The Benefits of a Church Library:
- A CHURCH LIBRARY CAN PROVIDE BIBLICALLY ACCURATE GUIDANCE– & CHRISTIAN ENTERTAINMENT: Church Libraries are an excellent way to provide programs and materials for educating and entertaining families! A library that includes information useful for various bible study topics and other books from motivated Christians–will be of great benefit. Christian music (and movies) for all age groups, are great additions to every church library.
- CHURCH GROWTH: A church library can help retain active members and attract new visitors/members to the church.
- A CHURCH LIBRARY PROVIDES BIBLICAL TRUTH FOR MANY SUBJECTS: Educational materials that present Christian perspective regarding religion and other controversial topics– such as abortion, marriage, science and evolution can be beneficial to all Christians–and the community.
- A MEANS TO PROMOTE THE CHURCH & LOCAL CHRISTIAN AUTHORS/MUSICIANS: A church library could include the works of its members, and those of their Christian community. Every church has members who might be encouraged to write a book, publish a poem or provide an audio recording of their (non-copyright infringement) music.
HOW CAN MY CHURCH ESTABLISH A LIBRARY?
- By asking for donations–Donations can be in the form of money and/or items–Many of us have Christian books, tapes, DVD’s that we’ve read or listened to that could be donated to a church library. If those items are gathering dust–perhaps now is the time to share them with others.
- Consider a church library as a new ministry and implement a means to fund the project. After the donations commence, the library could purchase other educational materials.
- Ask for volunteers– Someone in your church might leap at the opportunity to fill the position of Church Librarian. The children of the church, or retired members might be interested in helping with this ministry.
Ezra 6:1 Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon.
Clarke’s Commentary: In the house of the rolls – בית ספריא beith siphraiya, the house of the books, the king’s library. This is the first time we hear of a library.
THE EARLIEST LIBRARIES:
THE ANCIENT LIBRARY OF NINEVEH: The Discovery—”In the spring of 1850, the workmen of Sir A. H. Layard at Nineveh made an important discovery. In the ruins of the palace of Assur-bani-pal they found a passage which opened into two small chambers leading one into the other…. Up to the height of a foot or more the floor was piled with clay tablets that had fallen from the shelves on which they had been arranged in order, and the larger number of them was consequently broken. Similar tablets, but in lesser number, were found in the adjoining chambers. After Layard’s departure, other tablets were discovered by Mr. Hormuzd Rassam, and then the excavations ceased for many years.
The discovery of the Bab version of the account of the Deluge, however, by Mr. George Smith in 1873 led the proprietors of the Daily Telegraph to send him to Nineveh in the hope that the missing portions of the story might be found. He had not been excavating there long before he came across a fragment of another version of the story, and then once more the excavations came to an end. Since then expeditions have been sent by the British Museum which have resulted in the recovery of further remains of the ancient library of Nineveh.”–The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Volume 4; 1915; Edited by James Orr.
“Asshur-bani-pal was the only Assyrian king who exhibited any taste for learning and literature. His predecessors only left to their posterity some records of the events of their reigns, inscribed on cylinders, tablets, slabs… Asshur-bani-pal displayed far more varied and all-embracing literary tastes. He established a Royal Library, consisting of clay tablets, at Nineveh, from which the British Museum has derived its most valuable collection. (See Cyrus cylinders here)
These treasures of learning were preserved in certain chambers of the palace of Asshur-bani-pal’s grandfather, Sennacherib, where they were discovered by Mr. Layard. There are also a large number of religious documents, prayers, invocations, etc., besides many juridical treatises, the fines to be imposed for certain social offenses; and lastly, there are all the contents of the Registry office, such as deeds of sale and barter referring to land, houses, and all kinds of property, contracts, bonds for loans, benefactions and other different kinds of legal instruments.
The clay tablets on which they were inscribed lay here in such large numbers, sometimes whole, but generally in fragments, that they covered the floors of the chambers for more than a foot high. Mr. Layard truly says that “the documents thus discovered at Nineveh probably exceed all that has yet been afforded by the monuments of Egypt.” Among the interesting and valuable results which these documents have recently yielded is the chronological scheme drawn from seven different tablets, and known as “the Assyrian Canon.”—Library Of World History; Vol. 1; 1914.
MORE ABOUT NINEVEH:
“In the Bible narrative, we are told that Nineveh was founded by Asshur from Babylon (Gen. x. 11). The latter city, therefore, must have been the capital of a more ancient empire, as Berosus asserts, and recent discoveries go far to prove, though Greek writers maintain the reverse. The next notice we have of A. does not occur till 770 B.C., when Pul, king of A., invaded Palestine, but was bought off by Menahem, king of Israel. Tiglath-pileser, who succeeded Pul (738 B.C.), conquered Syria, and carried off many of the Jews into captivity.
Next, Salmanezer (730 B.C.) subdued Israel, which, at the instigation of the Egyptians, had refused to pay tribute. The next is Sennacherib (713 B.C.), who attacked Egypt, and threatened Judah under Hezekiah. He was slain by his two sons, and succeeded by his son Esarhaddon, who was also master of Babylon (2 Chron. xxxiii. 11), which, under Nabonassar, had been independent of Nineveh since 747 B.C.”–LIBRARY OF UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE; AMERICAN BOOK EXCHANGE; 1880.
EVERY CHURCH HAS A UNIQUE HISTORY–THIS INFORMATION NEEDS TO BE PRESERVED!
Just as one would enter information for their “family tree”…
Each Church Library should include the history of the church— ie: its leadership and membership records, documents and the growth of the church…its origin, milestones and ministry accomplishments. The library could also provide a storage area for the many photographs and digital images/movies of the church–its pastors, officers, deacons, and members. Christian genealogists are most pleased when historical records indicate their relatives were active members of a church!