I know, it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. I apologise.
I enjoy reading. I also enjoy writing book reviews for you folks to read. I do this to highlight helpful books that you could be reading and so that you can hopefully know if a book is worth your time or not. Not everyone has the time, nor desire, to read that many books. Here are a few of the books I’ve read recently that I thought I’d share with you 🙂
Rejoice and Tremble by Michael Reeves
This is the first book in a new series which brings Union School of Theology and Crossway together. The series looks promising because it has expanded and more in-depth books (such as this one) and also shorter, more accessible books on the same topic (the accessible volume for this book is ‘What Does It Mean to Fear the Lord?‘ which I haven’t read yet).
Rejoice and tremble does what it says on the tin, it is a book that studies what it means to fear the Lord. Fear isn’t an emotion that is normally viewed positively today, so it’s natural that Christians might be a bit unsure exactly what fearing the Lord means and looks like. Reeves does a helpful job at unpacking different kinds of fear (natural fear and sinful fear), but more than that he unpacks that there can be both a good fear of the Lord and a bad fear of the Lord.
Reeves takes you to some of the well-known passages in Scripture and unpacks some of the biblical languages to help you wrestle with what it means to fear God. This book will challenge the way you think about how you preach, how you speak and how you understand passages of the Bible. Reeves is a great writer and I’ve enjoyed reading some of his books over the years. Check out his books here and enjoy them! As with all of Reeves writing there are some great quotes in here from himself, but also tons of quotes from historical figures that will keep you thinking.
I picked this book up with enthusiasm because it was Reeves who wrote it. Whilst I think this book is okay and it certainly can be helpful, I don’t think it’s great. It might be the new ‘Gentle and Lowly’ of 2021. The book was a bit unnecessarily technical at points, maybe I should have gone with the simpler version. I do think that people will love this book and continue to rave about it throughout 2021. If you’ve read this book I would love to hear your thoughts on it.
Last Words by Robert Nash
You can tell a lot about a person based on what they say and when they say it. Nash has done a great job at helpful the reader focus on the last seven statements of Christ on the cross. These words teach us about who Jesus is and what he came to do. This short book will have you studying Jesus’ final words in Matthew, Luke and John. Each statement unveiling more and more of the majesty of Christ.
This short book would act as a great devotional aid as you prepare for Easter. Each chapter is full of great insights into the person and work of Jesus. At the end of each chapter there are some really challenging and soul-searching questions that instils the material you’ve just poured over in the previous pages. It’s too easy for Christians to become numb to the cross, we’ve heard it preached tons of times. But we need to hear the message every single day. This book does a good job of coming to the cross from a slightly different angle and helping the reader look at the cross afresh.
I’ve not read any of Nash’s work before, but if this is how his writing continues, he’s definitely a guy to follow. This book is short, but packed with the right amount of challenge, information, application and theological depth. I recommend you grab a copy and read it in the run up to Easter.
Luke 1-13 & Luke 14-24 by Dale Ralph Davis
Dale Ralph Davis is a name that you will know if you’ve done a fair bit of preaching. The man is basically a printing and preaching machine. There are plenty of great books and commentaries of his that have helped countless preachers and Christians over the years. His commentaries are usually loved because they walk that fine line between technical and devotional. Davis has given us two new commentaries to read.
Davis normally stays within the Old Testament (at least in his written work) so it was nice to read some of his stuff on the New Testament. Both of these books are good, they are both under 250 pages and each of the chapters is quite short. Whilst these books are being marketed as commentaries, they would be great aids for a your devotional life too. Each chapter has enough theological depth and exegesis to understand the text and apply it, whilst also having illustrations that are peppered throughout to keep you engaged.
As with every book, and especially with every commentary, there will inevitably be bits where I don’t completely agree with the author. There will also be bits where I would have loved to have read more. There were sections in each book where I would have loved to have asked a question or two or just read a little bit longer. However, the nature of publishing is that a book needs to end at some point. I highly recommend that you look at some of the books Dale Ralph Davis has written. Learn from this godly man who serves his Lord well.