Especially the Parchments
2 Timothy 4:13 The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
Paul, writing from a prison cell, asked his son in the ministry, Timothy, to come before winter to visit him. As you can imagine, this was a very personal request. Paul had invested much of his life and ministry into this young preacher and wanted to see him again before he went to Heaven. Paul asked Timothy to bring some personal items to him: his coat, his books, and his Bible (the parchments.) The coat we understand, it was going to be winter. The Bible (the parchments) we understand. A preacher needs his Bible. What are “the books?” Years ago I was able to see a traveling display of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Museum of Natural History in San Diego. We were able to view actual scrolls of the Book of Isaiah from the time of Christ. What surprised me most was the other scrolls that were commentaries written by the scribes and the Pharisees to help them as they studied the Scriptures. They had a library of “books” that were very important to their ministry of teaching and preaching the Bible. Remember that Paul had been a Pharisee, and as such he studied the Scriptures. He would have had, “the books” to study the Word of God.
Paul understood the importance of studying the Bible and the value of using “study books” that contain the things that other students of the Bible had learned and recorded. When writing Timothy, Paul was expressing a desire to use his time to study the Word of God. He wanted his Bible, that is the most important, but he also desired his study books. These did not have the same importance as the Scriptures, (he said “especially the parchments,” but they were important enough for him to ask Timothy to bring them.
This Thursday, June 21, I will be leaving on my Mission Trip to Australia and Papua New Guinea. One of the main purposes of the trip is to teach in the Bible School (Bible Institute) at Daru Baptist Church. I am taking Bibles and study books to give to the students of the school. I am taking large print reference Bibles, because vision problems are common. In addition to the Bibles I am bringing with me copies of two books that have been very helpful to me in my ministry. First is the Cruden’s Concordance. This edition is printed on Bible paper and is bound in imitation leather. It is easy to carry but contains a very complete concordance of the King James Bible. Every Bible student knows the importance of comparing Scripture with Scripture. This tool will help the students to be more thorough in their study and preparation. Secondly, I am taking copies of Manners and Customs of the Bible by James Freeman. This edition was written in the 1800’s and explains the things from the Bible that can be very confusing for westerners as we read the Bible. It is not a “western” book. It is not an “American” book. It is written in the setting of Jewish culture. We often misunderstand the Bible because we do not know the culture in which it was written. This marvelous book has helped me to understand many passages of the Bible and given me more sermon ideas than any study book I own. My dad gave me my first copy when I was 17 years old. That copy has been worn out, (I still have it!) It has been replaced and I am wearing out another copy! I believe the Bibles and the books will help to equip these students with the tools to rightly divide the Word of Truth. I am taking the books, and especially the parchments.
Getting these books and Bibles to Papua New Guinea is very expensive. The books and Bibles cost about $1000 and then there are the fees of carrying the extra weight in luggage to PNG. Extra bags and overweight bags are $250 each on the flight from America to Australia. There will be additional fees from Australia to PNG. These costs are in addition to the expense of my airline tickets. We are trying to raise an additional $2,000 to finish covering the cost for this trip.
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