May 2012 Reading Report

A Piety Above the Common Standard: Jesse Mercer and Evangelistic Calvinism, Anthony Chute

Mercer was a pivotal nineteenth-century Baptist leader in the South. One of several books I have been reading lately on historic Baptist figures as I try to bulk up on my Baptist history.

The Life and Ministry of Hezekiah Smith

Pastor in Haverhill, MA, and chaplain to the Continental Army during the American War for Independence.

Thoughts on Religious Experience, Archibald Alexander

Alexander is essentially the father of Old Princeton Seminary. This book contained some rich pastoral and theological reflections on various aspects of Christian experience, from conversion to the death of a believer. There were also many long selections from old writers in here that I thought could have been trimmed down a bit.

Oxford Guide to Library Research, Thomas Mann

My head is still spinning after this detailed course in library research.

Life of John Gano, John Gano

Brief autobiographical account of another great colonial-era Baptist minister.

Mr. Standfast, John Buchan

A fantastic adventure story, set in WWI, in a series about a man named Richard Hanney that includes the 39 Steps and Greenmantle. Great insights into courage, perseverance, and friendship. Recommended!

Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis

I had never read this modern classic on temptation and spiritual warfare before. Some gems sprinkled throughout.


About Eric Smith

Sinner saved by the grace of Jesus, husband of Candace, father of Coleman and Crockett, West Tennessean, pastor of Sharon Baptist Church, student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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3 Responses to May 2012 Reading Report

  1. Graham Welch says:

    Have you ever read “How to read the Bible for all its worth” by Gordon Fee & Douglas Stewart, or “How to read a book” by Mortimer J. Adler (a personal favorite)

  2. Eric Smith says:

    Hey Graham,
    I am familiar with both of those books, but have not read either one. I’d be interested to know why you find Adler’s book helpful – I’m sure I need to read it!


  3. Graham Welch says:

    Hi Eric,
    Adler’s book was recommended reading by Fee & Stuart to help sharpen one’s exegetical skills. “How to Read a Book” helps us to become “active readers” by asking questions of the text as we read. For example: What’s the book about as a whole? What’s the point of the author’s argument? How does he develop his argument? How does this verse/chapter contribute to the meaning of the book as a whole? The book has chapters about how to “X-ray” a book, and how to read various genres of literature etc. He concludes with syntopical reading, which is how to explore a topic discussed by various authors and comparing their conclusions.

    Applied to scripture reading, it has helped me read more carefully to get the point of a passage, and then to see how the passage contributes to the gospel as a whole. The book helped me not only read more carefully, but how to think more analytically. A nice skill to have even if you never get involved in apologetic discussions. I think you’ll enjoy it.


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