“I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word”. – Psalm 119:16.
SOLOMON TOLD IT RIGHT when he said, “Of making many books there is no end” (Ecclesiastes 12:12).
The number of books extant today would dwarf any library Solomon ever saw or imagined. We have old books, new books, reprints, classics, even e-books. Now you can purchase a hand-held device and wirelessly download entire books to it for reading anywhere, at your convenience – a virtual library in your pocket.
As a preacher, my religious library has grown with time, including hundreds of volumes of greater and lesser value (though it is still small compared to many). Some I would hate to part with. Others just occupy shelf space.
In my younger days, I was driven to build up a library, thinking that more books translated into more advantage to a preacher. These days, it is only occasionally that a book is added to the collection and I am more motivated to actually read what is on the shelf, rather than be on the lookout for something new to place on the shelf.
Good books can aid immeasurably in Bible study, depending on the calibre of their content, and assuming they are read with a discerning eye, educated in the Scriptures.
Isn’t that really what it ought to come down to? For all that can be said in favour of things like commentaries (bad examples of which can do much harm), there is nothing to take the place of a man alone with his Bible. It is easy for our perceptions to be coloured by something read elsewhere, and we may end up missing what the Bible actually says because we have been helped into a misunderstanding by an unhelpful book (or article, preacher, etc.).
Whatever benefit we reap from other sources, we will always need open Bibles, prayerful hearts, and minds keen on learning exactly what God wrote.
Weylan Deaver is an American preacher.