Wesley on Reading

I know of some Ministers who openly state that they read very little, and what the do read tends to be very narrow. Is it a coincidence that there appears to be no life in their ministry or congregations? I wonder….

by Trevin Wax

What has exceedingly hurt you in time past, nay, and I fear to this day, is want of reading.

I scarce ever knew a preacher read so little. And perhaps, by neglecting it, you have lost the taste for it. Hence your talent in preaching does not increase. It is just the same as it was seven years ago. It is lively, but not deep; there is little variety, there is no compass of thought. Reading only can supply this, with meditation and daily prayer. You wrong yourself greatly by omitting this. You can never be a deep preacher without it, any more than a thorough Christian.

O begin! Fix some part of every day for private exercises. You may acquire the taste which you have not: what is tedious at first, will afterwards be pleasant.

Whether you like it or not, read and pray daily. It is for your life; there is no other way; else you will be a trifler all your days, and a petty, superficial preacher. Do justice to your own soul; give it time and means to grow. Do not starve yourself any longer. Take up your cross and be a Christian altogether. Then will all children of God rejoice (not grieve) over you in particular.

– John Wesley to John Premboth on August 17, 1760, quoted in Ben Witherington’s Is There a Doctor in the House?: An Insider’s Story and Advice on Becoming a Bible Scholar, pg. 71.

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This entry was posted in Books, Christianity, Church, Culture, Discipleship, Evangelical, Institution, Mission, Personal, Postmodernity, Preaching, Reading, Sermon, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

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