Today should have been a treat. I got to look through a friend’s library, a library full of books that would make a Banner of Truth lover drool. Goodwin’s works. Owen’s works. Bunyan’s works. Spurgeon’s works. A leather-bound Bible the size of two shoe boxes. An old, leather KJV with Hebrew and Greek side-column notes and an odd note on the inside cover asking why some lady was murdered.
But today was not a treat. It was pretty miserable. You see, my friend used to own the library. He is now apostate, and so sees no more use for the books. I was packing them up and moving them out.
His library taught me something today, though I did not read a single volume in it. It taught me that books won’t guard me against myself. Books won’t keep me from sin. A prodigious personal library will not lead me on paths of righteousness or cause me to walk in the Spirit.
Only God himself will do those things for me.
And so what should I do in light of today?
I should not think a large, theological library has little use. If a man has little interest in theological precision, breadth, and depth, he should have no interest in the pastorate. I have no respect for men who want to shepherd God’s people yet don’t prioritize the difficult work of studying God’s Word. I have no respect for men who want to shepherd God’s people yet are so arrogant as to think they have nothing to learn from seasoned saints who’ve gone before us and written down, for our benefit, what God has taught them.
Yes, reading good books is good and important.
But my takeaway today is that I should never move beyond the fundamentals. Because God is my only hope. Because God is the one who will keep me from apostasy, because God will work on my will and ability that I might kill the flesh, because God’s Spirit will make me live in submission to the Lordship of Christ…
I can never move past the fundamentals.
A minister has never so-sharpened his mind or so gained ministerial experience that he need not humbly come to God each day in the Word and prayer.
Daily does the man of God need to meet with his God. He must in dependence read his Bible and thereby listen to his God speak. He must in dependence pray and thereby speak to his God who listens.
Never move past the fundamentals.