I love reading blogs, I spend a lot of time reading blogs, actually, I probably spend too much time reading blogs. But a month ago I discovered ‘google reader’ (I am a bit slow, sorry). This is brilliant. I just put into the reader all the blogs I read and it does it for me. Every time I go on my igoogle page I can see every update that has happened since I last logged on. This saves me loads of time – I now check the headline, and then click it for a screen shot to see what it is about.
But this has created a problem: I know exactly what Downes, Bish, Chester, Mohler, Harris, Raine and the Beagle are saying (usually the same thing), but I’m not really reading their blogs. It’s odd. I am just reading the highlights and very rarely going onto their blogs.
In fact, I have pretty much stopped engaging with their blogs.
This made me think about Bible reading notes. Many notes I have used over the years put the verse onto the page, and then you can just read the devotional writers views. It’s odd, you end up very rarely dealing with the text in context. Actually, although you know exactly what you are reading… you are not really reading the Bible.
This even happens with those ‘through the year with…..’ books that quote the ministry of great men like Lloyd-Jones. Indeed, I even feel this when using ‘Morning and Evening’ by Spurgeon. I don’t want to knock these books and understand that this is not what was originally intended. However, the style of putting a verse on a page and then having three paragraphs of human comment is very open to abuse.
So, what notes can we use?
It’s up to you really, but here are some thoughts:
-Make sure they go through a Bible book. Don’t go for random verses of the day.
-Ensure they make you do some of the hard work – asking questions of the text and your life.
-Try and use notes that have a good balance of exegetical excellence, doctrinal depth, and applicable application.