Library of #Theology – The #Bible as #Library

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Everyone’s a Theologian (image from Reformation Trust, accessed 27 December 2020)

Using my Lord’s Day evening to read, and while enjoying leftovers from Christmas dinner, I was going through R.C. Sproul’s, Everyone’s a Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology (2014), and saw these opening three sentences for chapter seven,

“The word Bible comes from the Greek word, biblos, which means ‘book.’ However, although the
Bible is bound up in one volume, it is not a single book but rather a collection of sixty-six individual
books. It is a library of books.”

This blog has mostly focused on library things, professional actions, maybe some details of conferences, publications, and related reading. The tagline is: ‘…on Theology, Libraries, and Bookish Things – mostly.’ I feel this tagline gives me some wriggle room to write on a multitude of topics even if the preponderance of content is related to ‘libraries’ or ‘bookish things.’ Increasingly, I am planning and looking for opportunities to write on issues relevant to theology, apologetics (some of the cultural flavor), and the like. This quote from R.C. Sproul gives me free reign to intentionally write on the Bible and theology as something in and of a ‘library.’

The Oxford English Dictionary does not have a definition of ‘biblio,’ per se – surely because ‘biblio,’ is not an English word. But it contains the notion that in English, ‘biblio’ is used on combination with other parts of speech to form compound words. Take a quick think through this reference in the OED,

“Etymology: < French biblio- (in e.g. bibliothèque bibliothèque n.) and its etymon classical Latin biblio- (in e.g. bibliothēca bibliotheca n.) < ancient Greek βιβλίο- (in e.g. βιβλιοπώλης bibliopole n.), stem and combining form of βιβλίον book (see Bible n.)”

and

“In compounds formed in Greek itself, as bibliography, βιβλιογραϕία; and in many of modern formation, as bibliogony, biblioklept, bibliophagist, etc., some of which are merely pedantic or ponderously humorous”

Clearly, one can recall the use of the prefix ‘biblio-‘ in many commonly used words in English. But, like the ivory tower of the academy itself, this blog writer can surely phenaggel a playful OR serious topic from a ‘biblio’ that is also called a ‘library.’ I find that second reference from the OED is just funny – and seriously, we know scholars will write on just about anything – even to the point of coining new words to make new meanings. I plan no eradication of meaning, but rather I want not to be afraid to think of the Bible as a ‘library’ in which to explore serious topics one might find there. Thank you R.C. Sproul.

References:

“biblio-, comb. form”. OED Online. December 2020. Oxford University Press. (accessed 27 December 2020).

Sproul, R.C. 2014. Everyone’s a Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology. Sanford, Florida: Ligonier Ministies/Reformation Trust. (ISBN: 9781567693690)