On My Shelf is a monthly feature designed to introduce you to TGC Council members through their love of books and writing.
Not only is Mark Dever a Council member with The Gospel Coalition (be sure to see his bibliography page), he is also senior pastor of Capital Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and president of 9Marks Ministries.
What’s currently on your nightstand?
Faith and the Presidency by Gary Scott Smith
Kindle, Nook, or iPad? What do you think of e-readers?
I don’t use an e-reader. Don’t really like them.
Where do you most like to read? When?
Depends on the kind of thing I’m reading. Hammocks and my study are fine places to read. Any place with a great vista, like my balcony or next to crashing ocean waves.
Favorite genre of literature?
Best novel you’ve read?
I really don’t like superlative questions.
Most influential book in your life outside the Bible?
See answer to previous question.
If you were stranded on an island and could have any three books in addition to the Bible, what would they be?
Complete works of Richard Sibbes, Spurgeon’s autobiography, and Calvin’s Institutes.
Who are some of your favorite writers? What makes their writing great?
John Owen, John Bunyan, John Calvin, Don Carson – I like them all because of their meditation on and application of Scripture. I like C.S. Lewis as well, but more for the lucidity of his style than of his thought.
Do you have any “pet peeves” about writing? What do you try to avoid in your prose?
Don’t like superlatives (see previous questions), too many dependent clauses, and inflated adjectives.
What’s the most challenging thing about writing a book? What’s most satisfying about writing a book?
Communicating when there is no immediately apparent audience is a challenging part of book writing. A satisfying aspect is the help other people derive from it.
Reading habits? (e.g., Pen in hand? Coffee? Diet Coke? Music playing?)
Caffeine Free Diet Coke, music playing, and a blue ballpoint pen.
Elephant ear or bookmark?
Big-time bookmark fan!
Any advice on how to read faster?
Realize what books (b/c they do exist) you don’t want to read fast!
Any advice on how to read for comprehension?
This is the order I read nonfiction books: 1) table of contents; 2) prefatory material; 3) intro and conclusion; 4) chapter titles to figure out what the author is trying to do throughout the book; 5) rest of the book.
What book has been best adapted to the movie screen? Worst movie adaptation?
Best = “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Lord of the Rings”; Worst = Prince of Egypt (yes, the Disney animated film).
Approximately how many volumes are in your personal library?
Favorite children’s book?
Winnie the Pooh
What book have you given most as a gift?
Knowing God by J. I. Packer
Favorite library you’ve ever visited?
British Library, London
Future writing projects?
3 projects pending: Books on the Doctrine of the Church, Preaching and “How to Find a Pastor”
[Note: Photo of Mark Dever courtesy of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.]