Recommended Reading

Here are a few books that have helped some of us on our journeys. We hope they’ll help you on yours!

 

Devotional

Desiring God, by John Piper

Not only is John Piper one of the most passionate preachers living  today, but he is also profoundly well-read and biblically informed. Perhaps his most popular book, Desiring God, presents a view of God that truly has the power to revolutionize any believer’s walk with Christ. Piper argues that joy is an essential, non-negotiable part of the healthy Christian life, and that the primary purpose of our existence is that we find our happiness in God above all other things. The book’s ten chapters cover “The Happiness of God,” conversion, worship, love, Scripture, prayer, money, marriage, missions, and suffering.

A group of us are currently going through Desiring God together on Saturday mornings. If you would like to join us, please contact Pastor Doug at doug@newbeginningsbc.org.

For a free digital copy of the entire book, courtesy of Piper’s website, desiringgod.orgclick here. To purchase from Amazon, click here.

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 Reasons to Believe

Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis

This book by the famous Oxford scholar, C. S. Lewis, most known for his series, “The Chronicles of Narnia,” is truly a Christian classic, and for good reason. Originally adapted from a series of radio talks on BBC radio between 1942 and 1944, Mere Christianity has a dual purpose: First it presents a compelling case for Christianity in which Lewis covers his journey from atheism to faith in Christ, which was driven mainly by the outworking of the spiritual implications of our moral values. He then works through the reasoning that led him to Christianity, over above other religious faiths. His second purpose in writing is to give general guidelines as to how Christians should live in today’s culture, touching key virtues, as well as topics such as sex, marriage, and forgiveness. Lewis is rigorously logical and winsome in his approach, and we would all do well to learn from both his arguments and his style.

To purchase from Amazon, click here.

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Reasonable Faith: Christian Faith and Apologetics, by William Lane Craig

Anyone who has been interested in the forefront of the dialogue between Christianity and unbelief in the last twenty years or so knows the name William Lane Craig. He is probably the most able defender of the Christian faith today, and for good reason. His debates with individuals such as Bart Ehrman, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Shelby Spong, Peter Atkins, Lawrence Krauss, and Richard Carrier–to name just a few–are legendary examples of why Christianity should be regarded as the most compelling worldview. Reasonable Faith is a thorough presentation of some of the primary arguments in favor of the Christian faith. This is a detailed work that interacts heavily with science and philosophy, and is recommended for anyone who wants to be better articulate the reasons to believe and is up for a challenge. And if this isn’t enough and you really want to go deeper, check out The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, edited by Craig and J. P. Moreland.

To purchase directly from Craig’s website, click here.

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On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision, by William Lane Craig

If you are interested in providing good, rational arguments in favor of your Christian beliefs, but are intimidated by the depth of Reasonable Faith, then On Guard is for you. This book is basically a manual on how to defend your faith. It covers Craig’s four central arguments for God’s existence (cosmological, fine-tuning, moral, and experiential), the historical evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, the problem of suffering, and relativism. You will be amazed at how good and confident you can become at sharing your faith with others after learning the material in this book.

To purchase from Craig’s website, click here.

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 Leadership

Church Planter: The Man, the Message, the Mission, by Darrin Patrick

Darrin Patrick is a prominent voice in modern day church planting. Church Planter is a book that should certainly be read for anyone seeking to plant a new church, but it also contains valuable information for anyone who believes they are called to lead God’s people. According to Patrick, the characteristics of a leader are that he is rescued, called, qualified, dependent, skilled, shepherding, and determined. The message that we live (and die) for is historical, salvation-accomplishing, Christ-centered, sin-exposing, and idol-chattering. The mission is centered around compassion, accomplished in the church, and must be sensitive to context. Highly recommended for leaders or those considering leadership.

To purchase from Amazon, click here.

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Learning About God

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, by Wayne Grudem

This is a really good resource for every Christian home, and is a standard textbook in almost any good Bible education. Grudem thoroughly explores all the main points of Christian belief and biblical teaching. Topics covered include the Word of God, God, man, Christ, the Holy Spirit, redemption, the church, and the future. Ever have questions about these? We all do! And Grudem’s Systematic Theology is a great and trustworthy place to look for answers. As with any human source, Grudem is not infallible, but his doctrine is sound and his biblical reasoning is thorough. There are handy appendices as well containing historic confessions of faith, Scripture memory verses, contemporary worship songs, and some other useful stuff. As a bonus, each chapter is wrapped up with a hymn that applies to the doctrines he discusses.

To purchase from Amazon, click here.

