We don't know how well read he really was, but what we do know is that whatever he read, he was able to consolidate and appreciate. He was able to think and process his thinking in a way so few of us even imagine doing.
Maybe some will remember his malapropisms. He was often known for saying thoughtful comments but then dropping in a wrong word. Dictionary.com says this is "an act or habit of misusing words ridiculously, especially by the confusion of words that are similar in sound." That said, what I appreciated was that although Jhan often made mincemeat out of the English language, he had a depth of understanding that was well worth hearing.
I'll miss both his misuse and his thoughtfulness.
You might remember Einstein's famous, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."
Jhan was ever concerned to get people to synthesize, to take information that people gave, be they reports, or stories, and make the transfer into their own lives. He and Lon Solomon, pastor of McLean Bible Church (McLean, Virginia) argue about which of them started the use of the phrase "So what?" after delivering a Bible class or sermon. Maybe it was Mortimer Adler. He said, "Is it too much to expect from the schools that they train their students not only to interpret but to criticize; that is, to discriminate what is sound from error and falsehood, to suspend judgment if they are not convinced, or to judge with reason if they agree or disagree?”
― How to Read a Book
The most important book to process was the Bible, and in it Jhan found depth and meaning, he found forgiveness and salvation. As did Mortimer Adler, another Jew who found peace in Jesus.
This is blog #2 in the series on the things about Jhan, the things I'll miss about Jhan, the prayers I'm offering for Melissa (whom I will continue to call "Maloo") and their daughters Kayla and Jessie.