Hunger for God’s Word

Rev. Tony Cooke

In May of 2024 I spoke at OliveBrook Church, pastored by Abu and Yinka Jibril. Pastor Abu shared with me how much Faith Library books from the States had impacted his life. He showed me a very worn copy of Brother Hagin’s book, He Gave Gifts Unto Men. He had literally worn the cover off of it. He said that in the early years, the books were very hard to come by, and that believers would share these books — sometimes he was one of fifteen different people waiting for a turn to read a copy of a particular book

At other times, he said they would tear a book into several sections, and then exchange the sections amongst themselves until each of them had read the entire book. Pastor Abu related one story from when he was young. He would walk around in a bookstore, stop and read a few pages of one of Brother Hagin’s book, and walk around again like he was shopping. He would then go back and read a few more pages. Eventually, the clerk told him to leave the bookstore — that he wasn’t allowed to read a book if he wasn’t going to pay for it. He absolutely would have bought it if he had had the money. 

Why Books?

Of course, the Bible is God’s inspired Word, the most important book that has ever been written, and we affirm its unique value. But other materials — supplemental books — are also beneficial.

After the Babylonian captivity, we read that “Ezra the priest brought the Book of the Law before the assembly” and those that assisted him “read from the Book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage” (Nehemiah 8:2, 8 NLT). That’s what good teachers do. That’s what good books do. Certainly, they don’t take the place of the Bible, but they bring an understanding of what the Bible says to the people.

Similarly, the Ethiopian Eunuch had the Scripture, but he needed help with ascertaining the meaning of what he was reading. As he read from Isaiah 53, the following exchange took place: 

“Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ The man replied, ‘How can I, unless someone instructs me?’ And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him… The eunuch asked Philip, ‘Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?’ So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus” (Acts 8: 30-31, 34-35 NLT).

When I teach or write a book, it’s not to take the place of Scripture, but to bring understanding and to help people apply God’s word to their lives. We should follow Philip’s example of beginning with the Scripture and telling people about Jesus.

How People Benefit from the Word

Job 23:12 (NLT)

I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food.

Jeremiah 15:16 (NLT)

When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight.

Mark 4:23-25 (AMPC)

Jesus said, “If any man has ears to hear, let him be listening and let him perceive and comprehend. And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you—and more [besides] will be given to you who hear.  For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away [by force]” (Mark 4:23-25 AMPC).