2 Timothy 4:13
When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.
Here Paul continues to ask Timothy for help as he comes to see him. First, Paul asks for a cloak. It’s cold in that dungeon, and Paul is getting old. As winter approaches, Paul knows that he will want that simple garment for his own comfort.
But then we get the request for the books and parchments. This verse is utterly fascinating to me. No one has ever shed more light on it than C. H. Spurgeon, the famous baptist Preacher of the nineteenth century. Listen as I share with you a few lines from Spurgeon on this text:
We do not know what the books were about, and we can only form some guess as to what the parchments were. Paul had a few books which were left, perhaps wrapped up in the cloak, and Timothy was to be careful to bring them.
Even an apostle must read. Some of our very ultra Calvinistic brethren think that a minister who reads books and studies his sermon must be a very deplorable specimen of a preacher. A man who comes up into the pulpit, professes to take his text on the spot, and talks any quantity of nonsense, is the idol of many. If he will speak without premeditation, or pretend to do so, and never produce what they call a dish of dead men’s brains—oh! that is the preacher.
How rebuked are they by the apostle! He is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has been preaching at least for thirty years, and yet he wants books! He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He had had a wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things which it was unlawful for a man to utter, yet he wants books! He had written the major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books!
The apostle says to Timothy and so he says to every preacher, “Give thyself unto reading.” The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own.
Brethren, what is true of ministers is true of all our people. You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers, and expositions of the Bible. We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, “Bring the books”—join in the cry.
Is that cry not profound? Paul found it necessary for him to continue to read and write. Paul, the apostle who wrote the majority of our New Testament felt it appropriate for him to keep studying until the very end. How much should this convict our generation? We can be so very lazy. We can take our responsibility to read and really dig into God’s word so lightly. Be convicted by Paul’s words. If Paul read until the day he died, surely you can do something in your life to do more to educate yourself, to grow, to press on in your knowledge of the word of God.