One of the great benefits of writing regular book reviews is that publishers send me a good number of books to review. I have a number of publishers who send me books and I enjoy the majority of the books I’m sent. But if I reviewed every single book individually then I’d never review all the books I’m send, which kind of defeats the purpose. So every once in a while I like to do a longer list of some of the books I’ve read recently. Not all of these books were sent to me for the purpose of a review, but most of them were. I hope you enjoy this post and if you want to know more about one specific books, get in touch and I’d love to chat with you 🙂
Sketches of Faith by John Woodbridge
I love Church history, yes I know, I’m a geek! This book is seriously good! You’ll find the stories of 33 people from Church history. You’ll hear stories of what the Lord did in their lives and what the Lord did through them. You’ll be informed about their time in history and the impact that their lives and ministry had on the world around them. This is not just a book that you read to pass time, as you read this book you’ll be lead to praise God for how He worked through these mighty saints of old. I highly recommend you go and buy this great book!
Meditations On Preaching by Francis Grimke
This book is an absolute gem! It is an arraignments of Grimke’s thoughts on preaching after 40 years of ministry. This man did not have an easy life, he faced struggles and hatred, but his reflections show that he had a deep love for the Lord. The lay out of this book is great, arranged in short snippets and quote style you can pick up and read a few and reflect on them or read the whole lot. I was sent this book by a friend and I couldn’t put it down. If you’re involved in the ministry of preaching, I highly recommend that you buy this little book and be blown away by the privilege it is to communicate the Word of God.
Get Preaching: Growing as a Preacher by Jonathan Gemmell
I was so excited to receive this surprise book in the post. Preaching is a wonderful privilege, but it is also a task that you never master. Seminary can give you the theology of preaching, practice can give you the experience of preaching and feedback can keep you sharp. A preacher should be constantly growing. In this short, but very important and helpful book, Gemmell draws you into a conversation about how exactly you can grow as a preacher. Each chapter is full of great and practical advice and tips on how to improve as a preacher and grow in your job of communicating God’s Word faithfully. Gemmell’s book is full of some great wee one liners that I’ll be posting on my social media pages. If you’re a preacher this book will be a great tool to have on your book shelf. You can buy the whole series on sale right now from 10ofThose for just £14.95. Here is my review of the first three books from last year in the same series.
Get Preaching: Application by Gwilym Davies
This little book is part of the Get Preaching series, however it is slightly different from the rest. I found this one to be a bit ‘teachy’ and more formal than the rest of the series. The main message of the book is that preachers need to listen to the Bible for how it would apply a specific passage. The book is helpful because it shows the importance of letting God’s Word do the talking. However, I don’t think that it helpfully brings to the surface what application is and how exactly one can grow in applying the Bible.
Sound boring? Well, you’re dead wrong! Over the last few weeks and months I’ve been diving into the differences between dispensational and covenantal theology. I currently serve in a church with a good number of dispensationalists which I would hold to covenant theology. Therefore, for a long time I’ve been looking for a good and fair explanation of the two understandings and here it is! This is such a helpful book to understand the differences between dispensationalism, covenant theology and subdivisions within those two broad groups. Merkle’s writing is easy to understand and he does a good job of condensing complex issues and topics into understandable terms. If you want to dive into dispensational and covenantal theology, this is a great book to go to!
Do More Better by Tim Challies
I am a busy guy, I always seem to have multiple plates spinning at once and I’ve been wanting to read this book on productivity for a long time. Ironically, I was too busy to read it! This is a very short read that has some helpful tips on tools that you can use to make your life more productive and decluttered. But the focus of productivity is not simply doing more stuff, rather it’s doing stuff well for God’s glory. I’ve followed Challies (a.k.a. the Godfather of blogging) for a long time now, so I’ve read a lot of his posts on this topic. Therefore, I didn’t necessarily learn anything new, but still found it helpful.
The Cross in Four Words by DeYoung, Coekin & Christos-Wahab
In this short book the authors unpack four words about the cross of Christ; Freedom, Forgiveness, Justice and Purpose. This book was originally given as a set of talks at a conference in London. There is a knack to writing good books that were originally sermons. I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, there is no problem with the content, but you can tell by reading it that it was originally a set of sermons.
The Ten Commandments by Peter Leithart
I loved this book! General rule of reading; if Kevin Vanhoozer calls a book a gem, you have to buy it and read it! In this short, but deep book, Leithart does a study of the Ten Commandments (or Ten Words) and helps the reader see their significance today. I’ve studied the Ten Commandments before but this book brought the perfect balance of depth and simplicity. I learned so much and would encourage you to read it and learn too.
Breathtaking Glory by Tom Robson
I’ve been saying for years that Christians need to realise the magnitude of God’s glory and only then will we worship Him accordingly. This book is a great resource to help you appreciate the glory of God. This very short book helps you see the beauty of God’s glory from the beginning of the biblical story until the end, the future that still awaits us. There are so many great quotes in this short book that I’d love to share with you but we don’t have all day. This book will lift your eyes to see God’s glory and cause you to praise Him all the more!
Compel Them to Come In by Donald MacLeod
I loved this book! Over my years of Bible College and Seminary my convictions have changed quite a bit as I’ve studied Scripture. But one questions nagged me at the beginning of college… “How can a calvinist call people to trust in Jesus?” Like many, I was under the impression that calvinism, the sovereignty of God and election meant that a preacher couldn’t hold those convictions whilst also preaching the gospel and calling people to repent and believe. Donald MacLeod has written this great book explaining how that simply is not true! My copy of this book has so many underlinings and dog-eared pages and if I’m willing to do that to a book, it means it’s a good one!
Engaging with Islam by Ian McNaughton
Do Christians and Muslims worship the same god? No, we don’t. This book is a short introduction as to why the answer to that questions must be no. This book summarises some of the key theological concepts of Christianity and shows how they are incompatible with Islam. I don’t think that the book massively engaged with Islam apart from showing how Islam doesn’t agree with many Christian doctrines. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it was a good introduction to the topic. It would be worth a read if you’ve not read much on the differences between Islam and Christianity before.
Writing for Life and Ministry by Brandon O’Brien
I see this blog as both a hobby and as an extension of my ministry, I was to equip Christians to know of good resources and to encourage you as you live the Christian life. Because I write approximately 2,000 words a week for this blog, I’ve read a good few books on writing and specifically on christian writing.
This book is different from most. Most books talk about the importance of expressing yourself properly or on the topic of publications. The majority of books on the topic of writing are written with the aim of publishing a book in mind. This book, however, helps you think through the process of writing as a craft. Like every other skill, craft and hobby, it requires work and dedication. In this short, but helpful book, O’Brien helps you think through the processes of writing. This book does have a focus on writing, but necessarily just on books, the principles in it are applicable to Bible studies, sermons, blog posts and books. If you do any form of writing as a ministry, I recommend that you buy and read this book.