Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why I Recommend Books

As I wrote yesterday, I love books and frequently recommend books on this site. Periodically I've been asked why I make such a big deal about books. Isn't the Bible sufficient? Why distract people from the Scriptures and point them to fallible men and women who write about what the Bible has to say? Why not go directly to the Scriptures ourselves?

Here's the short answer:

Yes, the Bible is sufficient. I love the Bible, and desire that others find great joy in the Bible. But one of the things the Bible tells us is this, in Ephesians 4:

"And [God] gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ..."

The Bible says that God has appointed teachers who are particularly gifted at handling the Scriptures, and that these teachers have been appointed to build up Christ's body by the use of their God-given gift.

These teachers teach through different forms (preaching being a main one that is mentioned in the Scriptures), and one way that teachers build up Christ's Body is by writing books. While I devote much of my time to the spoken word through preaching, the written word is especially useful because sentences and paragraphs can be read and re-read, enabling the mind to ponder more carefully the truths being communicated.

So, yes, I love the Bible. And yes, like the Bereans in Acts 17, test everything you read in books by the inspired, infallible Word of God. But if you love the Bible and regard highly its authority, then you should love books too. For the very Bible you cherish so much tells us that God has given teachers to His Church. If you neglect books, you neglect one valuable means that God has given us by which we might grow into maturity in Christ

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