The Discipline of Reading (2009 Reading Projects)

stack_of_booksThis year I’m determined (resolved?) to add some discipline to my reading habits. This means adding some structure and planning. There’s always a vast amount of books that I want to read and I’m always buying books faster than I read them.

With this in mind, I sat down with my Moleskine and pen for a few minutes during the holidays and sketched out the following list of books I want to read in 2009. This list is by no means comprehensive and doesn’t include the dozen or more books I know I’ll read for seminary classes, but rather it serves as a guide for keeping my focus. I also know that I’m a man and not a machine and so I realize at the outset that I won’t read everything on this list and so I’ve tried to prioritize them as best as I could (I’m also sure that a few others will come along out of interest or necessity that will get added).

Here we go:

  1. ESV Study Bible
    • I typically read devotionally from my Bible every day early in the morning. This year however, I’m intending to add some discipline by following the Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan which will take me through the entire Bible over the course of the year. I’ll be making use of the bookmarks that Bethlehem Baptist Church makes available (first half of the year here and second half of the year here) and am excited to hit some of the various articles, introductions, etc in the ESV Study Bible (which I picked up last October) along the way.
  2. The Institutes of Christian Religion, John Calvin
    • This is a large undertaking that I’ve been wanting to do for some time now. What better year than 2009 (which marks the 500 year anniversary of Calvin’s birth) to dedicate to this effort. I purchased the David T. McNeil (2 volume set) edition of Calvin’s Institutes a few years back and have read them sporadically, but this year I’m serious about processing my way through them. In order to guide my way, I’ll be making use of a reading schedule provided by the guys at Reformation 21 (email them at for a copy of your own). I plan to make this apart of my devotional time early in the morning in addition the the Bible reading mentioned above.
  3. Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem
    • I don’t expect to read this one in its entirety, but I do plan to cover a significant amount of it. This is another one (like Calvin’s Institutes) that I’ve poked an prodded for a few years now, but have never set myself to conquering. I’m estimating that I’ll cover about 1/3 of this 1291 page behemoth in 2009 the bulk of which will likely occur late a night just before bed. This reading will also be a part of my church planting internship at Summit Community Church.
  4. Tim Keller Articles
    • There really isn’t a good reason for not reading everything that Tim Keller has ever written. A vast amount of his stuff is just chilling out in cyberspace in the form of articles. I plan to develop some sort of plan to conquer most of his articles this year. The link above is to a page that Steve McCoy has dedicated to trying to keep track of all of these. Not to be crass, but this will likely be my toilet time reading material (no offense, Dr. Keller).
  5. Christ Centered Preaching, Bryan Chapell
    • I’m half-way through this one already and will be finishing it in the next week or two. This is one that I ended up reading for multiple reasons: as an Acts 29 church planting assessment condition, as a requirement for a seminary course, and for general edification (it’s one that I’ve been wanting to read for a while).
  6. Death by Love, Mark Driscoll
      • I’m about 1/3 of the way through this one and thoroughly appreciating it. Highly recommending it.
      1. Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture, Graeme Goldsworthy
        • Here’s another one for my Acts 29 church planting assessment conditions.
      2. Total Church: A Radical Reshaping Around Gospel and Community, Tim Chester
        • I picked this one up last year by way of a recommendation and have continued to hear great things about it.
      3. Biblical Eldership: Restoring the Eldership to Its Rightful Place in Church, Alexander Strauch
        • More reading as a part of my church planting internship.
      4. When Sinners Say I Do, Dave Harvey
        • The first one on the list that I don’t already own!
      5. Vintage Church, Mark Driscoll
        • Comes out in January, I believe.
      6. Finally Alive, John Piper
        • Comes out either in January (according to the Desiring God website) or March (according to
      7. Ministry of the Missional Church, Craig Van Gelder
        • Sitting on my shelf staring at me screaming: READ ME!
      8. Instructing a Child’s Heart, Tedd Tripp
        • My wife and I read Tripp’s Shepherding a Child’s Heart last year and benefited from it greatly. I’m hoping this one holds up to the reputation. Already on the shelf.
      9. The Message of Acts (BST Commentary), John Stott
          • Planning to spend some time in the book of Acts this year and also pick up a couple of preaching reps at Summit in a series on Acts.
          1. John Calvin–A Biography, T.H.L. Parker
            • Again, in honor of the quincentenary and already on my shelves.
          2. The Reformed Pastor, Richard Baxter
              • A a much appreciated gift from my bride for Christmas.
              1. Culture Making, Andy Crouch
                  • Received good reviews which led to me buying it last year.
                  1. Visioneering, Andy Stanley
                    • I started this one last year but put it down when I got overcome by events.
                  2. Leading with a Limp, Dan Allender
                  3. Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know, Meg Meeker
                      • Bought based on a recommendation last year and never quite got to it.
                      1. He is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World, Albert Mohler
                      2. Brothers: We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry, John Piper

                      Only five of the above are not already on my shelves. I guess that means that the bulk of what I buy this year (I have an unquenchable urge to buy books) will go on my 2010 reading list! Happy reading.

                      Now if only WordPress would integrate Shelfari…

                      ~ by toddbumgarner on January 2, 2009 1:28 pm.

                      2 Responses to “The Discipline of Reading (2009 Reading Projects)”

                      1. […] Anyway, the list is updated so you can see what I’m reading and how I’m chipping away at my 2009 Reading Projects. […]

                      2. Ambitious to say the least! I have Goldsworthy’s “Goldsworthy Trilogy on my “Great Books” page of my blog “An Uncommon Grace” Here is the link if you want to let me know your thoughts:


                        You will see my top three books for 2008, then click onto the “great Books” page to see my all time picks.


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