Actually, something I’ve found with my experiences (as illustrated on my blog in several different ways) is that simple reading doesn’t do this. What you are speaking of is the idea of training your mind. One can simply read something, never engage their mind, and just move on and are never better for it. For example, this is what is happens with the average Churchian since most of them do actually read copious amounts of Scripture.
The problem is that their minds are untrained. They do not engage their minds in what they read, nor they never desire to do so. You might say that they would have to when it comes to sitting in on the Bible studies, but believe it or not, this is the time when it reveals itself to those who know what to look for when interacting. Typically, this comes in the lack of depth of discussion. Sure, they’ve read the material, and even know what it says it on a shallow and passive level, but they don’t understand the deeper concepts it relates. Even Scripture itself points to how it should be handled:
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8)
Note it says meditate, not read. This requires mental engagement with a focused goal, which requires training of your mind. This mental engagement can occur at any time, which is why it says “day and night” (or some Jewish commentaries will say “all day and all night”).
This isn’t limited to just Scripture, but any work of writing (yes even popular fiction, though you’ll find your enjoyment of a work you engage with as opposed to simply read is proportional to the strength of the mind of the author and their degree of mental engagement in writing the text. Perhaps this is one reason why GBFM’s famous list isn’t revered that much anymore. No one engages their minds with the text and consequently find it boring.
I’m thinking on how to handle a post on what “training your mind” looks like (in the vein of “how to study Scripture”), but it can be hard to describe mental processes in a way that others can relate to and understand.
The point Ballista makes here is worth knowing; I’m not going to repeat what he wrote, because he wrote it well; this post is to bring this distinction to the attention of others.
Anybody looking to better themselves intellectually needs to know the difference between just surface reading and understanding what is read. That is why I recommended How to Read a Book for those who weren’t sure of how to get the most form reading non-fiction.
That being said my goal’s for the Omega’s Guide project are limited. I’m not trying to create scholars with it. The develop the mind portion is a minor side part of the project; the mind portion could become a whole series in itself (and almost is, if you’ve been following along on my Reading List project).
What I am trying to do is distill many years worth of effort and experience on my part of going from a complete and total loser to a socially functioning man into a guide so that others can do it a bit easier and a bit faster than I did. There is not much advice out there in the manosphere for the abject loser, the omega, so I’m trying to fill that hole.
So, it is necessary to gloss over some of the things that are only tangential to the project. I assumed that those reading would understand I didn’t mean to just read, but to try to comprehend what they read. I was hoping that by simply having those following my plan read, they would begin to look into deeper understandings on their own.
lolz also had a few good things to say on the topic as well:
You can read n chapters a day, but without engagement and understanding it is useless.
The Bible was written in a high-context ANE culture, so you can’t just read it like a newspaper – far better to read less, but with deep engagement and understanding – with commentaries, Catechisms, solid theological texts, etc.
We see this same pattern in how Evangelicals copiously quote lone, disconnected Bible verses, out of immediate textual context, as well as cultural context, and come up with their ridiculous Churchian teachings as a result. We also see the Pharasaic legalism involved here, e.g. (“I read 3 chapters from the Scriptures a day” [another person says] “well I read 4 so I’m holier than you” and yet another says “I laugh at you heathens – you must read an entire book daily, or you are not a proper servant leader of our church!”, etc…
Note too that chapter and verse are artificial indices imposed on Scripture after it’s creation, for our convenience, and have no Spiritual significance of application. So the guidelines should be to pursue learning more about the Kingdom each day, with Scripture at the core, and various other assistant texts and teachers (like a non-Churchian Priest/Pastor/Bible Study leader/good theological stuff like Chesterton) as is Spiritually profitable. It’s not some issue of reading a certain amount of raw text/day – an issue of quality, not quantity.
Not much to add on my part.
These two have written wisdom, I though it fitting to share said wisdom.