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Book Lover

The famed author and orator, Henry Ward Beecher said, "A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life." I could not agree more. I am a book-lover, which Webster says is: "a person who likes books and is fond of reading." As far as I am concerned that is putting it mildly. I was privileged to grow up in a home where books were appreciated, and where my dad had a fine library which he still adds to to this day.

Some of the most pleasant memories I have of growing up were those times of reading and studying books. Books at home, books at the school library, books at the county library, but there were always books. Every time the late brother Foy E. Wallace, Jr., put out another book my dad made a point of giving me one to read-and 1 still have them and still read them. And it does nothing but please me that my wife also loves to read, and our girls seem to be inclined in that direction. I will let you in on a little secret, one of the first things I do when I enter a person's home, study, or office is glance around to see what books they have on the shelf.

Brethren, a good library, especially a religious library, will provide one with a wealth of information collected by men through decades of study. Surround yourself with good books that will better equip you in your study of God's Word. With the proper tools for serious study a man's knowledge cannot do anything but increase. Always remember, of course, that the Bible itself is to be the principal volume studied. There is little doubt that the apostle Paul knew the value of books. Consider the following from Bible scholar F. F. Bruce:

    "It was just before the last winter of his life, while he lay in prison in Rome awaiting the death-sentence and the executioner's sword (according to the traditional account), that he sent a message to his friend, Timothy, in Asia Minor: "Do your best to come to me soon ... When you come, bring the cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments ... Do your best to come before winter" (2 Tim. 4:9, 13, 2 1) (The Books and the Parchments, Fleming H. Revell Co., 1984, p. 2)."

Volume 14 of The Living Word Commentary series adds this interesting note:

    "What were the books (biblio) or papyrus rolls which he had left at Troas? Paul's experience as a student in the school of Gamaliel and his missionary journeys, would have given him many opportunities to gather such materials. They might have included portions of the scared Scriptures. But we do not know what these books were. But the parchments (membrane) seem to have been more precious for some reason. Were they pieces of skin or vellum which Paul wanted for his own personal study? Being confined to prison gave him much time for study (Carl Spain, The Letters Of Paul To Timothy And Titus, ACU Press, 1984, p. 15 7)."

My judgment would be that it is not the number of volumes but the quality of the books as tools that makes the difference. At the same time, a large religious library does not necessarily imply that quality books are not present. My Pa Gould had an excellent religious library though it was not immense in size (approximately 800 volumes). I have read on a number of occasions that the late brother Guy N. Woods' library contained approximately 10,000 volumes. In his massive 1880 volume titled, Lands of the Bible, brother J.W. McGarvey writes:

    "On Monday when the carriage drove to the door, and the moment came for bidding farewell to my home and household. I had already been upstairs in my library to take a last look there, and as I gazed upon the rows of familiar books I said within myself, "Good-by, my dear old friends; and if I never see you again, God bless you for the good you have done me and the happy hours we have spent together" (page 387)."

May GOD bless everyone who has an appreciation for the study of the Word and the selfdiscipline and foresight to build a library.

Mel Futrell
Glad Tidings of Good Things