Consider Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s comments Paul’s instructions to Timothy concerning his books: “When you come, bring the cloak that i left you Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments” (2 Timothy 4:13, ESV)
He is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has been preaching at least for thirty years, and yet he wants books! He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He had had a wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up in the third heaven, and had heard things which it was unlawful for a man to utter, yet he wanted books! He had written the major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books! the apostle says to Timothy and so he says to every preacher, “GIVE THYSELF UNTO READING.”
The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. Brethren, what is true of ministers is true of all our people. YOU need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological words, especially the Puritanic writers, and expositions of the Bible. We are quite persuaded that the best way for you to be spending your leisure, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cried, “Bring the books” – join in the cry.
Paul herein is a picture of industry. He is in prison; he cannot preach: WHAT will he do? As he cannot preach, he will read. As we read of the fishermen of old and their boats. The fishermen were gone out of them. What were they doing? Mending their nets. So if providence has laid you upon a sick bed, and you cannot teach your class – if you cannot be working for God in public, mend your nets by reading. If one occupation is taken from you, taken another, and let the books of the apostle read you a lesson of industry. – C.H. Spurgeon, Sermon #542: “PAUL – His Cloak And His Book” in Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 9 (London, England: Passmore & Alabaster, 1882), 668-669