A Word From Martin Luther

Posted: February 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

I ran across a quotation by Martin Luther and thought it was extremely helpful.  As one who loves to read, I find myself all over the map at times.  When I am concentrating on nothing specifically and just reading random works, I find my mind is not helped as much as when I concentrate on something specific and absorb as much literature as I can on that topic.  Luther goes a bit further and talks of the importance of reading a single author in-depth.  John Piper has said something similar as he quotes a seminary professor that once encouraged him to find one solid theologian and study him in-depth.  Piper has done that with Jonathan Edwards and many today set out to do that  with John Piper.

Here is the Luther quote:

“A student who does not want his labor wasted must so read and reread some good writer so that the author is changed, as it were, into his flesh and blood. For a great variety of reading confuses and does not teach. It makes the student like a man who dwells everywhere and, therefore, nowhere in particular. Just as we do not daily enjoy the society of every one of our friends but only that of a chosen few, so it should also be in our studying.”

–Martin Luther, What Luther Says: An Anthology, comp. Ewald M. Plass (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959), entry no. 344, 112.

  1. Jonathon says:

    At the present, I am trying to absorb as much historical literature as I can (as one can see in the books currently reading section).

    Our Legacy is History of Christian Doctrine, How Christianity Changed the World is inherently historical in nature, Christianity Through the Centuries is a textbook of Church History, and The Journey From Text to Translation details the historical development of the Holy Bible.

    I recently finished Leland Rykens book “Understanding English Bible Translation” which goes into some historical detail of bible translation philosophy. I also have recently read James White’s “The King James Only Controversy” which also deals with a good bit of history concerning biblical interpretation and translation.

    All that to say, if you are stuyding something, follow it through as much as you can. Concentrate and formulate thoughtful conclusions. Which can only be done if we actually study an issue. This means you cannot read one book on an issue and say you have “studied” it.

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