SIDEBAR: 8 Rules for Building a Preaching Library
by Thomas Lindberg
1. Make your preaching library a priority. Readers are leaders. John Wesley said to his preachers, “Read or get out of the ministry.”
2. Buy books that fit you and your ministry. Know yourself. If you do not have knowledge of biblical languages, do not buy technical commentaries. Buy books that profit you, not books that impress others. Books are tools, not museum pieces.
3. Read and use the books you buy. Some books will just be acquaintances, while others will become best friends. I have some books I have read one time; I have other books I read and then reread frequently. The latter books are good friends. I know them well.
4. Lead your church to work your book purchases into the church budget. A good preaching library will take money, but the results in your wisdom and preaching (and your members’ growth) is well worth it.
5. Visit Amazon.com and used bookstores for great prices. I paid 35 cents for a sought-after book at a used book sale that retails new for $36.
6. Examine your current library. Do not just buy books that fit your favorite hobbyhorse theology. Where do you have holes in your library? Old Testament commentaries? New Testament commentaries? Prophecy? Spiritual warfare? Buy books that fill those holes.
7. E-mail 10 preacher friends and ask them to suggest the best five books they have read recently. Ask them why that book lit their spiritual fire. Then buy some of those books.
8. Be reading a book or two constantly. Paul, the older man, told Timothy to come to him and “bring the books.” I know a great preacher who took a briefcase of books with him on his honeymoon. (And yes, he still has a terrific marriage.)
THOMAS LINDBERG, D.Min, Cordova, Tennessee