Apr 20, 2015 David Lang

Don’t Neglect the Classics

 

ClassicBooks

I love everything that’s old—old friends, old tunes, old manners, old books, old wine.

—Goldsmith (From Dictionary of Quotations From Ancient
and Modern, English and Foreign Sources
)

 

New, up-to-date commentaries and reference works are important, but older works still have their place. Here are a few reasons you should add old books to your library (followed by a few newly-released old books you should consider).

  1. When we read the biblical text, we are often quick to connect it to our immediate concerns, to focus too quickly on how it applies to the current news cycle or the latest theological controversy. Classic commentaries do not look at the text through those same lenses, so they can (paradoxically) help us to see the text from a fresh perspective.
  2. Classic commentaries also have the advantage of having been written by scholars and clergy whose works have stood the test of time. The fact that they’re still around is an indication that they contain insights which are timeless.
  3. Older works can also prove to be a rich source of sermon illustrations. Your people may well have repeatedly heard that joke or sappy story that’s circulating via the internet, and your use of it can therefore seem stale and outdated. On the other hand, an illustration that is a century old can (again paradoxically) come across as novel and informative. You want your people saying “Wow, I never knew that!” rather than “Yeah, I've heard that one before.”
  4. Finally, classic works are typically a great bargain. If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to expand your library, don’t neglect the classics.

 


Here are some newly released classics I’m really excited about. These works are being offered with introductory specials through April 27, 2015 (11:59pm EDT).


J. C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: A commentary on the gospels by the famous nineteenth century Anglican Bishop, Ryle’s Expository Thoughts were published in seven volumes. Ryle’s aim was to be “plain and pointed,” seizing on “the really leading points of the passage.” It is therefore both succinct and yet deeply devotional.

Ryle-Gospels

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels

List Price $80
Regular Price $39.90

Sale Price $29.90

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A. T. Robertson’s Studies in the Epistle of James: Written by the renowned Baptist scholar who authored Word Pictures in the New Testament and a landmark grammar of New Testament Greek, this commentary demonstrates a depth of grammatical understanding combined with pastoral sensitivity. The commentary offers solid verse-by-verse exposition without getting bogged down in minutia.

Robertson-James

Studies in the Epistle of James

Regular Price $19.90
Sale Price $14.90

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Dictionary of Quotations From Ancient and Modern, English and Foreign Sources: I absolutely love this collection of quotations. The compiler’s aim was to select ancient and modern sayings “that seem to reveal an insight into” and “bear pertinently upon” life, literature, speculation, science, art, religion, and morals. Because of this emphasis on wisdom, I find that this collection of quotes contains far less dross than other collections. It’s packed with proverbs and maxims from various nationalities, like the Cornish proverb, “He who will not be ruled by the rudder must be ruled by the rock.” It contains quotes from ancient Greek and Latin authors in the original language as well as in translation. It includes the insights of church fathers and the pithy sayings of modern (prior to the 20th century) writers, politicians, and philosophers. It’s truly a rich vein to be mined.

Wood-Quotations

Dictionary of Quotations

Regular Price $19.90
Sale Price $14.90

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Clergymen and Doctors: Curious Facts and Character Sketches: Another rich source of illustrations, this book is a collection of anecdotes about medical doctors and clergymen. Naturally, I find the clergy stories the most interesting. There are stories of famous preachers who dealt comically with sleeping listeners, and others who dealt cleverly with reprobate kings. For example, there is the story of a famous French minister who was told by Louis XIV: “Father, when I hear other preachers, I am very well satisfied with them; when I hear you, I am dissatisfied with myself.” That’s a critique any preacher might aspire to!

Clergymen & Doctors

Clergymen and Doctors

Regular Price $9.90
Sale Price $7.90

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