The Little Library
Earlier this week, as I was studying some background material on the book of Mark, I went to the room that I call my library – a windowless room in the lower level that houses binders from all my classes in seminary as well as many different sets of commentaries, surveys of the Old and New Testaments, theological dictionaries, histories of the Christian church and various translations of the Bible. It also includes all my Hebrew and Greek references as well as a host of other biblical and extra-biblical resources.
I even have one full bookcase of material that I used to write my dissertations along with numerous devotionals, counseling books, leadership material and a huge amount of material on team and organizational dynamics. There are three sets of books on the early church fathers and some of the volumes I have never mastered, or even completely read, for that matter.
Other than a few Bibles that I had before I entered seminary, all these volumes have been acquired during the past twenty years or so and, in all honesty, I don’t use them all the time. But, and this is an important BUT, I love knowing they are there, within reach, whenever I have the need to look something up.
One of the important things I know is that this library has been vetted and anything that I find in my library is something that I know is in accordance with the Scripture. I don’t have to filter it to know that my material is trustworthy. There isn’t anything I have that is suspect and I trust the authors who have been included in my sets of books.
There is something peaceful and reassuring to know that you have trusted material and that it is accessible at any time. In fact, I love going through the various books re-acquainting myself with some of the things that I don’t use very often.
And while I love my library, there is another little library that I love and use all the time. That library even has a special name – the Bible! That’s right. Our Bible is made up of 66 individual books by various authors and written in different genres. The Old Testament has 39 different books and the New Testament has 27 books. Two people, Moses and John, have written five books each and it is believed that Paul wrote 13 books of the New Testament, depending on how you wish to consider the authorship of Hebrews. One of the great things about the library in the Bible is that everything in it is trustworthy – if its in the Canon of Scripture, it is inspired by God and completely authentic writing.
Sometimes, I like to learn about the history of the people of God and that’s when I read historical narrative, one of the biblical genres we find in the Scripture. Other times, I may be in the mood for poetry, and that’s when I turn to the Psalms or others books that contain various types of poetry. Sometimes, I turn to the wisdom books – those books that are primarily found in the Old Testament and have to do with life lessons and commands that we should live by. And then, when I am in the mood to learn about the future, I turn to Revelation or other prophetic and apocalyptic books that have to do with God’s plans for us into eternity – or words spoken by the prophets throughout the ages.
I am never disappointed – there is always something to study and learn about God. And it never fails to amaze me how much material has been written about the Bible throughout the centuries – but there’s still nothing as good as the original document – that little library contained between the books of Genesis and Revelation. Our verse tonight gives us the assurance the Bible and everything in it is trustworthy and true.
And when we read it, we can be certain that we don’t have to question the Word of God. We can let the words flow over us and deepen our relationship with the One who created us. Our verse for tonight comes from Paul’s second letter to his young pastor friend, Timothy, and Paul tells us, in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
My encouragement this evening is that there is no better preparation for life than a great foundational understanding of the Bible – and that is available to us any time. My prayer is that we will all spend time in God’s library and become well versed in the lessons that we can learn and the promises that He makes to us, His people. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…