The Banner Book Fund
What is it?
The Banner of Truth Book Fund supplies ministers, missionaries, colleges and seminaries, and needy individuals all around the world with books either free of charge or at heavily subsidised prices.
The fund is supported by gifts from individuals and from the revenues derived by the sales of Banner books.
We have so much, they have so little:
- How many books do you have?
- Do you have a hunger to read?
To some of our correspondents, one sound Christian book is gold dust, to be treasured and read time and again.
Read on to find out more about this vital ministry of the Banner of Truth Book Fund.
How is it supported?
When you buy Banner books, the proceeds go to support the continued publishing work of the Banner and also to support the work of the Book Fund. We greatly value prayer for all aspects of our work, including the Book Fund.
If you would like to financially support the work of the Book Fund it would be much appreciated. Whether large or small, your donation will help to get good books to needy and deserving people.
History and examples
In 1875, Spurgeon published a book entitled Lectures to My Students (in print and available today in its full form) and his wife, Susannah, sold her collection of coins to pay for 100 copies. An invitation was then printed in the Sword and the Trowel inviting poor Baptist pastors to apply for a copy. The response was overwhelming and showed a need far greater than Susannah had imagined. So ‘Mrs Spurgeon’s Book Fund’ was born, for the aid of pastors and missionaries in all denominations.
Within eight years this was the means of giving 11,351 books to 1,155 men. Before her death in 1903 the number of substantial books given out amounted to 199,315.
Around 1960, just a few years after the Banner of Truth starting publishing books, one of our staff, prompted by the story of Mrs Spurgeon’s Book Fund for Pastors, proposed that we did the same thing. The suggestion was adopted and a fund for this purpose has now operated for over fifty years, and hundreds of thousands of books have been sent out all over the world.
Books are sent out to individual Christians. In some cases they may be pastors in need of materials to help them to study and prepare for teaching their people. There have been many stories over the years of pastors having almost no books other than what they have received through the Book Fund. In other cases, they may be Christians in difficult circumstances and unable to afford to buy books to help them in their Christian life. There have been ministers who have lost many books due to fire and flood and the Book Fund has been able to help to restore their libraries. For many years in the UK, a scheme to help new ministers as they start in their first ministry has been helped by the Book Fund.
Missionaries are often in difficult and lonely situations and books can be a great help in helping to maintain their Christian life and ministry. No doubt the sentiments of one missionary who received books from the Book Fund would be echoed by many others – ‘Throughout my entire Christian life, I have almost always lived in lonely places, and good books have been my life-line’.
Large quantities of books are supplied through the Book Fund into colleges and seminaries around the world. Getting books into the libraries of such places is an invaluable help for the students when they are studying, but often as they graduate the students go back to situations where they have very few good books to help them as they continue or start their ministry. So with many colleges, the Book Fund is able to supply books that can be given to students as they graduate that they can then take back home with them and be life-long helps.
We have had contact with many prisoners over the years. People in many different countries, often imprisoned with little hope of release, but who come to know Christ as their saviour while in prison. In many cases there are churches in the prisons and books sent in are shared around with the other prisoners. In one prison in Africa, books were literally cut up so that they could be shared a chapter at a time with people. The Book Fund has been able to supply prison libraries, so, for instance, in one Thai prison, each cell block had its own small library that we were able to send Banner books into. The following was written by a prisoner in the UK about his feelings when he opened the parcel from the Banner:
‘I am truly overwhelmed … when I held the books in my hands and skimmed over a few pages I was literally dumfounded at the immense value contained there … I can’t think any other material gift that I have ever received has meant as much to me, to nourish my mind, my spirit, my relationship with the Lord, my fellowship with other Christians and generally benefit me.’
In North America the Book Fund has sent many thousands of books into prisons. What an encouragement to us when we received the following letter and a gift to the Book Fund from a former prisoner in the USA:
‘I have recently been released from prison. I just wanted to thank you for helping me to grow in wisdom and knowledge of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. You have sent me numerous costly books and they have been an extremely valuable source of encouragement and guidance. Now I am free I would like to show my appreciation for your gifts by supporting your ministry.’
There are many more stories that could be told of the work of the Book Fund and the tremendous blessing that books have been to people all over the world. Stories of changed lives, changed ministries, and people growing in grace and their love of our saviour.
Over the years, Christian history teaches us that books have played an important part in the work of the gospel. The well-known Puritan Richard Baxter owed his conversion to books, he wrote ‘Without any means but books, was God pleased to resolve me for himself’. Thomas Boston reading The Marrow of Modern Divinity in 1700 sparked an evangelistic fire in eighteenth-century Scotland. And on through history to the present day there are many examples and stories of how books have changed lives. This is the importance of the Book Fund work.
We may smile occasionally at the letters that come in from readers in far flung places who want us to pass on their thanks to Mr Warfield or Mr Gurnall for their precious and most helpful writings, but it is a reminder that the usefulness of books far outlast the life of the author. It also reminds us that in having access to these riches, we have a responsibility to ensure that they are as widely disseminated as possible, and the work of the Book Fund helps us to achieve this in parts of the world and in the lives of men and women who otherwise would not have access to these good books.
We are thankful for all of those people and churches who support the Book Fund in any way, materially or in prayer. Those of us at the Banner of Truth who administer the fund day by day have the added privilege of seeing the effects and benefits of the Book Fund work all around the world, and are conscious that this is God’s work and seek his blessing day by day on our labours.
If you feel prompted to donate to support and further enable the work of the Bookfund it would be greatly appreciated.