Summertime is usually a time for reflection and relaxation. A time when decisions are made to begin afresh with some good solid Bible study in September. Maybe you've even decided the book or the topic you're going to dig into. So you are going to make that all too often neglected trip to the bookstore for some help. Some of you live too far from a book store and you begin to look through the retail book catalog that has a great number of offerings. But the same question arises in both cases. What books do I purchase that will be a real help? This column is a help, but maybe I don't review the books that address the subject or Bible book you have decided to study. So let me give you some advice of a more general sort.

Let me suggest two authors that will be beneficial to you. The first is H. A. Ironside. He has written commentaries on most of the New Testament books and a number of Old Testament books as well. All of them are devotional in nature and practical in application. Many of them have been transcribed from oral ministry and thus have the added benefit of good illustrations often lacking from other commentaries.

Another good author that has many good commentaries is John Phillips. His commentaries are more expositional in nature. One of the features of Mr. Phillips' writing is alliteration. If this feature helps you remember what has been written, then Mr. Phillips will be of special help to you. But even if you don't get excited about alliteration, he can help you immensely.

Why do I mention these two particular authors? Because they are both published by the same publisher. I find that I look at the spine of books to see who the publisher is. Most of the time, it is a good indication of the kind of books that might be helpful. Publishers have doctrinal stands and the books they publish will reflect those stands. Mr. Ironside and Mr. Phillips are both published by Loizeaux and they epitomize the kind of authors that you will find in their catalog--men who are interested in the faithful exposition of Scripture and in bringing glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Loizeaux Publishing was begun some 117 years ago in Vinton, Iowa, by two brothers, Paul and Timothy Loizeaux. Using crude machinery and producing literature as a personal outreach tool, this company was born with an emphasis on ministry, not business. However, the Lord blessed their efforts and soon this ministry became a business. But the philosophy has not changed over the years. Now the fourth generation is in charge. Peter Bartlett (who married into the Loizeaux family) is ably carrying on the tradition begun many years ago.

Along with Mr. Ironside and Mr. Phillips, you will find other men whose names have been synonymous with good Bible exposition. Men such as Lehman Strauss, Arno Gaebelein, C. H. MacIntosh, Samuel Ridout, F. W. Grant, as well as others whose writings have stood the test of time.

Another service that is offered by Loizeaux is the distribution in this country and Canada of books offered by John Ritchie Publications of Scotland. These books are not as well known in North America, but now that they are more available, people are finding out about the good solid expositors whose names are not so familiar to us.

So the next time you are browsing through a bookstore or a retail catalog and you see the publisher as Loizeaux or John Ritchie, go ahead and pick it up. Good reading is just ahead. But remember this one thing--the Book of books, the B-I-B-L-E, is the only book you read that claims, rightfully, that it is divinely inspired. It is the Bible you are studying, not the books that men write. They are just helps. Mr. Ironside and Mr. Phillips would be the first to agree.

I'm sure that the publishers of good books would be encouraged if you would pray for them that they would have wisdom and insight into all their publishing decisions.