Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Ruling Elder's Library, Part 1: Bibles

A good theological library is essential for a Ruling Elder. While your library may not be as extensive as some others, there are a few books I believe every Ruling Elder should own. The foundation of any good theological library is none other than the Word of God. Below is my list of Bibles that ought to be on the bookshelf of every Ruling Elder. These are not necessarily your every-day-reading-Bibles, rather, they are tools, references, in the RE's library to be consulted when needed. Also, while it is true that most of these Bibles can be accessed online, I still find paper and ink books to be more useful, especially in face to face encounters, which is why I encourage you REs to have physical copies of the books below.

The Ruling Elder's Library: Bibles

1599 Geneva Bible. This is the Bible of the Reformation. The notes are thoroughly Reformed. The English is, in my opinion, easier to read than King James English. When I need a quick view of what the Reformers thought about a certain verse, this is the first place I look.

King James Version
. No, I'm not a KJV-only guy, but the fact of the matter is, the KJV was the standard translation of the English Bible for nearly 300 years. It is still widely used today. Further, this is the version of the Bible quoted in the notes in the Westminster Standards. To see what the Westminster divines were referencing when they cite a verse, you need to have a King James Version.

New King James Version
. Easier to understand than the old KJV and based on the same Greek and Hebrew texts. This is my preferred translation for everyday Bible reading. It is also the version that the Gideons distribute, which means if a soldier got saved reading one of their Bibles, or a visitor to your city picked up the copy in the hotel room and now wants to know more about Jesus, they are going to have a New King James Version in their hands. You should, too.

English Standard Version. This version has become immensely popular in Reformed, as well as, Evangelical churches. It is based on the Critical Text. If you lead a Bible study in your church, it is more than likely that someone will be using this version. I do not endorse this as your everyday Bible, but do believe you should own a copy so you can compare it with others and be prepared to address differing translations from, say, the New King James or KJV.


  1. Brother,

    May I suggest at some point you discuss the finer points of overture, motion, protest, and complaint, especially as the ARP and PCA church orders deal with those things?


  2. Rev. Carpenter, thank you for this suggestion. Give me a few days and I will have something for you.