdom.
So, what have you been reading or learning lately? Have you been regularly reading, marking, learning and inwardly digesting the sacred Scriptures? If not, I encourage you to pick a book of the Bible today and to spend time reading and meditating on God’s Word each day until you finish it. Maybe Jeremiah, John, James, Joshua or Genesis? May the Lord grant you this grace by His Spirit, that the Scriptures be an open book for you, both literally and metaphorically.
What other books might enrich and stimulate you? Here are six suggestions, the first four written by Concordia Seminary faculty:
- Wholly Citizens: God's Two Realms and Christian Engagement with the World by Dr. Joel D. Biermann
- Sculptor Spirit: Models of Sanctification from Spirit Christology by Dr. Leopoldo A. Sànchez M.
- Psalms 1–50 (Concordia Commentary) by Dr. Timothy E. Saleska
- Making Christian Counseling More Christ Centered by Dr. Richard W. Marrs
- The Meaning of Protestant Theology: Luther, Augustine, and the Gospel that Gives us Christ by Phillip Cary
- The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution by Carl R. Trueman
Speaking of continuing education of church workers, I hope that you will consider attending — in person or online — our annual Theological Symposium Sept. 21–22 with the theme: “Whatever is Lovely: The Role of Beauty in Theology and Ministry.”
As Christians, we are people of the Book, and also blessed with the wisdom and counsel of many books. May the Lord enrich your heart, mind and lives of service through these precious gifts! And may He grant you daily joy in the knowledge that, for Christ’s sake, your name has been written in His Book, the Book of Life.
Every blessing in Christ,
Dr. Thomas J. Egger