Length: 178 pp
Author: Danny Akin
Sometimes brevity is a virtue. Sometimes exhaustiveness is. Context can be a determining factor. When ripping off a bandaid or doing a graveside service in freezing weather, brevity is a virtue. When doing intricate surgery, brevity is not called for, exhaustiveness is.
Other times brevity and exhaustiveness have a more subjective basis, as regards biographies. I believe I remember reading the Doctor (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones) giving reasons why he believed long biographies were best. He had some good reasons and I tend to align with Him, preferring lengthy biographies myself, but I believe the best biography is a well read one. By all means, read biographies, short or long, and read them well. The virtue lies in how you read, not how much you read. Whatever your fancy concerning length, read of great men of God, and learn from both their mistakes and their virtues, prayerfully seeking to be conformed to the image of Christ. Most especially read missionary biography.
Danny Akin has put together a smattering of short biographies of missionaries in 10 Who Changed the World. These biographies are also expositions of Biblical texts, so know that you will get just as much of one as you will the other. This isn’t my favorite kind of biographical material, but it could be yours, and it most certainly can be well read.
I leave you with a single temptation to read it. A letter that Adoniram Judson, the second foreign American missionary (you will have to read the book to find out who was first), penned to his future father-in-law.
I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this, for the sake of him who left is heavenly home, and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion, and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with the crown of righteous, brightened with the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Savior from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?