John Wesley’s “Christian Library”
February 28, 2022
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS
John Wesley said, “I am a man of one book,” showing the importance he placed on the Bible. However, Wesley believed in reading many books. He encouraged his followers to read. But there were problems. Books were often too expensive and difficult to read.
In an effort to makes books less expensive and simpler he published his “Christian Library” – 50 volumes! He took the writings of others and abridged them – something like “CliffsNotes” today. He made them shorter and therefore less expensive. He said that he took out sometimes a third of the words, sometimes half, sometimes two thirds, and sometimes nine out of 10. He also substituted simple, plain words for more complex ones. His title for this “Christian Library” was “Extracts From and Abridgements of the Choicest Pieces of Practical Divinity Which Have Been Published in the English Language.”
The Rev. Dave Hanson is a retired pastor and John Wesley scholar.