There have been times that I have been asked regarding resources for elders and, in some instances, for pastors. In-arguably there are numerous books and tools for such persons electronically and otherwise. However, for this weekly, I will attempt to recommend certain basics or essentials. You may wish to add to my list.
Considering a Particular Bible Version
The question of Bible Version generates much discussion from time to time. Some persons hold strongly to the view that it must be the King James Version or nothing else. As such the question arises, “Is it wrong to use other versions such as the New International Version, the Revised Version or the English Standard Version? Really it depends on you and your liking. Given the research, one will find some of those versions quite useful especially the Interlinear Hebrew and Greek English Standard Version. It is a gem and easy to read. However, as a rule of thumb, it is wise to consider what the majority of members use in a given church to make an initial connection. Personally, I prefer the New King James Version for preaching, but would quote the King James Version to make the connection with my audience, and to show the distinction in some verses. For example, in 1 Thess. 4:15 of the KJV, the word “prevent” is used in speaking of the righteous living at the time of Christ’s second coming, whereas in the New King James, it says that those that are alive shall not “precede” them that are asleep. In this instance, the NKJV provides a stronger and clearer meaning according to the original language.
I would also advise that one uses as many versions as possible in preparation, but in delivery of a sermon or Bible study, keep it simple. Also, I would encourage wise use of paraphrases such as the Good News and the Message Bibles. While these may appear appealing in modern language, they may not accurately reflect the original meaning.
Fortunately for today’s pastors and elders, there are countless resources. Nonetheless, I recommend the Logos Bible software as it is upgradable, expandable and interfaces thus allowing the inclusion of the Ellen White collection as well as the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentaries. It contains numerous Bible versions, commentaries, concordances, Bible dictionaries, devotionals and practical books. (The South Bahamas Conference will sponsor a Logos Bible Software Training following the Union’s yearend committee in Nassau, on November 16th and 17th. Interested persons may contact Pastor Lynden Williams at the Conference office.)
In addition, elders and pastors would want to have in their possession the Church Manual, the Minister’s Manual and the Elder’s Manual. These are essential tools for understanding the church and the roles and function of pastors and elders within the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
I need to re-emphasize the Ellen White collection or commonly referred to as the Spirit of Prophecy books. It would be irresponsible of a pastor or elder to neglect the inspiration, counsel and commentaries provided by one inspired by God. The evidence of proof is found in reading such books prayerfully and applying their principles and instructions. I would also caution against the temptation to use these in place of the Bible or as a means of chastising and lambasting. The author, were she alive, would strongly discourage such use, for she regarded her writings as the “lesser light” to lead to the Bible, “the greater light.”
Also, the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is a must. This book provides a concise study of each doctrine.
One would also wish to consider the local newspaper, news journal and periodicals such as the Ministry Magazine for pastors and the Elder’s Digest for elders (you can access online via the ministerial department at http://www.atcunion.org/page47/communication.html). In short, these are all wonderful, but supreme to all of the above is the Bible. It is the book of books. Prayerfully sought and read, it will make one wise and rich in practical knowledge. There is simply no replacement for the Bible, and the beauty is found not in admiring it, or having as many as one can purchase but in reading it daily. A positive change is guaranteed. At the next Book Day throughout our Union, make plans to add to your library, and more so enrich the life of another in procuring a good book from the local Adventist Book and Nutrition Center.