Spurgeon is the Man Part 2—Spurgeon was a Bible Guy

Mark Driscoll » Dead Guys

Mark-and-Spurgeon-StatueContinued from Part 1

Spurgeon was trained, but in a practical and more natural way than other ministers of his day. Thus, his theology remained accessible to common people. Both his father and grandfather were pastors who also worked jobs during the week, which helped Charles blend practical Christian living and vocational ministry. This connection between ministry and real life lived by average people with typical jobs may in part explain his mass appeal to the multitudes of ordinary people who connected with his preaching. Though he did not attend a theological college, he did eventually found his own Bible college, which trained hundreds of young pastors and culminated in the book, Lectures to My Students, a collection of his practical counsel for aspiring pastors. Spurgeon was a committed lifelong student. He had a large library built in his home so that he could study continually and still be near his sick wife. He had a large, round desk with a hinge that permitted him to sit in the middle of it with his beloved books surrounding him. In his day, it was widely agreed that Spurgeon had the finest collection of Puritan literature in the entire world. Also included in his personal library were volumes of literature, theology, religion, travel, biography, science, hymnody, history, and humor. Following Spurgeon’s death, his library was distributed among family members. Today, the 6,750 volumes that remained have been preserved in his memory.

There are two ways in which Spurgeon has particularly mentored me regarding studying.

First, after years of trying to work out of one space functioning as both a study and an office, I finally adopted his method. Now I have an office at the church where I hold meetings. The office is set up with couches, chairs, and a fridge, much like a living room, but does not have any of my books, a desk, or anything else that assists studying and writing. At my home I have a roughly seven-hundred-square-foot personal library and study. So, I work from home most of the time and am far more effective in my studies and writing because I am not interrupted, I can work long hours as needed, I can still be near my wife and children, I reduce my commute time, and my wife and children have access to my books. In her biography, which my wife Grace enjoyed reading, Spurgeon’s wife noted that she greatly appreciated the fact that his library was at home so that she got to see him and also have access to his books. This was a helpful insight for how my wife and I organize our life.

Second, I was amazed at the scope and size of Spurgeon’s personal library. I planted Mars Hill Church in the fall of 1996 at the age of twenty-five and have always been a voracious reader. For years, our fledgling church plant struggled financially and during that time I did not obtain a salary from the church and paid for most of my books out of my own pocket. However, as the church grew and became more established, I spoke with our elders about setting up a book budget so I could begin collecting good reference material to assist my preaching and teaching. When they asked what prompted my request, I told them the story of Spurgeon and they graciously established a policy that continues to this day. It simply states that I can purchase any books and software I need to do my job most effectively. Thus, by God’s grace and our elders’ generosity, I now have a library of perhaps four thousand books and a part-time librarian to keep my library database and shelves current. Also, my friend Scott at Logos Bible Software has generously loaded up my computer with seemingly everything I could ever want.

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