Reading, Reading List

Top Ten + Two

Throughout the year I’ve shared book titles for pleasure and purpose. I am grateful for published authors whose education far exceeds my own; many good men and women have spent the bulk of their lives learning, teaching, and sharing through writings as their life’s vocation. Aside from my own continued learning, I am an advocate for women to learn, enjoy, and share God’s Word. In this blog post I will share the top ten book titles aiding my Bible understanding, expanding my knowledge of theology and the church, and those offering wisdom that speaks to the Christian life.

10) Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End by David Gibson reminds us of how living our lives in the present should be shaped by what is certain at life’s end. Seeing life as God’s wondrous gift frees us to live wisely and faithfully, Gibson engages the reader with his retelling of Ecclesiastes. I found this book especially helpful with long-term planning and decision making.

9) Knowing and Growing in Assurance of Faith by Joel R. Beeke is a book that will bring comforting peace to the child of God who is trapped in doubting her assurance of faith. Tackling the hard topics of both easy believism and hard believism Beeke presents a thorough biblical case.

8) Suffering: Gospel Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense by Paul David Tripp is an honest yet compelling book of comfort. Tripp offers an empathetic ear without trivializing our own sufferings. Personally, I found this book timely and helpful. This is an important book in the life of the church as we come alongside one another.

7) Maturity: Growing Up and Going On in the Christian Life by Sinclair Ferguson focuses on the important lesson the New Testament has to teach us about the process of Christian growth to spiritual maturity. Rooted in the reality of the Christian life, Ferguson seeks to show what maturity is and how it is to be obtained. For me, this book prompted reflection time and again.

6) Knowing Christianity by J.I. Packer turns our attention to the central doctrines of God, the Bible, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. As the author explores the principal elements of the Christian life, his book offers help and hope from the unchanging truth of God. Packer offers much more than the latest self-help books, laying out a vast picture of the Christian faith.

5) Christianity at the Crossroads: How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church by Michael J. Kruger is a readable and well-researched book. With little writing for the lay person on this time period, I had great appreciation for the author’s work. Through Kruger’s summaries, the reader is presented with practical data of the transitions faced by Christians in the second century that would determine the future of the church. I gained better understanding of Christianity as well as the church we know today. My only regret is that I had not read it sooner.

4) The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life: Connecting Christ to Human Experience by Jeremy Pierre is written specifically for counselors and shepherds. A Professor of Biblical Counseling, Pierre provides biblical truth as he shows how to carefully make diagnoses. While sharpening the counselor’s skills in remedy by way of scripture, he takes us into sound doctrine while equipping us to help with wisdom and love. This book is a discovery of a dynamic relationship with God and how it changes the way people respond to every other aspect of life. Pierre’s work is endorsed by Ed Welch, Bruce Ware, Russell Moore, and Alistair Begg.

3) The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything by Fred Sanders is a readable book on the Trinitarian shape of evangelical faith and practice. Sanders writes, “Nothing we do as evangelicals makes sense if it is divorced from a strong experiential and doctrinal grasp of the coordinated work of Jesus and the Spirit, worked out against the horizon of the Father’s love.” With a personal study guide included, I believe this book would be ideal for life application and group discussion. This book was a staple when teaching the Doctrine of the Trinity.

2) Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God by John Piper is a reminder that Christians often pit thinking and feeling against each other. This book’s focus helps us to consider how thinking and things of the heart glorify God together. This book is helpful to any woman whose desire is to learn and grow in the Christian faith. I highly recommend Think to those who attend the Sunday evening class, Let’s Do Theology. My personal copy is on loan to my granddaughter. It’s an important read!

1) None Greater: The Undomesticated Attributes of God by Matthew Barrett addresses how Christians have domesticated God, bringing him down to our level. Rightly lifting Him up as the Creator rather than the creature, Barrett presents the attributes of God as the most perfect, supreme being. This excellent book lays out clear, accessible terms in his glossary (helping the reader track the argument throughout the book). I found Barrett’s glossary superior to others in the comprehension of these particular theological terms. Without question, this was my best read of 2019. None Greater was an excellent resource in preparing to teach the communicable and incommunicable attributes of God.

+2) Last but not least, I would be remiss if I did not list two recurring titles in my yearly reading. Knowing God by J.I. Packer and The Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer are two classics. Whether reading Tozer’s focus on the attributes of God, or J.I. Packer’s significant book on the glory and joy of knowing God, each time I am left better equipped to deal with basic spiritual truths in a practical way.

I hope my list encourages reading the works of these skilled authors. May you grow in grace and knowledge in the upcoming year.

Gradual growth in grace, growth in knowledge, growth in faith, growth in love, growth in holiness, growth in humility, growth in spiritual-mindedness – all this I see clearly taught and urged in Scripture, and clearly exemplified in the lives of many of God’s saints. But sudden, instantaneous leaps from conversion to consecration I fail to see in the Bible. – J.C. Ryle

Reading, Reading List

Like a Box of Chocolates

Following last week’s intro, I am writing to clarify the blog I’ve created: You won’t see a lot of fluff or creativity but if you desire to peer behind the desk of a lifelong learner, you will likely be entertained. A hodgepodge of postings the reader will find excerpts from class notes, insights from Bible reading and study, or studies I’ve put together (requiring scripture reading). To use the analogy of Forrest Gump, My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.

There will be no particular routine to the posts so your best way to catch them will be the email subscription. New posts will appear on Facebook and will be shareable. For time’s sake, I’m keeping things simple and I ask that you give a little grace with editing. If you missed the intro, you can find it here:

If you’re curious about what’s on my desk today, I’m filing away class notes from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. (Another class is finished and the next is not yet released.) I’ve also been compiling my summer reading and reference list. I am cautious and careful in my reading choices, many of which spill over into ministry.  Some titles I will voraciously read from cover to cover; others I will skim. In no particular order, these are my choices: 

God’s Word, Our Story – Learning From the Book of Nehemiah by D.A. Carson and Kathleen B. Nielson

Lifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life by Sam Allberry

Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End by David Gibson 

Maturity: Growing Up and Going On in the Christian Life by Sinclair Ferguson

Knowing Christianity by J.I. Packer

Believing God – 12 Biblical Promises Christians Struggle to Accept by R.C. Sproul, Jr.

Knowing and Growing in Assurance of Faith by Joel Beeke

The Religious Life of Theological Students by Benjamin B. Warfield

Father, Son and Spirit: The Trinity and John’s Gospel by Andreas Kostenberger and Scott Swain

The Deep Things of God – How the Trinity Changes Everything by Fred Sanders

None Greater – The Undomesticated Attributes of God by Matthew Barrett

Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue by Andreas Kostenberger

Godly Jealousy: A Theology of Intolerant Love by Erik Thoennes

All That is in God by James E. Dolezal

Rejoicing in Christ by Michael Reeves

God the Son Incarnate – The Doctrine of Christ by Stephen J. Wellum

The Sanctity of Moral Law by John Murray

Principles of Biblical Interpretation by Louis Berkhof

God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment: A Biblical Theology by James Hamilton

The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls – Justification in Biblical, Theological, Historical, and Pastoral Perspective by Matthew Barrett

Delighting in the Law of the Lord by Jerram Barrs

A Visual Theology Guide to the Bible by Tim Challies and Josh Byers

Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul

How to Read the Bible for All its Worth by Gordon Fee