Crossroads of Kindles & Commentaries


A while back, I convinced myself that having a Kindle was an unnecessary luxury.  That was before I received a Kindle Fire for Christmas. 

In a given week, I'll be reading a book for leisure, a book for my D. Min program, and a book or commentary for sermon preparation.  In addition, I read a chronological Bible for my quiet time and the ESV study bible for sermon preparation.  The Fire is also nice because it has a free USA Today app and an app for keeping up with some of my favorite cycling/outdoor blogs.  It's nice to have many of these in one slim electronic package, though I haven't fully transitioned to all e-books.  I've been sticking to hard-copies for "serious" books.  This morning, I found myself at a crossroads.

I like to purchase my commentaries one at a time from various collections.  I own a few complete series like Calvin's Commentaries.  But in general, when it comes time to begin an expository series on a particular book of the Bible, I consult the two volume commentary survey from D.A. Carson and Tremper Longman and order one accordingly.

Up until this morning, it has been an easy workflow: 1. Consult Carson/Longman 2. Pick a commentary that strikes a good balance between the scholarly/pastoral as well as evangelical/reformed. 3. Find a used copy online and click "order."

Let's be honest here, a good commentary is invaluable to sermon preparation and theological growth, but it also looks nice on the shelf!  There's a part of me that likes the collection aspect of these hard-back beauties.  I know that they'll be useful for years to come and maybe even helpful for some other pastor when I'm done in this Kingdom.

So, at what crossroads did I find myself this morning?  You've already figured it out.  The Kindle edition of the Genesis 11-50 commentary I was going to order is cheaper than a used copy.  It is available right away and will be easy to travel with and read anywhere.  It can fit in my backpack on a bike ride and my jacket pocket at Synod.  It will not, however, look nice on a shelf or survive the next digital milestone.  It might not be usefully readable when I'm 55, and it won't provide a match to the Genesis 1-11 commentary I already own. Note taking is about the same experience between the Kindle Fire and my Zebra HB 0.7mm

My impending $18 decision will be a symbol of the changing culture, the postmodern information age, the value of convenience over permanence, and a statement over the nature of "working the angles" in 2012.

What do you think?

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