03 September 2006

Bring the Books

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote space at the beginning of each week to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive.

This excerpt (ht: Jason Janz) is from "Paul—his Cloak and His Books," a sermon delivered on November 29th, 1863, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London:

aul 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 premeditation, 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 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 Puritanic 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.
C. H. Spurgeon


Steve said...

Great post...no persuastion neede here to read more! My one reason for looking forward to retirement is so I can have more time to read. The extreme demands of my job allow me little time to read books of my own choice.

Incidentally, I'll always welcome any strong book recommendations from TeamPyro members here on the blog. A review isn't necessary. If you read a book that you feel compelled to recommend to others, just type a simple line to that effect...

Ken Silva said...

Great post and important timely advice. IMO even today unfortunately there is such a misplaced backlash against what is falsely called "intellectualism."

How much better we should be like the Apostle Paul and "hit the books" so we can live up to the Master's admonition to "love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your mind and with all of your strength."

mark pierson said...

Wow! Thanks for this post. I have just re-read Spurgeon's 2 vol. Banner of Truth Autobiography. I am now re-reading Dallimore's biograhy on Spurgeon. I wish I could get a hold of Spurgeon's "Gospel of the Kingdom".

I own "New Park Street Pulpit" and am saving to start buying the "Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit".

Again, thanks for this post.

David B. Hewitt said...

An excellent post to be sure:

"You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers, and expositions of the Bible."

I couldn't agree more. I'm in the middle of reading John Piper's God is the Gospel and it is excellent. I hope soon to have some more of James White's works, though there are several other things on my shelf (including a HUGE 2 volume collection of Edward's works) that I need to get into.

May God be glorified as my understanding increases!

David B. Hewitt

Bhedr said...

"Sell all that you have....and buy Spurgeon." Helmut Thielicke

I don't need to read anything that isn't filtered through the gift God gave Spurgeon.

Bible Background commentaries are good too as well as some good word studies, but you have to balance what Paul is asking along with what King Solomon admonished and that is that much studying can weary the flesh and that we should beware of going beyond the faithful and well driven words of the One Shepherd.

Of course you knew that already.

Keep books all around the house to. I read about 10 books at the same time and jumping back and forth between them. keep a good stash by the throne as well.

Taliesin said...

He who will not use the thoughts of other men's brains, proves that he has no brains of his own.

Has the Holy Spirit worked in our own lives only? Have not other men been taught by the Spirit? Our tendency to individualism weakens our souls we do not learn from others who have served God faithfully.

Thanks again Phil for a good reminder.

Mustard Grains said...

Since coming to the Doctrines of Grace, I have been ever more convinced of the need for a believer to study. Thank you for this tidbit of old-school goodness pointing us in the right direction!

Even So... said...

mmmm, mmmm, good...

Lord willing, see 'ya in Brandon, Phil!

Kay said...

Oh jolly good, I wrote about this last week, and it's good to know I was exhorting in the right direction...

Unknown said...

First off, I totaly agree with Spurgeon's point here. That said, is it really plausabe that Paul was asking Timothy to bring some theological scrolls for him to study? Im am just curious about the soundness of the assumption on what the scrolls actualy were.

northWord said...

true that!

I just started reading the bible (again, and with a new eye) last March, I have much to catch up on in there.. I am always bolstered by Spurgeon's writings, Thanks again for pointing us toward him.

"Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprung up."
Oliver Wendell Holmes

Matt Gumm said...

Phil: thanks for this great reminder. I wonder what Spurgeon would have thought of blogging.

Even So: Sorry to say that I won't be there (would love to meet you, Phil, and Tom Ascol, among others), but it will be a good conference, and you'll be very edified.

Anonymous said...

Great post. What amazes me most about this passage is that Paul was waiting for his execution! When facing death, would we ask for our books? What a passion to know his God and Savior!