As I was looking on the inside cover of my copy of G. Campbell Morgan’s commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians I saw a familiar sight. There was the name of a man and a date. I honestly don’t know who he is other than his name, and that he acquired the same book at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1949. The same sight is visible in the copy of Charles Hodges commentary on the same epistles only belonging to someone else after it was given to them for Christmas in 1978.
The majority of my library has been given to me or acquired cheaply when purchased used. I have hundreds of books that have once belonged to pastors or professors before they ever belonged to me. I value some of them more sentimentally than others because I know the men who have them to me or have heard of the legacy the professors who once owned them had. I see the scribbling and notations of men who preached and studied the same texts I also am attempting to do the same of. I can only wonder how the Spirit of God used these blessed tools to grow the kingdom in decades past.
These books are tools. They are no substitute for my Bible and time in the prayer closet, but they are oftentimes priceless tools. I found myself today texting a dear friend who gave me the Hodge volume to let him know what a joy it has been to use. And as I sit here and gaze about the shelves in my office I wonder what will become of all these volumes. I know in time I’m sure to give some of them away. Some of them
I’m sure I’ll hold onto them until mine eyes shall close in death.
I pray the Lord finds use of them again with someone else after my stewardship of them is over. I pray he helps me to keep them as tools and never idols as I’ve seen my heart prone to do in the past. I pray he continues to use them now to grow me in the knowledge of him and to edify his church as I teach and preach. I pray that I and whoever reads them that will remember of their writing is no end and of much study they can be wearying to the flesh, and in such to remember mans chief end to glorify and enjoy God whilst keeping his commandments. May God be glorified in the library of James A. Murray.