November 03, 2015

Throw Away Your Devotional

Most evangelical devotional literature is pretty shallow or, in some cases, borderline heretical (e. g. Jesus Calling). I've found even the better (i. e. theologically orthodox) devotionals to be less than helpful. The format is problematic. They teach the reader to read Scripture in an atomistic way. One verse, no context, followed by a page-long sermonette.

I have some suggestions for those looking to replace their devotional.

First, I recommend The Valley of Vision. VoV is a collection of Puritan prayers, and it has been helpful in stimulating my prayer life.

Second, I recommend reading classic theological works. Something like Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion is ideal. Many of these older books are split up into small chapters (about the size of a chapter of Scripture) which make them ideal for daily reading. There are a few more recent books that may fit the bill as well (e. g. Concise Theology by J. I. Packer)

I've also found creeds, confessions, and catechisms useful for devotional reading. 

Finally, nothing can improve upon Scripture itself. It's hard to beat the ESV Reader's Bible for ease of reading. Crossway also publishes The Psalms and The Gospels in separate volumes. These volumes are tailor-made for daily devotional reading.

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