Near the end of his life, the apostle Paul found himself in prison, alone and in need of companionship. He requested that Timothy come and visit him. Adding to this request, he said, “When you come bring … the books, especially the parchments” (2 Timothy 4:13). Of these words, Charles Spurgeon wrote, …
Even an Apostle must read. … He is Inspired and yet he wants books! He has been preaching at least for thirty years, and yet he wants books! He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He had had a wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up into the third Heaven and had heard things which it was unlawful for a men to utter, yet he wants books! He had written the major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books!
The Apostle says to Timothy, and so he says to every preacher, “Give yourself unto reading.” The man who never reads will never be read. He who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains proves that he has no brains of his own. Brothers and Sisters, what is true of ministers is true of all our people. You need to read.
Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritan writers and expositions of the Bible. We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterward you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, “Bring the books”—join in the cry.