And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh. (Eccl. 12:12)
I have been spending a lot of time thinking about books lately.
Now perhaps that is a reasonable thing for the editor in chief of a publishing house to do. But I have special reasons for doing so.
As most of you know, I am the editor in chief of a new publishing company. In fact, it is so new that our big announcement in the last couple of weeks has been the signing of our first book contract, with Dr. Andy Woods. It is also so new that we really have the opportunity to build what we are doing from the ground up. As we begin, we are establishing editorial processes that will set a precedent for the future of the company. We desire to establish a standard of excellence in all that we do.
Of course, I have been involved in writing and editing for many years, but never before from the vantage point I now hold at DPH. Thus, I am on a mission to learn to “know what I do not know.” I have been seeking counsel from others in the field, and am expanding my own library with the very best resources on editing and publishing.
All of this has reinforced my own thinking regarding this basic concept—that books are important.
In our electronic age, that statement must doubtless include e-books and audio books, although I doubt that they will ever make the old-fashioned volumes obsolete. Yet, however they are delivered, books are real things. Even in our technological world, books remain important to people. Many of us simply love books. It is as if our relation to books is an innate part of our humanity.
In fact, books play an important part throughout the fascinating history of the compilation of the Bible, and were often used in the production of the inspired text.
For instance, throughout the books of 1 and 2 Kings (along with Esther), we read of events that were “written in the book of the chronicles of the kings” (i.e., 1 Kings 14:19)
I envision Dr. Luke sorting through various scrolls and manuscripts while he “investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out… in consecutive order” (Luke 1:3, NASB). The great prophet Daniel likewise seems to have used “books” in the production of his inspired text—both for research and for recording his own words (cf. Dan. 9:2; 12:4).
Jesus read from “the book of the prophet Isaiah” at His home synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:17). The Apostle Paul’s dying wish was to read just one more time from “the books, especially the parchments” (2 Tim. 4:13).
Almost 1,500 years after Paul, the great Reformer and Bible translator William Tyndale made a similar request while in prison awaiting his martyrdom:
But above all, I entreat and beseech your clemency to be urgent with the Procurer that he may kindly permit me to have my Hebrew Bible, Hebrew Grammar, and Hebrew Dictionary, that I may spend my time with that study. And in return, may you obtain your dearest wish, provided always it be consistent with the salvation of your soul.
Near the end of John’s gospel we find statements that demonstrate both the importance that books can hold as well as their limitations:
And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:30-31)
And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. (John 21:25)
If books are so valuable, what then do we make of Solomon’s warning, as expressed above at the conclusion of Ecclesiastes? The MacArthur Study Bible explains succinctly: “Books written on any other subject than God’s revealed wisdom will only proliferate the uselessness of man’s thinking.”
Books will finally be used at the “great white throne” judgment of Revelation 20:11-15, when all people “not found written in the Book of Life” (v. 15) will be sentenced “according to their works”—as recorded in “books” (v. 12; cf. Dan. 7:10; 12:1).
May it ever be that the books disseminated through Dispensational Publishing House will bring glory to the Lord and be used for His eternal purposes, and for the good of all who read.
Copyright © 2016 Dispensational Publishing House, Inc.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked NASB are taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995
by The Lockman Foundation
Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)
 <http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/1987/issue16/1632.html>; Internet; accessed 5 Feb. 2016.