also the books, and above all the parchments

C. H. SpurgeonHere’s a sermon to validate the bibliophiles:

C. H. Spurgeon, A Sermon (No. 542), delivered on Sunday Morning, November 29th, 1863, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

The text is 2 Timothy 4:13. Here’s an excerpt:

II. We will LOOK AT HIS BOOKS. We do not know what the books were about, and we can only form some guess as to what the parchments were. Paul had a few books which were left, perhaps wrapped up in the cloak, and Timothy was to be careful to bring them. Even an apostle must read. Some of our very ultra Calvinistic brethren think that a minister who reads books and studies his sermon must be a very deplorable specimen of a preacher. A man who comes up into the pulpit, professes to take his text on the spot, and talks any quantity of nonsense, is the idol of many. If he will speak without premeditation, or pretend to do so, and never produce what they call a dish of dead men’s brains-oh! that is the preacher. How rebuked are they by the apostle! He is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has been preaching at least for thirty years, and yet he wants books! He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He had had a wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things which it was unlawful for a men to utter, yet he wants books! He had written the major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books! The apostle says to Timothy and so he says to every preacher, “Give thyself unto reading.” The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. Brethren, what is true of ministers is true of all our people. You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers, and expositions of the Bible. We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, “Bring the books”-join in the cry.

Our second remark is, that the apostle is not ashamed to confess that he does read. He is writing to his young son Timothy. Now, some old preachers never like to say a thing which will let the young ones into their secrets. They suppose they must put on a very dignified air, and make a mystery of their sermonizing; but all this is alien from the spirit of truthfulness. Paul wants books, and is not ashamed to tell Timothy that he does; and Timothy may go and tell Tychicus and Titus if he likes-Paul does not care.

Paul herein is a picture of industry. He is in prison; he cannot preach: what will he do? As he cannot preach, he will read. As we read of the fishermen of old and their boats. The fishermen were gone out of them. What were they doing? Mending their nets. So if providence has laid you upon a sick bed, and you cannot teach your class-if you cannot be working for God in public, mend your nets by reading. If one occupation is taken from you, take another, and let the books of the apostle read you a lesson of industry.

He says, “Especially the parchments.” I think the books were Latin and Greek works, but that the parchments were Oriental; and possibly they were the parchments of Holy Scripture; or as likely, they were his own parchments, on which were written the originals of his letters which stand in our Bible as the Epistles to the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians, and so on. Now, it must be “Especially the parchments” with all our reading; let it be especially the Bible. Do you attach no weight to this advice? This advice is more needed in England now than almost at any other time, for the number of persons who read the Bible, I believe, is becoming smaller every day. Persons read the views of their denominations as set forth in the periodicals; they read the views of their leader as set forth in his sermons or his works, but the Book, the good old Book, the divine fountain-head from which all revelation wells up-this is too often left. You may go to human puddles, until you forsake the clear crystal stream which flows from the throne of God. Read the books, by all manner of means, but especially the parchments. Search human literature, if you will, but especially stand fast by that Book which is infallible, the revelation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Williams’ Hebrew Syntax (3rd ed.)

John Beckman, a graduate of Gordon-Conwell and a PhD student at Harvard has recently revised and expanded Ronald J. Williams’ Hebrew Syntax (previous editions published as Hebrew Syntax: An Outline).

I used Williams’ second edition when I took intermediate Hebrew, and since then I’ve found it a helpful quick reference when faced with translation decisions.

Beckman clarifies Williams’ work by revising and expanding definitions and explanations of grammatical phenomena. He also directs the reader to additional discussions in GKC, Joüon, IBHS, BHRG and GBHS, and adds footnotes that point to developments in Hebrew grammar since the second edition (1976). In spite of these various changes to this new edition, Beckman has been careful to maintain the original numbering of Williams’ outline (though he does subdivide certain sections). This enables one to easily look up references to Williams’ outline made by other scholars.

For the intermediate student of Hebrew grammar, this book promises to provide an effective introduction to more advanced grammatical concepts.

As an added bonus, John Beckman has released a PDF outline of all the grammatical categories found in Williams’ outline (similar to the grammatical outline found in the back of Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics). This outline, along with PDF’s of various public domain books and articles on Hebrew grammar are available at his new site,

Patrick’s James the Lord’s Brother – rough draft in HTML

Previously I posted on finding a PDF scan of William Patrick’s James the Lord’s Brother (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1906) on the Internet Archive (see previous post). The work is still available as a 35MB PDF, but I have done a rough scan and edit of the work into HTML (AVAILABLE HERE).

This is a very rough scan. I have not proofread it, and the formatting of verse references used in the original text did not scan well (as of now there is no dividing punctuation between all chapter and verse numbers). This draft has other formatting issues with italics, etc. So, be sure to check this scan against the PDF. Also, the Scripture and subject indexes are neither formatted nor proofread.

I’ve assigned “anchors” to all page numbers, so if you’re interested in citing a particular page in this document, just add # followed immediately by the page number in the document url. Example: will take you to pg. 98 (Ch. 5 on “The Epistle of James”).

Again, for the sake of any Luddites, here are a few links for obtaining a paper copy of Patrick’s work: Open WorldCat / Amazon / / Bookfinder

*After looking around a bit, I also found F. J. A. Hort’s Judaistic Christianity (London: Macmillan, 1894) on the internet archives. Perhaps I will be able to OCR scan this and make it available as well.

Converting Excess to Access… Theological Book Network

Did you get a bunch of books for Christmas? Are you wondering where you are going to put them all? Thinking about weeding out your library? Is that Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket? Do you care about the theological instruction of Christian leaders in the Majority World?

If you answered “Yes” to any two of the questions above, then you should consider donating either books or funds to the Theological Book Network.

Theological Book Network’s Mission:

To provide quality academic books and journals to the libraries of Majority World seminaries, colleges and universities that provide theological training toward the development of leaders, teachers and clergy in the Christian Church.

How Does it Work?

The Theological Book Network collects academic books and journals from Western theological libraries, publishers and scholars. All donations are brought to our warehouse where they are sorted and packed for shipment. TBN works with regional networks of institutions for efficiency and breadth of distribution. Recipient institutions share some financial, logistical and administrative responsibilities for the shipment.

If you attend or work at a school with a theological library (that is not listed here) then please let the library staff know about this service. Pass the word along to your professors, colleagues and classmates as well.

The headline of TBN’s site reads “Converting EXCESS in our world to ACCESS in the rest of the world.” Take a look. I know that I will.