Building a Personal Library

Author: Lexi Mitchell | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2023-24

“And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12)

Mr. Rand Millich began his forum by reading this scripture from the book of Ecclesiastes. Through this quote, he explained that writers of the early centuries wrote in both the secular world at the time, as well as in writings from God that were preserved as part of scripture. 

These old books were often etchings or written on scrolls. Writing in this manner involved painstakingly long procedures, so authors guaranteed that any literature produced would be of the highest standard.

With the invention of the printing press, however, literature has been able to be mass produced. Due to this advancement in technology, there is almost no end to the amount of material we have at our disposal. The overall quality of reading material has gone in a steep decline, and some books are able to be pointless time wasters. 

How, then, are we to find books that have true value? Which books are useful and edifying? 

There are many works of literature that have the ability to act as a foundation for profitable study, as well as give access to information that can deepen our understanding of the Bible.

In order to find it, though, it is important to carefully consider the material being provided in any work of literature. In doing so, finding valuable literature becomes possible. 

Mr. Millich provided a list of books that influenced his own life and are part of his personal library, and encouraged us to build a personal library of works that will have a positive influence on our knowledge, character, and behavior. 

The following books were not always perfectly accurate, but they were foundational for further study and more accurate information.

Challenge your inner nerd. 

Here are the books that Mr. Millich determined were some of the most valuable in his collection. 

Biblical foundations: 

  • The Bible 
  • Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible by James Strong
  • Unger’s Bible Dictionary by Merrill F. Unger
  • Halley’s Bible Handbook by Henry H. Halley
  • Baker’s Bible Atlas by Charles F. Pfeiffer
  • Religions in America by Leo Rosten
  • A Harmony of the Gospels by A.T Robertson
  • The Books and the Parchments by F.F. Bruce
  • The Life and Epistles of St. Paul by W.J.Conybeare and J.S.Howson
  • The Story of the Christian Church by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut
  • Antiquities of the Jews by Flavious Josephus
  • The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (especially Chapter 15) by Edward Gibbon
  • The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop
  • The Encyclopedia of History by William Langer

Other books of further interest:

  • The Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius Pamphilius translated by Christian Cruse
  • The Little Journeys by Elbert Hubbard
  • The Notebook of Elbert Hubbard by Elbert Hubbard
  • The Annals of World History by James Usher
  • The Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett
  • The Moral Compass by William J. Bennett
  • The Genesis Flood by John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris

Regardless of who we are or the background we have, these books can be useful in providing us with knowledge that can allow us to grow as potential members of the family of God. 

In addition to good content, it’s important that the means through which we read are appropriate as well. 

Mr. Millich presented print reading as the optimal method of reading. It allows us to slow down, apply critical thinking, appreciate beauty, discern truth, and gives time to apply deep and sophisticated reading. Although reading in print is usually preferable, reading online or digital materials can definitely be convenient and cost-efficient. 

Each method of reading has its place, so it’s important to consider what your goal is when reading a particular piece of literature.

Ultimately, the best books are the ones that mean the most to us.

The books that we find profitable and want to read are the books we typically spend the majority of our time on. It’s important to determine which books are the most important to us, because if we don’t like or want to read them, they could just take up space on our shelves. The books we don’t read will not impact us the way the books we choose to read do.

We are all influenced by outside sources. Oftentimes, it’s a combination of individuals we have known and the materials we have read. Not everything is always true or of value, but these sources of inspiration act as the foundations to our very personalities. 

It’s crucial to find what’s most important to us, and feed ourselves with knowledge that’s good.

Lexi Mitchell is a first-year student in the Living Education-Charlotte Program. She is from Long Island, New York. At home, she worked as a lifeguard and a swim instructor. Currently, she assists in the Living Education department as a social media manager and as a producer of written content. She enjoys reading, cooking, exercising, and spending time with family.