Meet Thabiti Anyabwile.
Thabiti holds B.A. and M.S. degrees in psychology from North Carolina State University and is the author of three books:
Thabiti is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman
(the Cayman Islands). He was previously an assistant pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church (Washington, DC).
But you probably know all this already.
So who is Thabiti Anyabwile? What does he read for fun? What discourages him? How does he structure his devotional time? What correction from others has most benefited him? What career path would he have chosen if not ministry?
Thanks for your time, Thabiti! 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 devotions are really pretty simple. I usually wake somewhere between 6:30-7:30am. There’s a brief prayer when I wake. After getting ready for the day, I spend time praying through the day and usually 1-2 pages of the church directory (30 minutes), usually read four chapters from the Scripture (I use Carson’s For the Love of God
, and usually read both the evening and morning readings in the morning), I pray through each chapter I read and note things for meditation/application that day, and I read something edifying outside of Scripture. Right now I’m reading Calvin’s Institutes
with the Ref21 gang as part of my devotional routine.
What book(s) are you currently reading in these three categories: (a) for your soul, (b) for pastoral ministry, or (c) for personal enjoyment?
For my soul: C.J. Mahaney (ed), Worldliness
; Calvin, The Institutes
For pastoral ministry: John Stott’s The Living Church: Convictions of a Lifelong Pastor
; J. Ligon Duncan and Susan Hunt, Women’s Ministry in the Local Church
For personal enjoyment: Stuart Brown and John Wickham (eds), The Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories
; Pierre Berton, The Invasion of Canada, 1812-1813
. These double as reads for pastoral ministry since I’m pastoring a Caribbean congregation with a lot of Canadian members as well.
Apart from Scripture, what book do you most frequently re-read and why?
Two books call out to me once every 18 months to 2 years: J.I. Packer’s Knowing God
and Charles Bridges’ The Christian Ministry
. Every time I read those books I’m drawn to some magnificence in God or in the pastoral ministry. Packer’s Knowing God
leaves me more passionate about God. Bridges’ The Christian Ministry
leaves me more passionate about the ministry.
When you finish a book, what system have you developed in order to remember and reference that book in the future?
Does highlighting count? I highlight a book and write comments in the margin. I’ve tried to start a quote file. And I’ve written personal indexes in the back of a book. But I don’t find that those help me reference a book in the future. I’m just a highlighter kind of guy. And it’s fun for me because I re-read the section with new eyes and distance sometimes. So, I glean new things, or I go away thinking, “Why in the world did I highlight that?” So it becomes a fun interaction between my past and future.
If you could study under any theologian in church history (excluding those men in Scripture), who would it be and why?
Oooohhh…. I’d have two, I think. I’d want to be in Geneva with Calvin. The man knew his Bible, the classics, the Fathers, the languages, and how to train men. Right now I can’t imagine a better person to learn from, speaking purely in terms of his worthiness as a theologian. Plus I’d really like to know what happened with Servetus and provide the once and for all account of what went down!
Second, I’d want to labor alongside Lemuel Haynes, the 18th century pastor in Rutland, VT. I’d want to observe the dynamic between an African-American pastor and an all-white congregation in the late 1700s. And I’d want to sit under his preaching. I love his consistently high view of the church, and that he viewed the ministry with an eschatological urgency.
Join me tomorrow for the second half of my interview with Thabiti.