Sell your shirt and buy books.
(Charles Haddon Spurgeon, to ministry students in his school)
I think Spurgeon had it right. However, I really do not want to see a bunch of seminary students running around without their shirts (that is going to give me nightmares just penning that last sentence). However, I think it still applies today. That is, I think books are to the minister what tools are to the mechanic. In an age where free resources on the Internet are readily available and where Bible programs are plenty, some may wonder why books should be bothered with. Here are my top ten reasons why books are better than Bible software.
10. You do not need to download an upgrade to a classic, well-written book - ever. 9. Paper cuts build character and you cannot get a paper cut from the Internet. 8. Sneaking a laptop into one's daughter's band concert is harder to pull off and generally frowned upon. 7. CD's will not be usuable in 20 years (or more likely, 3 years - Seriously, how many 100 year old CD's do you really expect to see? I have maybe a dozen books over 100 years old.) 6. Leaving a book on the dash of your car in the summer does not ruin it. 5. Inscribing the inside of a CD makes in unusable. 4. Highlighting on the Internet ruins your screen. 3. Lending a book to your friend does not break several federal laws. 2. Reading a book in the bathtub is not risking electrocution. 1. Books smell better than CD's.
I know these are silly but there is a some truth behind each one (except maybe the paper cut one). For a more serious top ten list, look at this article entitled 10 Reasons Why the Internet Is No Substitute for a Library. This article does a good job with showing why schools still need libraries and people still need to pick up a book.
One last thing about books: As I think about my daughter getting older and probably marrying someone (here is where I break down and cry uncontrollably), I think maybe at some time I will need to give some of my library to her and her husband, if they happen to be involved in ministry. If that is the case, then I am not building just a library right now, I am building an inheritance or a legacy. If my resources now help a young pastor 40 years from now not only intellectually but financially (because books cost money) then it is worth having them.
Do not get me wrong. I have my share of Bible Software and I use StudyLight.org nearly daily and I think they are great. I just enjoy being able take a book with me wherever I go and know that if it is a book whose content is worthwhile, my grandkids will be reading the same books.