THREE SPECIAL BOOKS

Important Resources for Christians and Their Families

Three special books are available that should be in every Christian home. But having said that, an important distinction needs to be made between the first, and the other two.

THE BIBLE
The most important book in any Christian home is the BIBLE. Including it in this group of three, is not meant, for a moment, to put them all on the same level. The Bible is the inspired, infallible Word of the living God. It is God's written revelation to man. It is the only book which belongs in that category, and is the one by which we test all others. Not only should every Christian home contain a Bible, each person in the home should have his or her own. (And don't forget to put your name in the front, so you won't lose it!)

Further, there is value in having a number of Bibles in your library. Different English translations have been made, over the years. Comparing them can aid in our understanding of the text. For some insight regarding which Bible(s) would serve you best, see Choosing a Bible.

STRONG'S CONCORDANCE
Bible scholar James Strong (1822-1894) gave to the Christian church our most basic Bible study tool. I rank it as one of the three special books all Christians should own. Long before computers would have made his task easier, Dr. Strong went through the King James Version of the Bible and listed each word found there, in alphabetical order (even including every occurence of such words as: a, the, and, but!).

To each different word, Strong gave a number. Then, he provided a Hebrew dictionary (for the Old Testament), and a Greek dictionary (for the New Testament), in which each numbered word is defined for the English reader. See The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance For more information on Strong's work, and other Bible helps, see Choosing a Commentary.

THE HYMN BOOK
Some years ago, the Guinness Book of Records claimed "there are more than 950,000 Christian hymns in existence." That total has likely surpassed the million mark by now. However, in the English-speaking world, the average hymnal usually includes about 500-800 of the ones in more common usage. These collections are a part of our heritage, providing a valuable tool for learning and devotion.

In France, less than 500 years ago, the authorities pronounced it a crime to sing songs of praise to God. When that didn't stop people from doing so, they went further. They said anyone found with a hymn book in his possession would be executed! But Christians refused to give up this valuable treasure. At great risk, they wrote out the words of each hymn (actually metrical versions of the Psalms) in tiny, tiny print. Then, they bound the little pages together in books so small six of them could be hidden in your hand. And they went on singing!

Down through the centuries, Christians have expressed biblical truth, and their own experience with God, in hymn poems which have been set to music. We must value and use this heritage, recognizing the enormous cost of creating and preserving it. Make a good hymn book one of the three special books you have in your home. Hymns can not only be sung in churches, they can enrich our personal and private devotions. For more information on choosing a good hymn book, see Choosing a Hymn Book

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