Dr. Steven Sample is the former president of the University of Southern California and a very well regarded leader, thinker, teacher and doer. His best-seller, The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership, is both refreshing and insightful.
Dr. Sample spends some time writing that “you are what you read” and his advice is to choose carefully and maximize your time with “supertexts” that stand head and shoulders above the rest. These supertexts are truly classic in their depth and quality of writing. He quotes Thomas Jefferson’s maxim: “The man who reads nothing at all is better informed than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” Dr. Sample adds this observation: “The question for each leader then becomes: how much total time do you wish to devote each day to reading …and how do you wish to allocate that time across the spectrum of published materials? “
And so, what are the “supertexts” that are the most valuable for modern readers? On Dr. Sample’s personal list are these: “Plato’s Republic for the way it brings out the best in us; Shakespeare’s Hamlet for giving us a terrifying look inside ourselves, and his Othello for a view of a leader undone by an evil lieutenant; Sophocles’ Antigone to help us see the pitfalls of rigidity in a leader; and all of John Ciardi’s translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy for its portrayal of the full range of human triumphs and foibles.”
But right at the top of his supertext list would be the stories of the four great leaders in the Bible: Moses (in the book of Exodus), David (in 1 and 2 Samuel), Jesus (in Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) and Paul (in Acts).
So, here you are at the threshold of a new year with more reading material available than you can possibly imagine. Your reading options are plentiful. But, to paraphrase Steven Sample, of all that we could read what must we read that will be a supertext to our souls? Here’s my take.
Read your Bible. It is from God. It is a supertext for your soul.
Read slowly. It is not a race. God will use whatever time we invest in reading Scripture.
Reflect upon what you read. Ask, “God, what can I learn from this reading right now, at this time in my life?”
Respond to what you read. Put the words of God into action.
Are you looking for a Bible reading plan for 2014? Justin Taylor has listed just about every possible Bible Reading Plan imaginable and then added a couple more for good measure.