Friday, October 12, 2012

Books, Books and More Books, Winford Claiborne

Books, Books and More Books, Winford Claiborne

Through the encouragement of my father, several others, and kindness of Albert Farley, the editor of The West Virginia Christian, I have been honored to have both written and lectured on recommending books of value for church libraries for over 12 years now.  R. R. Bowker, a specialist in Bibliographic material, estimated there are some 479 books published daily.  True are the words of Solomon—“The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd.  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 12:11-13, NKJV).  Recognizing that the vast majority of books published today would provide little to any value to a church library, one is still faced with the daunting challenge of keeping abreast of the issues impacting the church in the large number of books required.  One has to prioritize their reading in  order to come close to keeping up, but how does one know which books are the better books on a given subject?  If you are a slow reader, as I am, then prioritizing is essential!  One of the resources I use is brother Winford Claiborne’s digest of books, Books, Books and More Books.

Brother Claiborne was a Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University, Lectureship Director for the highly acclaimed Freed-Hardman University Bible Lectureship and is now Director and Speaker for the International Gospel Hour.  One could not conduct such great responsibilities effectively without being an effective reader—on all kinds of subjects.  In an interview for the Huntsville Times, the late Wallace Skipper stated that Winford reads approximately 125 books each year and retains what he reads.  Winford was my teacher for General Epistles.  When my future wife and I had him for General Epistles, he would come to class with an arm full of books.  He would spend a few moments using the books in illustration of the material when appropriate.  Today, I cannot recall the title of any of those books; however, I can tell you that each class period was a totally different set of books.

The church in Duluth, Georgia, invited Claiborne for a gospel meeting.  This congregation’s gospel meetings included preaching at night but also classes in the day time too.  They requested brother Claiborne spend all the time in the day classes speaking about the importance of reading and recommending various books on an array of topics.  Thankfully, Paul Sain bound Winford’s notes from this meeting into a small book format that we all can profit from.  The book, Books, Books and more Books is available from International Gospel Hour ( for a donation. 

One of my favorite quotations in this book is the one by Mark Twain—“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”  We need to be readers of good books, ones which can be used in the proclamation and defense of the gospel.  This book contains a listing of books under various subjects:  Abortion, Apologetics, Character, Cultic Groups, Ethical Issues, Modesty, New Age Movement, Suicide, Racism, Homosexuality, Evolution, Islam, Pluralism, Post Modernism, and others.  Someone once told me that they needed to be a better reader and just did not know where to begin.  When I heard that, I handed them this book and in an encouraging way said “Start by reading every book in this book.  When you have completed that, you will never have to ask that question again.”  Whenever I am blessed to hear Winford lecture or preach, I always make it a practice to jot down the title of any book he recommends.  I hope someday to be able to say I have read all those titles!  Now, back to my reading.

Originally printed in West Virginia Christian, Vol. 19, No. 11, November 2012, p. 8.  Reprinted by permission.

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