Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Recommended Bible Study Books by Dr Ern Baxter.

It was an incredibly nice change to receive something exciting in the post today! My great new friend Jonathan Edwards, author of the new blog - "Global Awakenings" - is a fellow fan of Ern Baxter and had a document that I have never seen. It is a list that Ern put together of his recommended books for studying the Bible. It's going to be an amazing resource, but Ern's introductory letter caught my eye and touched on the use of books in a library that I have strongly felt before. This is what he wrote;

"The Great Depression made academic and theological training impossible for me. I partially compensated for this with books. Other sources were subseqently available to me, but I had established a program of personal reading, which I have pursued through the years.

Together with the use of public, institutional and private libraries, I began from my frugal funds to put together the beginnings of a personal library. These were more than books to me; they were the teachings of devout scholars. Since I was deprived access to classrooms and unable to come into direct contact with living teachers, I sought to find out about men whose books were providing information and blessing to me.

It wasn't long until the biographical and autobiographical part of my library began growing. This helped me imagine the presence of the person who wrote the books as my instructor. There are many books on my shelves today that date back to those days, to which I turn, not just in books, but as the writings of men I came to know through their biographies and autobiographies. I sat in their classrooms and in their lectures. I had front pew seats in their churches and I heard their sermons. I sometimes imagined I conversed with them.

I often grieved that I had not been able to pursue advanced formal training. And then I discovered that I was one of a great number of people whose circumstances were similar to mine. Many of their names were well known and their service in the Kingdom of God extensive and influential. Books, I discovered, were also their great instructors and friends. And so, through the years, I have sat at the feet of a great number of fine scholars and devout men of God as they sit on the shelves around me, a great faculty of informing, inspiring instructors.

As I took up pastoral duties, I discovered that there were many young people who for one reason or another were unable to participate in formal theological education. I began offering them such help and instruction as I could give them in classes I convened for that purpose, as well as introducing them to what I felt to be basic books, especially those that had been so helpful to me.

As time went on, I was asked to provide a bibliography of what I considered to be basic books, and this I gladly did. It is certainly not the only bibliography of it's kind, but is designed to help those who want to start to build their own personal library. A number of brothers have contributed to the preparation of the bibliography and the idea of updating it from time to time.

There are many more extensive bibliographies and for the tastes of some, this one may be too elementary. But for those to whom it is useful we are happy to make it available and trust that it will provide you with the kind of informative and inspiring material that will contribute to your desire to more effectively serve God".

I too have enviously looked at men and women who have been able to attend seminaries like Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Phoenix Seminary or Regent College in Vancouver - although I had the privilidge of spending a month in Vancouver three years ago and was able to photocopy all Ern Baxter's articles that he wrote in New Wine Magazine. Like Ern I would love to sit at the feet of some of my heroes like Gordon Fee, Wayne Grudem or Don Carson but in a very real sense I actually have through their writing! God is so wise in communicating and preserving truth through the written word. There is such immeasurable richness in investing in books that fire ones spirit and passion for God. When I was at university I used to buy any book with a hardback cover - I have now begun to hone my wish list to purely those books that I know will do my spirit good by revealing more of God to me.

Build your libraries!

1 comment:

Hugh Griffiths said...


Have a great holiday over the next couple of weeks.. Perhaps on your return you can share Ern Baxter's recommendations for using our shelfspace (or lack of it!)...