One of the earliest religious books my parents gave to me was a 200+ page little black book small enough to fit into my shirt pocket entitled Nichol's Pocket Bible Encyclopedia. From this invaluable book I drew material for my first attempt at delivering a lesson that was supposed to be 10 minutes at the Weirton Heights Church of Christ. Being so nervous, I think I finished my material in less than 7 minutes. My father stated that this little book is full of excellent material that one could preach throughout his entire career. While I have not put this to the test, I am confident that many lessons that need to be taught in our pulpits could be organized from the material in this book.
Some time ago, I read a review in The Messenger about this encyclopedia which I enjoyed so much that I saved the article for reference in preparation of this article. Charles Ready Nichol was an effective evangelist, debater, and writer. Every Christian should pursue his debates and books. I recently saw that all of his published works are now available on CD. Based on what I have seen of his writings, I am confident this CD would be a wise investment for those who are able to use electronic books on the computer. The Gospel Advocate has recently reprinted his series of books entitled Sound Doctrine that would be another fine addition to a church library.
C. R. Nichol lived from 1876 to 1971. He was a fellow debate student with another famous debater among us, Joe Warlick. He attended Nashville Bible School under David Lipscomb and James Harding. His sermons were described as so filled with information that the audience was captivated by the sheer volume of material presented in such a short amount of time. By the time he was 28, he had already been in sixty debates, but before his career was over the number climbed to 300.
He was also president of Thorp Spring Christian College in 1916. He also worked closely with both the Gospel Advocate and the Firm Foundation. It is estimated that he baptized over 30,000 people by the time he reached his prime. He has had a tremendous impact on many other preachers who contributed greatly to the cause of Christ as well; e.g., Foy E. Wallace.
The book has a table of contents of nearly 60 topics that provide for quick access to material on various subjects. Relevant scriptures are quoted in the manuscript for quick review. One of the practices that C. R. Nichol incorporated was to use multiple passages from differing angles to more fully illuminate the truth on the topic.
The encyclopedia, which was copyrighted in 1949, is still available for purchaseanother testimony to its enduring value. Its size makes the book fairly inexpensive to purchase and share with others. It makes a great reference work for new converts who need further instruction in the word of God. I highly recommend it for young men working to develop material for sermons. Sources: Mel Futrell, "Nichol's Pocket Bible Encyclopedia," The Messenger, Knoxville, TN: East Tennessee School of Preaching, July 2001. Nobel Patterson, "Restoration LeadersC. R. Nichol," Opening Our Eyes to Jesus from Darkness to Light in Acts, Henderson, TN: Freed-Hardeman University, 2004, pp. 341-345. Earl Irvin West, The Search for the Ancient Order, Germantown, TN: Religious Book Service, Vol. 4, 1987. -29 Flora Dr., Bedford, OH 44146-2011. DRKenney@email.com For previous book reviews, visit www.streetsborochurch.org
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