The Blessing of a Personal Library

I find myself alone in my study at 3:00 a.m. in the morning surrounded by many books from men who have long been dead. Each man has left the legacy of his thoughts within the pages of the books that sit on my shelves.  These men have become my friends. Many have become spiritual fathers to me, while others have become more like my “Jonathans”.  As I am writing, I am thinking about my spiritual fathers J.C. Ryle, John Calvin, Augustine, Martin Luther, and Martin Lloyd-Jones amongst many others.  I am also thinking about my brothers, Thomas Watson, Charles Spurgeon, John Bunyan, and Isaac Watts.  Of course, this is only to name a few but by God’s grace, he has given me many others!

Consider this, a man spends his entire life struggling with questions and seeking answers.  Throughout the believer’s precious life, he battles against principles, principalities, powers, and dominions but his main struggle and his greatest war is waged against himself.  In this great battle, the Lord teaches his people many things, chief among them is a greater understanding of the nature of sin, the believer’s heart, and the dependency that they must have on their God.  As the Lord reveals more of these things to a believer, the believer may be inclined to write it down.  They write carefully hoping not to forget any details.  Their convictions, their reasoning, their meditations upon the Word of God that has led him to where they currently are in their walk many times will make it to paper and into the history of the blessed church.
Have you ever thought about John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.  In a single vast volume, you find one man’s thoughts about God, man, Christ, and his Church.  His life-long pursuit of understanding who God is and how he relates to us is recorded on the pages of his magnum opus.  Through its pages, you discover the thoughts and convictions that set the world on fire and reclaimed biblical Christianity.  Consider John Owen and his Overcoming Sin and Temptation.  Within a single book, you find the life-long labors of a godly man as he has pondered the nature of sin and how to overcome it.  One man’s battle for holiness has given the church an invaluable treatise that uncovers many of the mysteries of the nature of sin and how it works in the believer’s life.  Let us also consider John Bunyan and his A Pilgrim’s Progress.  What grace from the Lord to give his church A Pilgrim’s Progress? By God’s mercy, we are given warnings and encouragements as we take part in this pilgrimage towards the Celestial City.
These are just a few examples of the value that I find in my library. My shelves are not just filled with books, rather they are filled with the memoirs of many of my friends, my brothers and fathers who have comforted me and encouraged me during the times when I needed encouragement most.  Many, have also rebuked me strongly in areas where there were besetting sins that needed to be broken, killed, and tossed into the fire.
Brother, Sister, This is the benefit of building a personal library. For many, the first question that comes to mind is where do I start? Below you will find a section of the page devoted to book reviews. My desire is to provide you with book reviews that will help you on your journey of building your library. I look forward to introducing you to my friends and mentors, many who have been long dead, yet many whom I have never met but are serving the church today. I will strive to present my book reviews in a somewhat unique way. I will focus on the practical spiritual benefits of the books rather than just a general critique. Again, you can find the link to my book reviews in the menu bar below.

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