As 2021 comes to a close, and we look towards next year, let me encourage you to read. Read your Bible all the way through and read good books. If you’ve read my blog or have been following me on social media, you probably know Charles Spurgeon is a hero of mine. I officially found him in 2008, even though I had a couple of books before then. In the last two years, reading about his life and sermons has significantly impacted me, so I decided to dedicate my reading in 2022 to Spurgeon and get to know the puritans, which Spurgeon was a fan of.
“Visit many good books but live in the Bible.”Charles Spurgeon
In 2022 I will read through the Bible three times using this four-month layered reading plan. My first read-through will be in the newly released Legacy Standard Bible. The LSB is an update of the New American Standard Bible that focuses more on authorial intent.
My second read-through will be The Spurgeon Study Bible in the CSB translation. It is more of a devotional than a study Bible, containing notes from Spurgeon and sermon outlines. My final read-through will be in my primary ESV Bible.
“Give yourself to reading.’… You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers, and expositions of the Bible.”Charles Spurgeon
Spurgeon read much from the puritans, a group from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries who sought to purify the Church of England. Because Spurgeon frequently quoted and looked to the puritans Saturday through Monday, each week will be dedicated to reading through two of Joel Beeke’s books, A Puritan Theology and Meet the Puritans (eleven pages a day).
Paul wrote to Timothy, watch your life and your doctrine closely. To understand Spurgeon’s theology and manner of life better than I do, I knew I had to understand the puritans, and there’s no better place to start than these two volumes.
As far as Spurgeon himself goes, I will finish his two-volume autobiography before the end of 2021 in preparation for next year. In addition, I have two biographies on my list for next year; Charles Spurgeon: A Biography by W. Y. Fullerton, a personal friend of Spurgeon’s, and The Shadow of the Broad Brim by Richard Ellsworth Day. Although he was a pastor, he was a strong evangelist who constantly called the lost to salvation. Since that was a significant emphasis of all his preaching, I will also read The Soulwinner by Spurgeon. These three books will be read through on Fridays at fifteen pages each week.
The main thrust of my reading of Spurgeon will be his sermons. I will read through the ten-volume set by Hendrickson Publishers and the Majesty and Mystery three-volume set on Christ’s final week. I’ll read two addresses a day to complete both sets in a year.
During the last two years, I have been on quite the journey unlearning, relearning, and learning much of Scripture and sound biblical theology. This process started by reading through the sermons of John Wesley because of his strong holiness emphasis. I can think of no better way to keep growing than to dedicate a year to read through the Bible three times and learning from my mentor and those who mentored him.
I was first introduced to theology in 2008 by Pastor Steve Solomon, who was a fan of Jonathan Edwards. I felt like studying Edwards would be ripping off Pastor Steve, so I chose to study Spurgeon. Years later, I came across Pastor Matthew Everhard’s YouTube channel and this video on why pastors should have a dead mentor.
Spurgeon fascinated me early on. He began reading the puritans at a young age, and I started reading young as well, just not the quality of reading. Spurgeon pastored a large church yet knew everyone’s name; he was firm in his convictions and did not waiver, as is seen towards the end of his life during the downgrade controversy. Spurgeon loved his wife well and was a faithful servant to the Lord, pastoring, building an orphanage, training pastors, and more. I cannot think of a better primary dead mentor than the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
I have been a fan of Spurgeon for a while, but it’s time to get serious about following the example set before me in Spurgeon. I can only do that by being acquainted with the puritans, his life, sermons, and the Bible he loved.
I encourage you to dedicate time to reading in 2022, and I ask for your prayers as I endeavor to learn and follow the path of Spurgeon as he followed Christ.
I will have a new category, Spurgeon and the Puritans, where I’ll share my thoughts on what I’m reading.