I find that when I read books, I exhibit a trait that can be a strength, but also a tragic weakness. Because I have read so many books in the past few years, I have found that many phrases and points that an author is trying to make wash over me like shower water (unnoticed). So I’ve begun to skim read certain parts of books which helps many times to skip past things that are already known and get to new ideas and new thoughts that need to be contemplated and digested.
This is however can also be a great weakness when applied to sections of a book where an author cites Scripture as a supporting point or is referring the reader to great eternal truths. Great eternal truths, and every passage of Scripture cited, no matter how familiar we might be with them, should never be skipped over as though we could derive no new benefit from by reading them again, and meditating on them again. Especially Scripture.
One could be forgiven for skimming past theological truths in pursuit of new learning or new expressions of accepted facts. But the Word of God cannot be handled this way. Why? Because the Word of God is living and active (Heb 4:!2). Each time the Word comes to us it comes with a Divine Purpose behind it (Is 55:10-11). A Divine intention to affect something in our minds, hearts and lives. To skim past a verse as though "I know that already" is to rob oneself from the purpose of God to "succeed in the thing for which I sent it." Don’t gloss over the Word in books you are reading. Slow your mind down and meditate on the Word that is being used to support a thesis or main point.
We also need to learn to discern when an author is making points that are truly eternal in nature. Points that a brief discursive in thought would render a good harvest of blessing, comfort and strengthening in your faith. Piper’s writings are like this for me. He talks so much, so often about the supremacy of this, that and the other, that it often falls on a deaf heart. Like today, as I’m reading through Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, seeking to follow the thesis on how knowledge of Christ guards my sexuality, and how my sexuality is to point to greater knowledge of Christ (you’ll have to read it yourself), I found myself glossing over a section where he invites the reader to ponder the Supremacy of Christ in a number of areas.
Thankfully the Spirit rebuked me for my disinterest in reading this section and led me to go back and slowly, carefully, and contemplatively read those passages again. And I found them to be truly soul satisfying in reminding me that God through Christ in me is everything, and I am truly nothing. With Christ I can do all things because He is Supreme, and I am in Him. Apart from Him, in the power of my own flesh, in the power of my own reasonings, I am and can do nothing.
So I offer to you a few of the thoughts expressed by Dr. Piper in this chapter as an exercise in stopping to smell the roses/coffee/etc. I trust you will now void your mind of my self admission of slackness in this post (probably finding yourself guilty of the same pride and apathy) and carefully consider the God who saved you and His absolute sovereignty over all of His creation.
"the supremacy of His eternality that makes the mind of man explode with the unsearchable thought that Christ never had a beginning, but simply always was; sheer, absolute reality while all the universe is fragile, contingent, like a shadow by comparison to His all-defining, ever-existing substance;"
"the supremacy of His authority over heaven and earth and hell – without whose permission no man and no demon can move one inch; who changes times and seasons, removes kings and sets up kings; who does according to His will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay his hand to say to him, "What have you done?" (see Dan 4:5)"
"the supremacy of His grace that gives life to spiritually dead rebels and wakens faith in hell-bound haters of God, and justifies the ungodly with His own righteousness;"
"the supremacy of His own inexhaustible gladness in the fellowship of the Trinity, the infinite power and energy that gave rise to all the universe and will one day be the inheritance of every struggling saint."
To God be the glory!