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Week 1 Recap: Seven Pages a Day for Seven Days

We’re one week deep into reading the church fathers together, so I want to take a moment to reflect on our first seven days.

First, we’ve read some really great passages. Here is a brief list of some of my favorite highlights. What were yours?

Second, I have heard from a number of readers that the reading takes about 20–25 minutes per day, which lines up with my experience. Is that about right?

Third, a few people have expressed chagrin at being behind in the reading “already,” I want to suggest that there is a better way to think about the reading plan. Try thinking of each day’s reading as a new opportunity, rather than as the latest in a string of missed opportunities. In other words, feel free to do the reading for each day as you have the ability, rather than feeling obligated to read through a backlog of earlier readings. (Or, do whatever you want; this is just a suggestion.) Read with joy, rather than out of a feeling of obligation.

Fourth, many more people than we expected have joined us in the first week. It’s hard to estimate, but it seems like a minimum of 200 and probably more like 300 (and as many as 400) people have joined us. You can get an idea of the diversity from this list of countries that have had regular visitors (it’s hard to say how many of these countries have regular readers, but at least the top 10 do). I’ve also heard from several church groups who are adapting the reading program for Sunday school classes or reading groups.

Finally, thanks to all the readers who wrote blog posts recommending Read the Fathers. We appreciate your contribution. Here is as complete a list as I could compile; there were many other people who wrote things on Facebook or Twitter.



  1. craighurst

    I blogged about it today –

  2. craighurst

    I was greatly encouraged by the Polycarps story. Reminded me of Heb. 11.

  3. hayesworldview

    Encouraging numbers. May they grow! Reading Polycarp’s Martyrdom moves me every time. There is something about a man in his late 80’s confessing Christ and confounding others with great courage and simplicity that overwhelms me.

  4. K. Shay

    I’m really enjoying the readings! I would say 20-25 minutes is definitely average. I’ve been reading them first thing in the morning with my coffee, while my mind is fresh. I also found a copy of J.B. Lightfoot’s The Apostolic Fathers that I purchased years ago, and I’ve been skimming his version, comparing it with the readings at CCEL.

    I loved the reading about Polycarp. When I was homeschooling my children, we read about him.

  5. T.C. Judd

    I’ve been using Holmes’ “Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations.” It is a wonderful edition (as is his English-only edition). If anyone is looking to get these early letters in print, I highly recommend it!

    • Daniel

      I’d also recommend Holmes’s volume. I find it valuable mostly for the Greek text on the facing page – given the variety of older translations out there, his English text is a bit too aberrant for my taste. But it is a quality text that is up-to-date and gives you much more to work with than ANFP or even the older Lightfoot version.

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