I. Regarding the distribution of the present ministry

In recent months there has been much consideration of the need to increase the distribution of the present ministry. One source of encouragement came from a particular speaking by Witness Lee.

“…I hope that we could live to be eighty or ninety, even to over a hundred, so that we might be able to see the fulfillment of all that we have fellowshipped today. I wish to live on this earth and witness with my own eyes the truth of the Lord not only being printed into books through our hands, but also being sent through us to every part of the world and prevailing in every place. I absolutely believe that this will hasten the Lord’s return because it is through this that the Lord will prepare His bride. I hope that we all can see the manifestation of such a situation.” [1] (Witness Lee)

II. Regarding the giving away of books.

Further encouragement came from an “Announcement” made in 1925 in The Christian magazine by Watchman Nee promoting the buying of books and then giving them away.


This work is very important. Of course, we should do our best to proclaim our beloved Lord and other truths with our mouth. But we cannot take hold of everyone to speak to him. For this reason, we should give away books. Do you know that giving books away produces the greatest results? Do you know that giving away a good book can lead others to receive the Lord, to understand the truth, and to forsake heresies? Unfortunately, those believers who are able would not do this work. Although we cannot know the result of giving books away, in that day when we stand before the judgment seat, we will see why it was worthwhile to do this work. We publish books, and you should buy and give away books. [2] (Watchman Nee)

III.  Regarding the loaning of books.

Also during this time we have found that at least two major areas of the earth were opened to the gospel through brothers loaning books to seeking young men.

A. The opening of Africa to the gospel was in part the result of the loaning of books.

The first account is in the 1820s when a twenty-year-old youth in Blantyre, Scotland,[3] opened his heart to what he referred to as “a personal application of the provisions of the Savior’s atonement.” [4] Shortly, it became his desire to show his attachment to the cause of Him who died for him by devoting his life to His service. [5]

“When he determined to be a missionary, the only persons to whom he communicated his purpose was his minister and his parents, from all of whom he received great encouragement.” [6] His minister at this time was John Moir, a twenty-four-year-old pastor in the adjacent village of Hamilton, Scotland (a walk of about two miles). [7]

During this time Mr. Moir shepherded him by informal meetings and by lending him books,[8] books that included a Greek Lexicon. [9] These books were “conscientiously returned.” [10] Later, in 1837, Moir approached the London Missionary Society on his behalf. [11] This young man was David Livingston, whose labors as a missionary and explorer would open the door to the gospel throughout Africa.

B.  The opening inland China to the gospel was in part the fruit of the loaning of books.

At about this same time in a small town in England, out of boredom, a young man borrowed a pamphlet from his father’s library to while away unoccupied hours. It was concerning the finished work of Christ. [12] This resulted in his “accepting this Savior and His salvation…” [13] Soon “he recognized that he was saved to serve, and that a work was waiting for which a life of inner victory and power would be essential. [14] Later he felt that God had called him to spend his life in missionary service in China. [15] He learned that a minister in his “native town possessed a copy of Medhurst’s China [16], and calling upon him ventured to ask a loan of the book.” [17]

Later, the Treasurer of the Bible Society and a founder of the Sunday School, John Whitworth, “lent” him Christian papers and books. [18] He described that there were books that “I was not able to afford.” [19] Later he was able to write that “Since then I have had access to a tolerably good library…” [20] This young man was Hudson Taylor who would lead in the opening of inland China to the gospel.

 IV. regarding our responsibility

Would we be those who give and loan books of this present ministry to many seeking young people? To do this could afford the way for us to tell them of our own help from a particular book and later to fellowship with them regarding their reading. We need to sell the books, give the books, and loan the books. “It is all in the books.”

[1] Witness Lee, The Economy of God and the Mystery of the Transmission of the Divine Trinity, (Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 2001), p.163 .

[2] Watchman Nee, The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, Vol. 7, (Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1992), p. 1236.

[3] William Garden Blaikie, The Personal Life of David Livingston, Chiefly from His Unpublished Journals and Correspondence in the Possession of His Family (New York: Fleming Revell Co., [originally published] 1880), pp. 28-29.

[4] Blaikie, p. 29.

[5] Blaikie, p. 29.

[6] George Seaver, David Livingston: His Life and Letters (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1957), p. 22.

[7] R. J. Campbell, Livingstone (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1930), p. 33.

[8] Blaikie, p. 35.

[9] Blaikie, p. 35.

[10] Blaikie, p. 35.

[11] Campbell, p. 34.

[12] Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor in the Early Years (London: The China Inland Mission, 1923), p. 67.

[13] Taylor, p. 67.

[14] Taylor, p. 73.

[15] Taylor, p. 85.

[16] Medhurst was an early missionary to the Chinese.

[17] Taylor, p. 85.

[18] Taylor, p. 103.

[19] Taylor, p. 103.

[20] Taylor, p. 104.