Building the Christian library: Introduction

“Back to Basics” has often been the slogan of politicians and educators. It remains a proper stance for all Christians too. Every Christian needs to be firmly grounded in the essentials of the gospel truths.

The aim of this section is to provide a guide for such a grounding in Christian knowledge. It is designed to help Christians choose books for long term use in the family, in the Church library, as youth or Bible study group leaders. Wherever people are seeking to teach the Bible to others there is a need for a basic library, a set of reliable accurate readable resources.

The very latest paperbacks may or may not be reviewed. Our focus will be on books that are useful in the longer term for reading and referencevalue for money.

It may be that a number of the books referred to will already be on your shelves. As we discuss their merits and suggest how they can best be used, these old friends will find new prominence and usefulness.

What sort of books?

1 Bibles: Why are there so many versions? Which one should I use? For myself? For my Sunday School class? For my church?

2 Dictionaries: Is the New Bible Dictionary worth the money? Is the Illustrated version more helpful? Arent other Bible dictionaries just as good? How do you use them? What about study Bibles as a substitute for dictionaries?

3 Other Bible Aids: What Bible Atlas should I use? Does it matter where it happened? How can I bring the geography to life? Who needs a Concordance? What is a Concordance? How do I use it? How is Strong’s different from Cruden’s?

4 Bible Reading: There is no substitute for the Biblical text itself, but there is a range of helps available. Which of them will help me to read the Bible without getting in my way? Other helpful books give an overview of the whole Bible, emphasising the flow of its themes.

5 Christian Living: Are there any books which help me to apply the Bible to my daily living? How different should I be from those around me? This is closely related to the whole area of ethics—What is right or wrong in our modern society?

6 Theology: We must not only know the parts but we should also know how they fit together. That’s theology. It is hard to go past some old faithfuls like Calvin’s Institutes or T. C. Hammond’s In Understanding Be Men. But how do you read them through? How do you get the most out of them? Which are the best books on the great Biblical themes—the Word, the Cross, Jesus Christ, Redemption and so on?

7 Evangelism: It is no good keeping it all to ourselves. Which books give me a right understanding and method for telling others the gospel news? When people want to go further, what do you give the enquirer, or the new Christian?

8 Apologetics: How do we answer the questions and objections that are raised by all thinking people. The bookshops are full of books in this subject area. Which ones are Biblical? Readable? Useful in our Australian context?

9 History: What does it mean historically to be an Evangelical? What are our roots? How has the church changed from the early church to the modern church? The Reformation is a key movement for us to investigate—but where do I start?

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