It has been such a joy to have the opportunity to have a round-table discussion on Sunday evening with parents and “soon-to-be” parents on biblical parenting. It is also an amazing joy that, at Trinity we have a book table in our foyer along with a church library that has at least one copy of each book we have on the table. I thank the Lord that I have spoken to several people who have said: “I have read more in the last year than I ever have in my life previously.” I thank the Lord for those who work at our book table and those ladies who so diligently work in our library – I was thinking of them when I read this by Charles Spurgeon:
“When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.” - 2 Timothy 4:13
We do not know what the books were about, and we can only form some guess as to what the parchments were. Paul had a few books which were left, perhaps wrapped up in the cloak, and Timothy was to be careful to bring them. Even an apostle must read. Some of our very ultra Calvinistic brethren think that a minister who reads books and studies his sermon must be a very deplorable specimen of a preacher. A man who comes up into the pulpit, professes to take his text on the spot, and talks any quantity of nonsense, is the idol of many. If he will speak without pre-meditation, or pretend to do so, and never produce what they call a dish of dead men’s brains – oh! that is the preacher.
How rebuked are they by the apostle! He is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has been preaching at least for thirty years, and yet he wants books! He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He had a wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things which it was unlawful for a men to utter, yet he wants books! He had written the major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books!
The apostle says to Timothy and so he says to every preacher, “Give thyself unto reading”. The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. Brethren, what is true of ministers is true of all our people. You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritan writers, and expositions of the Bible. We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, “Bring the books” – join in the cry.