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 Bible Study

New Bible Commentary, Gordon J. Wenham, J. Alec Motyer, Donald A. Carson, R. T. France, eds.

How do you work through the meaning of the books of the Bible? Taking into account context, word meaning, grammar, backgrounds—all of these things are absolutely essential. But there comes a point at which it is also very helpful to consult experts, and that’s where commentaries come in. The most thorough way to have access to quality commentaries is to begin to purchase the best ones, book by book. But this is expensive, and most people are not able to shell out hundreds and hundreds of dollars on books that they’ll only use for reference. For laypeople, a good one-volume biblical commentary is what is needed (or at least it is a very good place to start). InterVarsity Press’ New Bible Commentary is probably the best choice. In it you’ll find basic info on every book of the Bible, and most of the significant issues you’re likely to encounter when reading Scripture are discussed. The scholars who have contributed to this volume are top-notch, and things are very easy to find. A good grasp of Scripture is an indispensable tool for any Christian, and your grip will be greatly strengthened by this powerful tool.

To purchase from Amazon, click here.

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An Introduction to the Old Testament, by Tremper Longman III and Raymond B. Dillard.

Believe it or not, “Bible Introduction” is an actual subgenre of biblical literature. Longman and Dillard write that the purpose of such books is “to acquaint the reader with information that is important to know in order to read the books of the Old Testament with understanding” (14). That pretty much sums it up. This is a volume of profound depth and breadth, first covering general issues in reading the Old Testament, and then moving on, discussing historical backgrounds, literary analysis, theological message, and New Testament connections with respect to every single book of the Old Testament. The subject matter is challenging, but Longman and Dillard break it down so that it is understandable. If you pick up this book and use it as an accompaniment to your usual Bible reading, you will learn a ton!

To purchase from Amazon, click here.

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An Introduction to the New Testament, by D. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo

This is the New Testament companion to Longman and Dillard. One of the cool things about the New Testament is that we have so much more detailed knowledge about the origins, dates, and compositions of the various books that comprise it. Have you ever wondered about how we know at what dates the NT Gospels and letters were written? What about where they come from and at what stage in life the authors composed them? Do you need good outlines and discussions of structure and content to help you understand their messages better? Do you want to know why we can trust the claims the New Testament writings make regarding their authorship and their historical backgrounds? If so, this book will help you greatly.

To purchase from Amazon, click here.

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 Marriage and Relationships

Just Say the Word, by Sam Ingrassia

Men, are you the kind of spiritual leader to your wives that you know you should be? If you’re anything like most Christian husbands, the answer is no. Well, what are you going to do about it? God has entrusted to you one of his beloved daughters, and he wants you to lead her passionately in the footsteps of our Savior.

One of the most important things you can do with your wife is pray with her–and not just at meal times or when putting the kids to bed. In Just Say the Word, Sam Ingrassia humbly issues all of us a challenge to pray with our wives on a consistent basis. But more than simply that, he shows us a terrific way to do it: Use the Scriptures to guide your prayers. If you take your God-given responsibility seriously and follow the principles outlined in this book with your wife, your life will be changed, your marriage will be revolutionized, your church will be strengthened, and the world will be blessed.

To purchase from the E3 website, click here.

Here’s a really cool little video promoting this book:

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The Meaning of Marriage, by Timothy and Kathy Keller.

One of the most influential American pastors living today, Tim Keller and his wife Kathy have written this excellent book on marriage, based on years of personal experience, counseling couples, and biblical reflection. One of the things I really like about the Kellers is that they truly have a profound understanding of the heartbeat of contemporary culture. The Meaning of Marriage dispels many of the popular myths that have fed both suspicions against marriage, as well as unhealthy obsessiveness with it. One of the most significant observations in this book is the fact that we never truly marry the “perfect” partner. But that’s okay, because the primary function of marriage is not to bask in the glow of another person who can never meet our unreasonably high expectations, but rather to glorify God, as we help each other change into the person whom he made us to be. And this book is not just for married or engaged couples–it has one of the best treatments of the topic of singleness that I have ever read. So now you have no excuse. Get it. Read it. And prepare to be changed!

To purchase from Amazon, click here.
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Online Resources

The Table Podcast

Hosted by Darrell Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary, the Table Podcast covers a wide variety of topics, featuring helpful interviews with godly, gifted, and experienced people.
 

The Gospel Coalition

The Gospel Coalition is a collective of pastors, scholars, musicians, missionaries, and other Christian leaders committed to providing gospel-centered resources for the church. Their website is an online treasure trove of articles, sermons, seminars, and much more.