I am mostly a utilitarian reader. For 40 years I have been writing and preaching sermons weekly, and I have come to rely on the almost exact relationship between the quality and quantity of my reading and my ability to create a sermon that has some life and energy to it. Good reading—of Bible commentaries, books on theology and culture, essays, journals—stimulates whatever it is in me that produces sermons.
What I don’t read enough of are novels—books that don’t immediately commend themselves as aids in sermon writing. As a New Year’s resolution I determined to read a few books just for the pleasure of reading. It has been great fun, and I have found that these books do nourish the work of preaching.