As I mentioned yesterday, I started reading Warfield’s Inspiration and Authority of the Bible. I have to handle it a bit carefully because it’s a second edition, published in 1948, and the binding seems to be somewhat brittle. Point of fact, the book is one of several treasures I plundered years ago.
I’ve talked about my paternal grandfather before. This December will mark 4 years since he went on to be with Jesus. The last time I saw him was about 6 years ago when my wife and I took a road-trip up to Michigan. I mentioned it here, but to my great regret, I never took any pictures with my grandfather at that time. Instead, I brought home something else that I treasure as much as a photo.
My grandfather was a reader, a teacher, and an ordained Baptist minister. (I come by it honestly.) He and my grandmother had a small table between their two recliners in their living room, and it was always heaped to overflowing with reading material–books, magazines, junk mail, with their heavily-read Bibles always on top. My grandmother’s bookshelves are jam-packed with Christian fiction, but my grandfather’s loves were theology and history.
The last day I saw him, he was in the later stages of Parkinson’s. His vision was limited, his speech was slightly slurred, and he had trouble getting around. During that visit, he said more than a few times, “Go into the study and take my books.” He was insistent that I claim what I wanted from his bookshelves, saying that he didn’t really need them anymore. I felt a bit awkward, and I tried not to take too much; in retrospect, I should have been bolder. (“You have not because you ask not.”)
I plundered the shelves of the finest jewels I could spot: complete sets of Matthew Henry’s commentaries and Spurgeon’s Treasury of David; various volumes from Spurgeon, MacArthur, Sproul; reprints of Whitfield’s journals and Ann Judson’s autobiography; and various Bible commentaries and study helps. Three full boxes of treasures from Grandpa’s storehouse went into the back of the van. And to this day, I use something from Grandpa at least once a week as part of my teaching and personal study. Whenever I do, I think of him with gratitude. These books are his legacy passed down to me and to my children after me.
When Grandpa died, my uncles had bookmarks created to hand out at the funeral, with his obituary on the back–a perfect tribute to the blessed booklover. I wasn’t able to attend, but my dad brought me back one, and now it holds my place in Warfield’s volume. Every time I open it, I see Grandpa, and I am reminded of his faithfulness and generosity to me.