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Reading Biographies(?) Together
June 17, 2010
The Reading Classics Together program has proven quite a success over the past couple of years. The impetus for this project was the simple realization that, though many Christians want to read through the classics of the faith, few of us have the motivation to actually make it happen. I know this was long the case for me. This program allows us to read such classic works together, providing both a level of accountability and the added interest of comparing notes as we read in community.
Those who have participated since the beginning (has anyone actually done that?) will now have read Holiness by J.C. Ryle, Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen, The Seven Sayings of the Savior on the Cross by A.W. Pink, The Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, Real Christianity by William Wilberforce, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs, Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray and The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes. That’s quite a list of profoundly important books!
Just recently we finished up The Bruised Reed and already some of you are wondering what the next book will be. I thought it might be fun to do something just a little bit different. Instead of reading a classic book together this time around, why don’t we read a really good biography? This will make for a nice change of pace and it will introduce us to the life of an important person in the history of the church. We can look at one of the men behind the classics. I think biographies can be like classics in that there are many of them we would love to read, but we just don’t find the time to do so.
I set about looking for just the right biography. I wanted it to cover a person whose life is exemplary and a person who had a remarkable impact on the church. I also wanted to find a biography that was reasonably inexpensive and one that was not too long. And, of course, it had to be written by a superior biographer. All those factors combined to lead me to Arnold Dallimore’s life of Charles Spurgeon. It is 240 pages over 21 chapters, meaning we can quite easily read it in somewhere between 7 and 10 weeks. It is available for around $12 at many online retailers, ensuring that it will not break the bank.
And now I am hoping that some of you will read along with me. Spurgeon led a fascinating life and one I know too little about. Though I’ve read this book before, that was many years ago and I’ve been eager to find a reason to read it again. Why don’t you do the same?
We will begin reading on July 8, two weeks from now. For that day, please read the first two chapters (just 20 pages!). That ought to be lots of time to find a copy of the book, have it shipped your way, and read that first section. You should not have a lot of trouble finding it. It is available at Westminster Books and at most other Christian bookstores online (I had Westminster order in extra copies so hopefully they won’t run out!). For some reason it is not available directly through Amazon, though you can find it both new and used through various Amazon partners.
And do let me know if you are interested in reading along—just leave a comment in the comments section below.