Paul’s Books & Parchments

II Timothy 4:13
      The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Paul had a few books which were left, perhaps wrapped up in the cloak, and Timothy was to be careful to bring them…We do not know what the books were about, and we can only form some guess as to what the parchments were.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Note-books of his own making or collecting.

C. H. SPURGEON: I think the books were Latin and Greek works, but that the parchments were Oriental; and possibly they were the parchments of Holy Scripture; or, as likely, they were his own parchments, on which were written the originals of his letters which stand in our Bible as the Epistles to the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians, and so on.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): It is evident from this that the Apostle had not given over reading, though he was already preparing for death.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Most of the great men of God have been great readers.

W. T. P. WOLSTON (1840-1917): I do not believe in books, except the Bible.

C. H. SPURGEON: 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 they are 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 been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things which it was unlawful for a man to utter, yet he wants books! He had written a major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books!

JOHN CALVIN: Where are those who think they have made so great progress that they do not any more exercise? Which of them will dare to compare himself with Paul? Still more does this expression refute the madness of those men who—despising books, and condemning all reading—boast of nothing but their own divine inspirations.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): I dare not bid ministers, as some fanatics have done, burn all their books but the Bible. No; but I would exhort them to prefer it above all their other books, and to direct all their other studies to furnish them with Scripture knowledge. As the bee that flies over the whole garden, and brings all the honey she gets from every flower therein into her hive; so should the minister run over all his other books, and reduce their notions for his help in this.

C. H. SPURGEON: The apostle says to Timothy, and so he says to every preacher, “Give thyself unto reading,” I Timothy 4:13. 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.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): For my own part, I can only say that I read everything I can get hold of which professes to throw light on my Master’s business, and the work of Christ among men.

C. H. SPURGEON: 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.

MRS. SUSANNAH SPURGEON (1832-1903): I always found, when I went into [my husband’s] study, an easy chair drawn up to the table, and by his side, a big heap of books piled one upon the other…With those old volumes around him, he was like a honey-bee amid the flowers; he seemed to know how to extract and carry off the sweet spoils from the most unpromising-looking tome among them. His acquaintance with them was so familiar and complete, that he could at once place his hand on any author who had written upon the portion of Scripture which was engaging his attention; and I was, in this pleasant fashion, introduced to many of the Puritans and other divines whom, otherwise, I might not have known.

C. H. SPURGEON: Paul cries, “Bring the books!”—join in the cry.


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