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Thursday, May 20, 2010

How To Build a Good Library

Tonight in class we ended up going over principles on how to build a good library with practice solutions. As a preacher of God's word, the message needs to be prepared with tools. The tools for a preacher are books. The main book to use is obviously the Bible, however, supporting books (i.e. tools) are necessary to help interpret the Bible accurately. Commentaries, theology books, and scholar exegetical studies are the tools that build messages and make sure you stay on course with the historical-culture context of the Scriptures. The message that was given to the first century original writers is the same message to us, however, we need not to redefine terms, but understand them in a relevant way that is applicable to our times. The methods may change, but the message stays the same! I have been getting that drilled into my hermeneutics class on Monday nights and now in my homiletics class on Thursday nights. God is showing me great things in the Word and cannot wait to share it with others when I get the opportunity.

As I have been preaching now for over two years, I have experienced massive growth. Studying to preach messages build the preachers walk in Christ. Digging so deep into the root of Scriptural ideas and contextual realities opens the mind and provides a wealth of new knowledge that was not know previously. I love studying the word, but I need help to make my studies accurate so they will bear much fruit in the lives of the learners (listeners in the flock of God). Therefore, studying requires having studying material. What studying material do preachers use? They use books. Lots of books by lots of authors. Preachers need to have a good library filled with solid Christian sources for their messages. In this case, building a good library is necessary for spiritual growth and biblical productivity in ministry for the messenger and his message. But the age old question comes to mind, "What books should I get?" Below are some tips my teach said about building a good biblical library that should consist of strong commentaries, theology and doctrine books, and scholarly exegetical studies such as Old Testament/New Testament surveys.

Here are some tips when building a good library:
1. Buy books on sale at Christian Book Distributors; buying from a Christian company and they have sales!

2. Borrow books from friends who are not using them, especially the expensive ones!

3. Read new/other commentaries to find out what authors you enjoy reading and buy those.

4. Buy whole bible commentaries that are cheap to give you basic understanding over each book of the Bible.

5. Get top scholarly exegetical commentaries on specific books of the Bible that are their "expertise" or field.

6. Invest in getting book you will use AGAIN in twenty years, do not waste money on topical/series books.

7. Invest in deeper commentaries and theological books for you to grow and develop in your spiritual roots.

8. Buy very good doctrinal books on individual theology topics (God, Trinity, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Sin, Salvation, Bible, Church, etc).

9. Use books from the CBU Library if your a student or alumni! (undergraduates can check out 10, graduates  15, and alumni 5 books at a time).

10. Build your library as you progress in your studies and teachings throughout ministry (so when you go through a new book like the Gospel of John, but some John commentaries then, instead of wasting all of that money on commentaries before you study that book. Gradually build your commentary library as you study each book one by one).

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