One and a thousand

1 Corinthians 2:6-16
Someone estimated John Wesley owned more than one thousand books.

That’s quite a few pages to have in your library. Of course, he wasn’t reading Methodist history; it hadn’t happened yet. Apart from that, you can imagine he read a lot of everything. And yet he considered himself to be a man of one book (homo unius libri).

That book, of course, was the Bible. What did Wesley mean by that if he read the Bible and over a thousand other books?

Well, the one book showed him the grace of God and revealed Jesus to him. Other books might have taught him about the Lord, but the knowledge began with scripture. I don’t know this, but I don’t see Wesley reading the other books as much as the Bible. And his writing and preaching center on the words and illustrations of scripture. From what I know, he fits the description of the blessed person of Psalm 1. He read and meditated on scripture day and night. 

Now, reading other material besides the Bible is not wrong or a waste of time. Quite the contrary. That wouldn’t even align with Wesley’s reading or writing practice. He wrote about philosophy and other fields of thought. He also published a medical book. Wisdom is all around us.

But we do need a better fellowship with the Bible. What might it say that many unbelievers seem to know more about the Bible than Christians? Our identity as the people of God doesn’t lead us toward discipleship by itself. The book of Hebrews says this to its readers: For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God.

Ouch. Can we say the same today?

We all have experience and insight to add to the church’s ministry and edification. What we need, though, are more people of one book. People who know the scriptures enough to teach and guide others to see the full picture of the Bible. More of us need to learn to speak scripture. I don’t mean to suggest mere memorization of a verse here and there. That’s what we ask our children to do. I mean understanding and vision rooted in the message, structure and revelation of the Bible. Not recitation but occupation. A mind occupied with hearing from God through, among other spiritual practices, the words of holy scripture.

That’s how we obtain and follow God’s wisdom. If the Bible is an afterthought, what thoughts will actually lead us?

Stay blessed…john

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

John Fletcher

Recent Posts


Social Links