May 29, 2009 by C.J. Mahaney
Meet Randy Alcorn.
Randy is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries
(EPM) and a prolific writer. Alcorn has authored a small library of over 30 titles, which include non-fiction books…
- Money, Possessions, and Eternity
- The Purity Principle
- The Grace and Truth Paradox
- The Treasure Principle
- Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments
…and a number of best-selling novels:
- Safely Home
- The Ishbane Conspiracy
- Edge of Eternity
Randy lives in Gresham, Oregon, with his wife, Nanci. They have two married daughters and four grandsons.
But you may know all this already. So who is Randy Alcorn? What is he doing awake at 2:00 in the morning? And why does he want me to live a long and healthy life?
Let’s find out.
Randy, please describe your morning devotions. What time do you wake up in the morning? How much time do you spend reading, meditating, praying, etc.? What are you presently reading?
My wife, Nanci, likes to go to bed at 9:30. We read for forty minutes or so until she’s ready to sleep, then I get up to go study, research, and write. Since I rarely go to sleep before midnight, and often at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m., my wake-up time varies day to day. Generally, I sleep between six and eight hours and usually don’t have morning appointments, to allow flexibility in my study. (On Wednesday mornings I meet with two of my pastors who are dear friends, and we open the Word together.)
My devotional approach is eclectic. Some years I go through the Bible in a reading program. Other times, as I’m doing right now, I simply open God’s Word to a portion of Scripture and meditate on it, asking God for guidance. I don’t mean that I stick my finger in the Bible and just read wherever it lands—although I have done that and it can be fun. My normal approach to Bible study is to pore over texts that relate to something on my mind and heart. Sometimes this has been prompted by my research on current book projects.
For instance, I just finished If God is Good …
, a book on the problem of evil and suffering. (I didn’t solve it, by the way, but what an enriching study of Scripture.)
At one point, every morning for two or three weeks, I re-read Romans 8. In the last two years I read nearly one hundred books on evil and suffering, and my mind keeps going back to portions of this chapter in Romans. Morning after morning, reading that chapter, I find new things. Now, if you had asked me a month ago whether I planned to study one chapter of Scripture for the next three or four weeks, I would have said no. But here it is: Romans 8. God has put it on me, and it’s so rich.
This morning, I went from Romans 8 to the book of Job. Sometimes my Bible study is systematic, other times I find myself going from place to place in my Logos Bible study software, wherever I sense the Spirit of God leading me. No matter what approach I take, Bible study is pure pleasure for me.
Every book I write involves much Scripture, except my novels, but even then I meditate on Scripture related to a theme in the novel (for instance, passages on persecution when writing Safely Home
, my novel set in China).
I believe that all study of Scripture should be devotional, so on some days I have the privilege of doing ten hours of mostly biblical and devotional study.
What book(s) are you currently reading in these three categories: (a) for your soul, (b) for pastoral ministry, or (c) for personal enjoyment?
Hard to break it down, but I just finished The Ultimate Guide to Christian History
, and am reading the following (I like to have a number of books in process and jump back into whichever draws me most): John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace
by Jonathan Aitken; A.W. Tozer: In Pursuit of God—A Biography
by James L. Snyder; Choosing Gratitude
by Nancy Leigh DeMoss (prepublished manuscript); The Shorter Writings of J.I. Packer
; Nero Wolfe: Murder by the Book
by Rex Stout; and Francine River’s novel Redeeming Love
, a retelling of Hosea and Gomer’s story set in the old west.
I am always pulling from my shelf something by C.S. Lewis. And I’m also enjoying reading the notes in my ESV Study Bible (many thanks to Wayne Grudem and Justin Taylor and all who labored to put it together).
Yes, the ESV Study Bible is a rich resource, Randy. I highly recommend it!
Join me next time as I resume my interview with my friend Randy Alcorn.