J.C. Ryle is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I began reading some of his Expository Thoughts on the Gospels several months ago as my church was preaching through John and I was hooked. I love his writing because he writes in a way that is simple yet profound. His analogies are helpful and illustrations are vivid. Also, he is a man a conviction. Even though you may not entirely agree with every point of his doctrine, you must respect his firm convictions based on the Scripture.
All of these qualities are evident in his Thoughts for Young Men (online version). I picked this book up for a few reasons. I read it for myself. At the age of 25, I am relatively a young man (even though I don’t feel like it at times) and J.C. Ryle is an author whom I love and respect. I also read this book in order to minister to others. I lead in two contexts at my church. I lead a singles care group and men’s accountability group. I also lead as a community group leader in my church’s youth ministry and I was recently asked to address the male seniors at our semi-formal banquet.
Thoughts for Young Men did not disappoint me in my expectations. This was short read of 62 pages, but it is packed with sobering truth and wise counsel. The book broken down into five sections:
1. Reasons for Exhorting Young Men
2. Dangers of Young Men
3. General Counsels to Young Men
4. Special Rules for Young Men
As a man himself and a father of three sons, J.C. Ryle understands the dangers and temptations that men face and is qualified to address them because of his understanding of Scripture. Reading this is like reading the book of Proverbs, a father addressing his son: “My son, do not forget my teaching…” (Proverbs 3:1). Some might perceive him as coming down hard on young men, but I believe that his heart in his exhortations is to serve and care for them by warning them of the consequences of their decisions. Although he specifically addresses young men, much of his wisdom applies to any believer, young or old, male or female alike.
Over a hundred years later, his thoughts still apply today. I read this in the span of just a few days, but I will definitely read it again to slowly digest it. I highly recommend this book so much that I will likely give it as a gift to other young men.