The last month has been insane. Ministry has been busy, I’ve had seminary essays and an exam, and I’ve been trying to be a good husband in there too. Life has been quite busy, so I haven’t gotten around to review some of the books that have been on my review shelf for a wee while now. I thought I would give you a mixed bag today. A number of shorter reviews that will hopefully peak your interest and give you an idea of whether a book is worth buying or not. I have really enjoyed diving into some of these and I hope that you’ll find at least one that you’ll go for 🙂
Deep Simplicity by Emily Darnell
Christians are to abide in Christ, that’s both a state (we are in Christ) and an action (we must continue to abide in Christ). This book is a really helpful book of meditations on what exactly that means and what it looks like in the life of a Christian. It’s not a devotional, but you could walk through this book one chapter a week and really be blown away by the immense glory of Christ revealed in Scripture. Not only is this book full of great biblical insights, it’s also really practical. If you’re looking for a book to read in the beginning of the new year that will help focus your mind on Christ and strengthening your relationship with him, I recommend this one. Buy it here.
“If only” you’ve probably heard that a thousand times, you’ve probably said it hundreds of times. We live in a world, in a culture and often with the heart that says “What I currently have is not enough, if only I had….” or “If only I had done…”. This book is written by a normal person, someone who knows the pains and struggles of life and who writes to encourage you in your lack of contentment. Pollock doesn’t offer cheap bits of advise, or ‘the top 10 tips to be content’. She offers sounds biblical advice that points you to the real source of fulfilment and joy. This book will encourage you and help you see the beauty of the gospel and the wonderful riches that are found in God through Christ. Take up and read, be encouraged. Buy it here.
Engaging with Mormons by Corey Miller
Buy this book! It is seriously one of the most helpful books I have read on the topic. Students in Edinburgh, the city where I live, are constantly being met by Mormons and trying to know how to engage meaningfully in conversation with them. This book is the place to go! Miller was a Mormon and comes from a line of Mormons in his family. He unpacks what they believe, helps you understand the vocabulary and guides you in terms of what questions to ask and passages to go to. This book will be a huge help to you if you’re thinking of sharing the gospel with Mormons. Some Christians are concerned about how to engage with Mormons because they’re confused about the similarities and differences. This book will help you understand Mormons more and know how to engage with them well. Buy the book here.
Opening up 1 John by Ian McNaughton
This is a helpful introduction to the book of 1 John. There are six chapters that unpack this little epistle that has some tough things to say. 1 John is a wonderful little book that packs a massive punch. Each chapter end with a good section on further study questions that will help you think through the relevant passage and discussion questions to get you thinking. I think the content of the book is good, but I struggled with the layout a bit; I’m not a huge fan of quote boxes or different font sizes at the beginning of chapters. Those aren’t crucial things and shouldn’t stop you buying the book. But I couldn’t not mention them 🙂 Buy the book here.
Opening up Song of Solomon by Jim Winter
Too many modern commentaries on Song of Solomon run away from the romantic and sexual imagery in the book and are ashamed. But the other danger is that some swing in the other direction and only speak of the Song of Solomon in terms of Christ and the church. I’m not a huge fan of either. We need to be faithful to the Bible and it’s original context, whilst also trying to understand the big picture of the Bible. This book is good, but I fear that it leans more on the side of interpreting Song of Solomon through the sense of Christ and the church too much. This is more of a devotional commentary, but I think it misses the mark a bit. I would love to hear others thoughts if they have read it too 🙂
Buy it here.
Scripture Through the Lives of Luther, Calvin, and Knox: Living & Active, Vol. 1
by Stephen R. Morefield
It’s not that often that I am given an audiobook to review, but I do enjoy a good audiobook. I’ll be honest, when I realised how small the book was and the amount of content it was hoping to cover I worried. Too many shorter books on historical figures are merely hagiographical, they praise the person beyond reality. Luther, Calvin and Knox were not perfect, by any stretch of the word, they all did things wrong. The thing I like about this book is that it highlights the great things each person did, whilst also highlighting their failings. Ultimately the book is not about them, but the God that they served. Each chapter touches on their writings and their view of God and how that shout impact us today. I recommend this book to you.
Coping With Criticism by Mostyn Roberts
Have you ever read a book and just said ‘Yep, this person gets it!” This book is written for pastors and church leaders who feel the sting of criticism on an almost daily basis. This book was a huge encouragement to me. Roberts unpacks the criticism that Jesus and Paul faced and encouraged pastors throughout. If you’re feeling low and beaten-up, buy this little book and be uplifted.
Home for Christmas by Phil More and Roger Carswell
This is a wonderful resource for the church, sadly 10ofThose has sold out at the moment. But there is always next year. Phil Moore and 10ofThose partnered up to make this CD that is basically a play-at-home carol service. Each CD has carols that are produced professionally and mixed in with evangelistic talks from Roger Carswell. IF you’re looking for a gift to a care home, or a family member or friend who can’t get out to church, buy this. I honestly can’t recommend it enough! On top of that there is a great little tract to go with it.