How to read a book (and not miss the point)

April 11, 2011

So, I’ve finally read Rob Bell’s Love Wins
and am working on a review. When I think about all the controversy
surrounding the book, I wish more people had a chance to take a study
seminar I took while studying at Regent College.

Professor John G. Stackhouse Jr.
offered these helpful tips for reading nonfiction. Note how actually
reading a book’s main content is step five! And considering these tips,
it makes you wonder how much time and energy could have been saved
responding to Love Wins!?!

1. Examine the front cover. Ask yourself: what can I learn about the book from this first impression?

2. Read the back cover. It typically provides good summary of the book’s argument.

3. Take time with the front matter
(e.g. publication info, table of contents, preface, introduction). This
step is key! These sections will most often reveal the background to
the book’s content and the author’s intent for writing the book
(definitely the case in the preface for Love Wins).

4. Read the conclusion
before the body of the book. This allows you to find out where the book
is headed without getting caught up in unnecessary confusion over
specific parts. And really, it’s not like it’s a novel where the ending
will be spoiled :-).

5. Read the body of the book.
This comes last! And in doing so, to avoid getting bogged down, but
your primary focus on the introduction and conclusion of each chapter.
Again, this will help grasp the main points.

Originally posted at Considerations.



Thanks Dr. Bittinger! A lesson I'm sure you've had to hold to in your years of work!