Frequently pastors ask me to explain my method of indexing quotes. You are looking at it, really.
1. Value blogs
One of the primary reasons for launching this blog was to allow myself enough categories to track quotes easily and to have the freedom of classifying quotes into multiple categories. You, too, may find it helpful to start your own blog simply for the purpose of keeping quotes in order.
But here are a few more suggestions to keeping your library well-indexed…
2. Value commentaries
I intentionally avoid a lot of “contemporary issues” books. There are thousands of books out there on the newest controversies, debates and methods. While these can be helpful, they can also be an overwhelming time-consumer and impossible to adequately index for a busy pastor. Start to collect a few hundred of these books and it becomes easy to forget what issues you have already covered.
So my goal has always been to spend more money on commentaries than on topical books. As an expositor, this has proven very helpful over the years. If you do not index well or don’t have the time, buy the very best commentaries you can. They need no indexing (and will hold their value better over time).
[Speaking of excellent commentaries, tomorrow we will look at Jeremiah Burroughs’ commentary on Hosea, recently re-printed by Reformation Heritage Books.]
3. Value a book with a good index
If you must, look for topical books with scriptural and subject indexes in the back. Someone has done the indexing for you.
4. Value an organized library
Be certain to group your topical books that cover the same issue. It may be nice to categorize your library by author, but it’s not practical. A few weeks ago I posted my library database here so you can see how I grouped my topical books (click here for the .pdf).
5. Value a database
Another useful tool is assembling a simple Excel database for quotes. Here is a .pdf version of my very small but growing index.
Hopefully these simple suggestions will help maximize your study time and feed your flocks more efficiently.