Friday, June 20, 2008

Diving Deep into the Institutes

Providence has led me to read one book and one booklet over the last few months which focused on a similar subject. In John Piper's book, When I Don't Desire God, I read the following a few months ago:

These older works are like reading the Bible through the mind and heart of great knowers and lovers of God. Don't let long books daunt you, like John Calvin's Institutes. To be sure, finishing a great book is not as important as growing by it. But finishing it is not as hard as you might think. . . . my copy of Calvin's Institutes has 1,521 pages in two volumes, with an average of 400 words per page, which is 608,400 words. That means that even if you took a day off each week, you could read this great biblical vision of God and man in less than nine months (about thirty-three weeks) at fifteen minutes a day

Then just recently, I read the following in the booklet by Sinclair Ferguson called, Read Any Good Books?. In it he writes the following:

Have you ever read the Institutes of the Christian Religion, by John Calvin? Now, there is a work whose reputation and length sometimes frightens us off from even beginning it. But pick it up (especially in the visually more pleasant translation by Ford Lewis Battles) and you will find it far easier to read than you feared. It is far more heart-warming, far more instructive, far more Christian than you ever imagined!

I have never been one to shy away from hard books such as ones by certain Puritans. But, I must confess, I have always treated Calvin's Institutes as a reference book to refer to when needed. However, these two authors have given me incentive. I have decided to dive into this 2 volume work and feast on what these authors are describing. I hope to give updates on my progress. Perhaps you could also take their words and apply them to a book you have always been hesitant to start?

1 comment:

Robin said...

I like this post ... I, too have a number of books half-read or browsed for whatever gleanings I can find (and a few I've never read at all). I am sure I would profit from going back and reading them cover to cover.