When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.” — 2 Timothy four:13
A single point we see seeking back at terrific movements of God (revivals and reformations) prompted by gospel preaching is that the preachers weren’t commonly themselves “wakened” by preaching but by reading. For some it was wealthy, gospel-drenched books:
— For George Whitefield, the greatest preacher in American history, it was Henry Scougal’s The Life of God in the Soul of Man. “Though I had fasted, watched, and prayed, and received the Sacrament extended,” he wrote, “yet I never ever knew what accurate religion was, till God sent me that exceptional treatise by the hands of my never ever-to-be-forgotten buddy.”
— For George Thomson, influential 18th-century Anglican rector, it was William Law’s A Significant Get in touch with to a Devout and Holy Life.
— For Howell Harris, a single of the terrific leaders of the Welsh Methodist Revival, it was Richard Allestree’s devotional operate The Complete Duty of Man.
— For Charles Wesley, it was Martin Luther’s Commentary on Galatians.
— For John Wesley, it was Martin Luther’s Preface to Romans.
For some, it was in beholding Christ’s glory in the biblical text itself—not just the books, but the parchments:
— For Jonathan Edwards, it was 1 Timothy 1:17 that awakened his soul to the beauty of God’s sovereignty and triggered him such delight that he wished he could be “rapt up to God and be, as it have been, swallowed up in him forever.”
— For Martin Luther, (partly) it was the way Romans 1:17 and Habakkuk two:four match collectively.
—For Augustine, it was Romans 13:13-14 that flooded his heart with light, ended his carousing, answered his mother’s extended-suffering prayers, and started the most influential post-biblical theological ministry in church history.
Back when I was receiving prepared to publish my book Gospel Wakefulness, my buddy Ray Ortlund, who wrote the foreword to it, told me this: “Jared, a single day 50 years from now, some tired pastor is going to locate this book on a shelf in a employed bookstore and it will adjust his life.”
That meant the globe to me. Ray didn’t say, “This book is going to be a bestseller.” He knew it wouldn’t be. But he also knew that wasn’t the ideal Gospel Wakefulness could be, anyway. Lots of books hit the bestseller list. Not a lot of of these are nevertheless study 10 years later, significantly much less 50. Lots of are not even study a year later. But the concept that the book could influence a soul, that it could awaken one thing fresh in a weary spirit, give a reader a new sense of Christ’s grace that adjustments everything—that is worth writing for.
For Ray, by the way, it was Romans 9:18 (in the Greek, naturally) that, in his words, “turned his universe upside down.”
So when men and women criticize all the gospel-centered this and grace-focused that coming out of the couple of Christian publishing homes committed to generating them, I get a small concerned. Very first, since gospel fatigue is a true point, and it is spiritually risky. Second, since though I share a concern about The Gospel becoming just a fad, I assume there are a lot worse fads (to be truthful), and also, till the CBA charts are dominated by “gospely” books, I’m not gonna be overly concerned about it. But most importantly, I am pleased for gospel books since gospel books adjust lives—they historically and remarkably awaken souls and influence the church for the excellent of the globe and the glory of Christ.
So for these tired of all the “gospely” books, I say preserve ’em coming! They can feed the subsequent generation of terrific preaching, which fosters the subsequent terrific revival.
Paul had a couple of books which have been left, possibly wrapped up in the cloak, and Timothy was to be cautious to bring them. Even an apostle will have to study . . . He is inspired, and however he desires books! He has been preaching at least for thirty years, and however he desires books! He had noticed the Lord, and however he desires books! He had had a wider encounter than most guys, and however he desires books! He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard items which it was unlawful for a guys to utter, however he desires books! He had written the key aspect of the New Testament, and however he desires books!
— Charles Spurgeon, “Paul—His Cloak and His Books”