Have you ever wanted to read a classic book of the Christian faith, but it was just so big and daunting that you didn’t know where to start?
That was exactly my initial feeling with William Gurnall’s The Christian In Complete Armour, which clocks in at almost 1,200 pages! While at T4G this past year, various speakers were raving over this classic Puritan work on spiritual warfare, so I decided to pick up a copy. However, though my excitement was at its peak back in April, it is now December and I have yet to crack open the book and begin to read it. Every time I wanted to, the sheer girth of the book led me away from it.
In my experience, though, I’ve found that books such as these become much more attainable when you tackle it with a thoughtful, disciplined reading plan. I did this with Calvin’s Institutes a couple of years ago (see here) and was amazed at how accessible that seemingly humongous book was.
What shocked me, though, was that when I went on Google and began to search for a similar plan for Gurnall’s work, nothing was to be found. Nothing. Here is this classic Puritan book, recommended by every speaker at T4G, heartily recommended by Spurgeon, and listed as John Newton’s one book he’d pick to read other than the Bible, and there’s no sort of plan to help readers tackle it.
So, you know what I did? I decided to create one myself. I did the math, and here’s what I found:
- The book is 1,189 pages long
- I wanted to develop a 5-day-per-week reading plan in order to give the reader 2 days off each week for catch-up and/or reflection
- That means there are 260 days in the year to get this book read
- Which means that you could finish the book in a year by reading ONLY 4-5 pages per day!!!
I don’t know about you, but that seems really doable to me! The average book has around 300-400 words per page. Let’s take the high end of that. So that means that one day would have 400 words per page, with 5 pages, so that’s 2,000 words. If your average reading speed is 250 words/minute (which is less than average) that means that you could do your reading in 8 minutes for the day.
So let’s summarize all of that … if you commit to reading less than 10 minutes per day, for only 5 out of 7 days of the week, you could have this entire 1,189 page book read in a year! Sounds doable to me!!
So here’s where we go from here: I would love to have you join me in reading this book in 2015! I will begin reading the first full week of January (which will be January 5). Each Monday, I will write a post with some reflections and perhaps some quotes that stood out to me from the previous week’s reading. If you are reading along, this will be the place where you are encouraged to join the conversation. Use the comments section on the blog and share your thoughts, reflections, questions, quotes, etc.
There are a few different versions of the book out there, but from my research, the best one is the version published by Banner of Truth. You can purchase it from WTS Books by clicking here. This is the version that the pages in the reading plan are keyed to, so if you want to read along, this is the version you’ll need.
I hope that you plan to accept this challenge with me! If you do, take a minute and leave a comment below to let me know. I’d love to know who will be reading along. My hope and prayer is that we would all (even if it’s just me) be incredibly encouraged, strengthened, and built up through reading this book in 2015. Won’t you join me?
You can download the reading plan in pdf by clicking here.
Or you can click on the images below for each of the 3 pages: