Summertime is usually a
time for reflection and relaxation. A time when decisions are made to begin
afresh with some good solid Bible study in September. Maybe you've even decided
the book or the topic you're going to dig into. So you are going to make that
all too often neglected trip to the bookstore for some help. Some of you live
too far from a book store and you begin to look through the retail book catalog
that has a great number of offerings. But the same question arises in both cases.
What books do I purchase that will be a real help? This column is a help, but
maybe I don't review the books that address the subject or Bible book you have
decided to study. So let me give you some advice of a more general sort.
Let me suggest two authors
that will be beneficial to you. The first is H. A. Ironside. He has written
commentaries on most of the New Testament books and a number of Old Testament
books as well. All of them are devotional in nature and practical in application.
Many of them have been transcribed from oral ministry and thus have the added
benefit of good illustrations often lacking from other commentaries.
Another good author that
has many good commentaries is John Phillips. His commentaries are more expositional
in nature. One of the features of Mr. Phillips' writing is alliteration. If
this feature helps you remember what has been written, then Mr. Phillips will
be of special help to you. But even if you don't get excited about alliteration,
he can help you immensely.
Why do I mention these two
particular authors? Because they are both published by the same publisher. I
find that I look at the spine of books to see who the publisher is. Most of
the time, it is a good indication of the kind of books that might be helpful.
Publishers have doctrinal stands and the books they publish will reflect those
stands. Mr. Ironside and Mr. Phillips are both published by Loizeaux and they
epitomize the kind of authors that you will find in their catalog--men who are
interested in the faithful exposition of Scripture and in bringing glory to
the Lord Jesus Christ.
Loizeaux Publishing was
begun some 117 years ago in Vinton, Iowa, by two brothers, Paul and Timothy
Loizeaux. Using crude machinery and producing literature as a personal outreach
tool, this company was born with an emphasis on ministry, not business. However,
the Lord blessed their efforts and soon this ministry became a business. But
the philosophy has not changed over the years. Now the fourth generation is
in charge. Peter Bartlett (who married into the Loizeaux family) is ably carrying
on the tradition begun many years ago.
Along with Mr. Ironside
and Mr. Phillips, you will find other men whose names have been synonymous with
good Bible exposition. Men such as Lehman Strauss, Arno Gaebelein, C. H. MacIntosh,
Samuel Ridout, F. W. Grant, as well as others whose writings have stood the
test of time.
Another service that is
offered by Loizeaux is the distribution in this country and Canada of books
offered by John Ritchie Publications of Scotland. These books are not as well
known in North America, but now that they are more available, people are finding
out about the good solid expositors whose names are not so familiar to us.
So the next time you are
browsing through a bookstore or a retail catalog and you see the publisher as
Loizeaux or John Ritchie, go ahead and pick it up. Good reading is just ahead.
But remember this one thing--the Book of books, the B-I-B-L-E, is the only book
you read that claims, rightfully, that it is divinely inspired. It is the Bible
you are studying, not the books that men write. They are just helps. Mr. Ironside
and Mr. Phillips would be the first to agree.
I'm sure that the publishers
of good books would be encouraged if you would pray for them that they would
have wisdom and insight into all their publishing decisions.