This World Book Day, Simon Foulds challenges us to think twice before we buy another book. Could we put that money to better use resourcing leaders in the majority world who do not have the materials they need to study God’s word? 


Source: Ben Ritter – Langham Partnership

Komenan Xavier, a theology student in the Ivory Coast, reads the Africa Bible Commentary in his college library

As I browse the book stands at Christian conventions and watch people queuing to pay for their books, I often wonder how many of them will actually be read.

We buy them with great intentions but, once we are home, everyday life takes over and our good intentions often go out of the window.

I love the photograph above of Komenan reading a copy of the Africa Bible Commentary (Zondervan). The book is well-thumbed and the spine falling off. In one sense, I am eager to ask if he wants a new one, but the book’s worn pages show a love for the Bible; for studying and preaching God’s word with faith and knowledge. You know, just by looking at the book, that it is well-read. 

How can students deepen their knowledge of God’s word without books from which to learn?

If only all of my own theological books were that well-thumbed and read! I am sure my preaching would be in a better place. We have so much to learn from this image of Komenan.

Books are best

Around the globe, the Christian faith is growing. However, over 80 per cent of preachers have no training before they enter the pulpit. The practical equipping and instruction of church leaders simply isn’t keeping up with the number of people coming to faith. Here in the West, we have easy access to the resources we need to grow in preaching, theological study and leadership, but this is not the case in many parts of the world.

Last year, Langham carried out an independent survey of 425 of theological colleges in the majority world – the regions in which most of the world’s population is located. It revealed that 75 per cent of colleges had a budget of less than £1,000 to buy books for their libraries each year. Nine per cent had no budget at all for books! How can students at these colleges deepen their knowledge of God’s word and preach accurately and faithfully without books from which to learn?

The book’s worn pages show a love for studying and preaching God’s Word

Now, more than ever, we need to equip Christian leaders. Many have great potential, but face poverty, pressure and persecution every day. Every church deserves a well-trained preacher, and Langham wants to ensure that every aspiring church leader has access to a library from which they can learn. The foundation of theologically sound study and training cannot be underestimated.

Think twice

Last year, Langham gave grants of £330-worth of books to 691 colleges. Let me put that in context: without that grant 15,878 courses would not have had the books they needed. Those books were used by 19,841 staff in 691 colleges training 212,748 students. What an encouragement in seeing God’s kingdom grow!

The next time you look at a book you are planning to buy, remember Komenan reading the commentary and ask the question: Am I actually going to read it? If the answer is “Yes”, then great! If the answer is no, please consider donating towards one of our Bible College grants instead.

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