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In the Library

From Our Bookshelf


      I continue to marvel at the power of the written word: how it leads us to truth, how it instructs our minds towards following the right path, how it equips us to give reason for the hope that is in us, how it displays the Sovereignty of God, how it inspires us to exemplify the heroic lives of great men who have gone before us, and how it invites us into the lives of others so that we may think and feel as they did.


     Reading stimulates and stretches our minds to think deeply. The very word “literature” emits a luminous air of intrigue. While each work stands as a threshold to new horizons, it is upon these thresholds that our family gathers together in body, mind, and soul to embark on delightful journeys to venerable places of truth, to distant shores, and into the lives of others.

     Continually distracted by the urgencies of the moment, we long for that feeling of splendid leisure, when time stands still as we laugh and rejoice and mourn and cry and discover and truly understand, unconsciously weaving our souls together as we move effortlessly through the hours. We move effortlessly and joyfully because of a constant and continual thread of reading to each other that Jon and I began weaving from the beginning of our union. From birth, each child becomes a part of our reading circle, which continually forms around the dinner table, in the car while traveling, and on the bed. Even when our children were toddlers, they sat for hours listening while playing quietly at our feet.

     We have such a love for good literature that with 15 bookshelves (both here and in our country home) we still do not have enough room for all our books. We recently purchased an acquisition that Jon and I have wanted for a long time—a set of beautiful mahogany bookshelves. When they arrived, we lovingly admired and patted them and then happily skipped off to select the books that we wanted to honor by placing them on our lovely shelves. Of course, we selected only those that would lend both beauty and prestige to our library shelves. Now we have other bookshelves, both built into the walls and free standing, but none so beautiful and “Victorian library like” as these.   

      It is Jon’s and my desire that our children inherit from us a well-stocked library of the best theological, historical, and biographical books ever written, including those fictional books we enjoyed reading throughout their childhood; therefore, Jon and I give our children precious books all the time. When studying a theological book like Arthur Pink’s Collection or Calvin’s Institutes on Christian Religion, we give each of the children a copy so that long after we have studied it together as a family, they will have their own book to study with their own families. This is also true of historical books like The Great Christian Revolution by Otto Scott, Sketches from Church History by S. M. Houghton, The American Covenant by Marshall Foster, and The Life and Letters of General Robert E. Lee by Dr. J. W. Jones. Not only does this enable them to follow along as we read, but also it gives them the opportunity to return to these books time and time again for reference. Once they have children of their own, these books will help them guide their own children to truth.

      Eventually, we will give them each a set of the Principle Approach books, Calvin’s and Matthew Henry’s commentaries, Noah Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language and much more, so by the time they marry, they will be able to take with them hundreds of volumes of the best books ever written, all with our blessings inscribed to them inside each book. For there is no richer inheritance known to man than passing on the Word of God and the truth of His providential Hand upon all of history.

     Consider the powerful message our home library will convey to future generations. We will actually speak to our great, great grandchildren through the books that now lay upon our shelves. Certainly the highlighted points will emphasize what we thought most important to remember, but what about those things that we might not have totally agreed with? Well, this is where an ink pen comes in handy. To make certain that my ancestors do not read anything contrary to the Word of God, I make notes next to statements that deviate from the truth. Notice, though, that I said “contrary to the Word of God”? Our refutation should be based on scripture, not our own reasoning. Therefore, I am careful to counter anything contrary to God’s Word with scriptural notations. Sometimes I even black out statements that I do not ever want future generations to be exposed to. Now granted this is rare because for the most part those books are pitched; however, there are times when the majority of a book is on target but deviates now and again. I carefully attend to these because of the impact these books will have on my ancestors.

     As you all know, one of our favorite pastimes is reading aloud. Actually as I reiterate that family characteristic, I wonder if it would be more accurate to say that reading is a profession of ours, since it occupies so much of our time each day. At night, after we have played our favorite card and board games, we gather together in our bedroom and snuggle down for a long winter rest of listening to either Jon or I read. However, often before Jon joins us, the kids snuggle up in bed with me as I read our winter books—favorites that we bring out in December to lay at the foot of our Christmas tree (which you know stays up until the middle of February), so they are handy to reread each night until we put all our Christmas decorations away again. 

     Books are our tutors and our friends. They warm our hearts, comfort our souls, and enlighten our minds. Every day in almost every room they are found lying upon our tables and piled upon the floor waiting for us to return to relish them once again.      

     There is no better time than now to start collecting books for your childrens own library, for these will always be used and appreciated and hopefully handed down to your future grandchildren. And remember to be sure to pen an intimate and endearing inscription in each.