Eric L. Johnson, Foundations for Soul Care: A Christian Psychology Proposal
Below is a summary of Johnson’s rules for Christian reading. It’s a useful part of his book. Because these are my own words, anything poorly stated is my own fault, not Johnson’s.
- The goal of Christian reading, even leisure reading, is conformity to Christ. Therefore what and how we read matter.
- The Holy Spirit is the Christian reading light. This metaphor indicates that while reading, the Christian is cooperating with the Holy Spirit in coming to have self-knowledge, knowledge about what is being read, knowledge about the author, knowledge about the world, and knowledge about God.
- New Christians should ask wise guides for help in reading, both what to read, and how to understand it.
- There is a natural hierarchy in the texts we read:
- The canon of Scripture.
- Classic texts of the Christian traditions.
- Other quality texts (I would add, classical texts of one’s national, ethnic, or intellectual tradition).
- Inferior texts that aren’t worth reading.
- Bad texts which draw the readers from what is true, good, or beautiful.
- Banned texts, some texts are simply justifiably censured and censored.
- Non-Canonical texts need to be read with trust and suspicion.
- Reading non-Christian texts wisely increases wisdom and is therefore worthwhile.
 Eric L. Johnson, Foundations for Soul Care: A Christian Psychology Proposal (InterVarsity Press, 2007), 222-226.