A year of time-tested theology

It’s easy to get stuck in a reading rut. When you read the same kind of stuff, over and over, year after year… you get a bit worn out, y’know? That’s why, each year, I put together a new project to keep my reading from becoming stale. In 2014, I had the re-reading project, going back to a book I’d read in the past—some Christian, some non—to add a little more variety.

In 2015, one of the new projects I’m taking on is a fairly big one:

A year of time-tested theology. 

Beginning January 1, 2015, I’ll be reading (and in some cases, re-reading) a number of time-tested, trustworthy works of theology. My goal is to read four major works in the year, the first two being:

The remaining two I’m still deciding on, but I’m open to recommendations. One I’m considering, though, is Augustine’s Confessions.

This is going to be a fun project for a few reasons:

1. 2014 was a pretty dry reading year for me. There were a lot of really good books, but I felt pretty “meh” about the year overall. But old books are a lot of fun. I like seeing how people used language in the past and seeing how it’s evolved over time.

2. I really need to reconnect with theology that predates the Internet. I’ve been spending a lot of time with books written in the last 60 years or so, to some degree at the expense of far too many older, time-tested works. It’s time to correct that, lest I become guilty of chronological snobbery.

3. The reading is spread out. I’m not trying to set myself a crazy goal of reading one of these every couple of weeks or anything like that. These works take time to digest. My schedule for this project means I’ll be reading each work over the course of three months, on average. In some cases, this will still be fairly aggressive, but in others, it’ll lots of space. And with school coming up, I’ll need to make sure I have that space.

Some of my reading will inevitably be discussed here over the course of the year (but I’m not committing myself to a strict weekly series or anything like that). I really want this to be an enjoyable project for me—and if you’d like to join me in it, let me know what you’re planning on reading!

Posted by Aaron Armstrong

Aaron is the author of several books for adults and children, as well as multiple documentaries and Bible studies. His latest book, I'm a Christian—Now What?: A Guide to Your New Life with Christ is available now.

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8 Replies to “A year of time-tested theology”

  1. An interesting idea. I notice that the three books you mention fall into different time periods. Confessions – ancient. Institutes – early modern. Dogmatic – modern. How about something from the medieval period to round out your reading program? Thomas Aquinas’so Summa Theologica comes to mind as an option.

  2. What about Pilgrim’s Progress if you need something shorter? I recently learned that Spurgeon read it over 100 times. Edit: which is something you knew of course, if it’s true.

    1. Good suggestion; I actually spent a chunk of time re-reading it last year. I might add it in again 🙂

  3. I’d join you in reading the Institutes (the 1559 Battles-Ford edition, however), and Confessions!

  4. Aaron,

    Do you own Bavinck’s 4 volume Reformed Dogmatics or the Abridged version? I currently have his abridged version, and I have been considering reading through it this coming year as well. I am also planning to work through Calvin’s Institutes, and I have plans for reading and study this coming year is to work through the WCF standards. May the Lord bless your reading and studies. Grace and peace be with you brother.

    Best regards,


    1. Four volume set; sounds like you’ve got some terrific reading ahead in the coming year, Ryan!

  5. There are a group of us on Facebook that are going to be reading through Calvin’s Institutes in 2015 using the 1-year reading plan. You are welcome to join us for the encouragement and mutual edification. 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/groups/472266442907164/

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