I love books. I like reading them, collecting them, and sitting in my home library with some Old Toby and gazing upon them with satisfaction. I treasure many of the books in my collection, especially the ones I went through seminary with. Those books are like theology professors who follow me through life. They aid, comfort, challenge, and exhort. They often help me stay on the straight and narrow of orthodoxy. These books are my teachers and intellectual companions. Some have notes scribbled throughout, others bear the coffee stain battle scars of late night study sessions.
As much as I love my books, I have to sometimes remind myself they are complementary material. They’re not the main Book, not even close to it. The Book I’m talking about is the Bible. As good as Calvin, Luther, Sproul and Keller are, they can’t even touch the Bible.
I should probably mention, the inspiration for this little post came from an exchange I saw on Twitter a few minutes ago:
Dr. Sproul knows where true value lives: the Word. It’s “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit” (Heb. 4:12). Our faith grows from hearing it (Rom. 10:17). The Word is a “lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). Along those same lines, Paul wrote “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). And I could go on for paragraph after paragraph, pointing to passages proclaiming the power of the Word, but I think you get the idea. The collective wisdom and knowledge contained within my library pales in comparison to the eternal riches found in the Word. Spurgeon encapsulated what I’m trying to say quite well, “Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.” All of my books, and all of yours are of great value. Don’t give them up. Visit them often, but take up residence in the Bible.
By all means, read and enjoy Institutes of the Christian Religion, but read more the Word written by the One who instituted the Christian religion. Cicero once said, “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” I say a soul without the Word is like a room without books.