By David George Moore

It’s been my privilege to be in the personal spaces of several writers. Among others, Pulitzer winner Tony Horwitz warmly welcomed me at his home on Martha’s Vineyard as did William F. Buckley at his place on Long Island Sound.

I have interviewed close to 200 authors. Everyone has their own style with reading, capturing what they have read, research, and then writing. As I writer myself, I have settled on an approach I feel comfortable with.

Up now is the Mike Bird. Mike is a respected New Testament scholar, and a sometimes zany, yet incisive commentator on culture. [Image not from Mike’s library!]

Bird is the co-author with N.T. Wright of the terrific, The New Testament in its World.

I am currently reading this with great profit. Scot McKnight endorses this wonderful resource by adding, “N.T. (Tom) Wright can't write anything that is not interesting and suggestive and even at times provocative. His shelf or two of books is now condensed, reworked, and put in digestible form for even more readers. This is a lifetime of scholarship and a landmark publication by one of the world's leading New Testament scholars. I'm grateful too for the creative contribution Mike Bird makes in pulling all of this into one final heap of fun.”

Moore: Do you still acquire books as you get older or have you slowed down a bit?

Bird: Yes, I still acquire them. I now get sent books – so many books - without even asking for them and I either review them or give them away.

Moore: What are the best time(s) and place(s) for you to write?

Bird: Friday is my research day, otherwise, its evenings from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. I write from home with a cold can of coke zero near-by.

Moore: How do you capture your research? Old school with note cards etc., or new school with computer programs?

Bird: I have a series of I store info in, retrieve that often, and add to it frequently. I always take notes and bank quotes when I read anything. I should use something like Zotero, but, meh, too much effort. A scan marker makes life so much easier for scanning quotes from books!

Moore: Do you immediately start writing on the computer (perhaps typewriter) or by longhand?

Bird: The only thing I learned in high school of any value was how to touch type, and it has come in very handy.

Moore: Do you put marginalia in your physical books?

Bird: Don’t tell my librarians, but yes, usually an asterix for – I need to remember this – in pencil at least. Then at the end, I go back and gather up all the quotes.

Moore: Do you read digital books?

Bird: More frequently, Logos is a great e-reader and a great way to access and search books in biblical and theological studies.

Moore: What is some good advice you received on writing?

Bird: (1) Read good writing and reflect on what makes it good; (2) Write every essay, section, sub-section, and paragraph with a plan of how you’re gonna start and where you’re going; (3) Read-Write-Read-Edit-Repeat; (4) Alliteration and occasional overstatement are underrated tools for drawing attention to what you’re saying.

Moore: What do you think is your best book?

Bird: Well, as far as sales go, The New Testament in its World, for sure, but that’s mostly due to my esteemed co-author N.T. Wright. It is a great book and was so much fun to write it. The book I’m most proud of is my Evangelical Theology, second edition, I hope that book inspires a generation of evangelicals to think evangelically about God, to make the gospel, the centre, boundary, and integrating point for Christian faith and practice. Of course, I quite like my book The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus too.

Moore: Please name a few of your favorite authors from your own field of study

Bird: I love N.T. Wright (of course), my good friends Scot McKnight and Lynn Cohick, the three Craig’s are terrific too – Evans, Keener, and Blomberg. I appreciate anything by Dale Allison. On theologians, Kevin Vanhoozer for sure. Flemming Rutledge is the best preacher/writer I’ve read. Among the Germans Jörg Frey and Udo Schnelle are very informative and learned. Markus Barth is also a secret favourite of mine, he was way ahead of the game in so many areas of NT studies. Anything by Pheme Perkins and Luke Timothy Johnson will always be thoughtful and thorough.

Moore: What is a book you should have read by now, but haven't? This will make all of us sleep better!

Bird: Gilead for one, otherwise, the Twilight novels, and a whole bunch of Where’s Wally I need to catch up on.

David George Moore is the author of the forthcoming Stuck in the Present: How History Frees and Forms Christians (Leafwood/Abilene Christian University Press). Some of Dave’s teaching videos and contact information can be found at