Here’s a behind-the-scenes glance at what I’ve been reading this year. I’ve added a brief book description from Amazon to give you a taste of what each book is about. Perhaps one of these books will garner your attention and compel you to add it to your cart! But let me mention a few things before you start scrolling:
- Just because I read a book doesn’t mean I agree with everything in it
- I’ve found all of these books helpful
- I’ve found some of these books more helpful than others
- These books are listed in the order I read them
Embracing Complementarianism: Turning Biblical Convictions into Positive Church Culture by Graham Beyond and Jane Tooher
“It can be tempting to shy away from addressing the issue of gender roles in church because it’s often controversial. But this can result in churches either being increasingly influenced by secular culture or simply sticking with the status quo when it comes to what men and women do in church.
Building on the belief that complementarianism is both biblical and positive, this book focuses on what these convictions look like in practice. Moving beyond the familiar discussions around “gender roles”, and leaving room for variety in how readers implement these ideas, it will encourage a church culture where men and women truly partner together—embracing their privileges and responsibilities, and maximizing their gifts, in joyful service of God’s kingdom.”
Pure: Why the Bible’s Plan for Sexuality Isn’t Outdated, Irrelevant, or Oppressive by Dean Inserra
“Few things bring more immediate scrutiny and impassioned angst among young adult Christians today than hearing the words “purity culture.” Serious flaws from purity culture deserve to be scrutinized, especially given its lasting negative effects on some raised in the movement. Many Christians today reject the movement—and all that it stood for—wholesale. However, we can’t ignore the clear sexual ethics of the Bible. Pure dives into the big picture of God’s design for men and women regarding sexuality, and seeks to reclaim one of the clearest teaching in the scriptures: the call to sexual purity. While purity culture gets the truth right, the approach and gospel elements it espouses are often wrong. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water, but rather celebrate God’s great design for marriage and the loving boundaries he has put in place for our joy, protection, and flourishing.”
Chasing Contentment: Trusting God in a Discontented Age by Erik Raymond
The biblical practice of contentment can seem like a lost art―something reserved for spiritual giants but out of reach for the rest of us. In our discontented age―characterized by impatience, overspending, grumbling, and unhappiness―it’s hard to imagine what true contentment actually looks (and feels) like. But even the apostle Paul said that he learned to be content in any and every circumstance. Paul’s remarkable contentment was something grown and developed over time.
In Chasing Contentment, Erik Raymond helps us understand what biblical contentment is―the inward gracious spirit that joyfully rests in God’s providence―and then how we learn it. Giving us practical guidance for growing in contentment in various areas of our lives, this book will encourage us to see contentment as a priority for all believers. By God’s grace, it is possible to pursue the high calling of contentment and anchor our joy in God himself rather than our changing circumstances.
Grace at Work: Redeeming the Grind and the Glory of Your Job by Bryan Chapell
“For many people, their job is merely “the daily grind” needed to provide for family or pay the bills. Yet our work is a vital means for fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives and displaying his grace to those around us. We bear God’s image in our workplaces, experiencing his blessings and expressing his nature through our efforts, integrity, creativity, generosity, and excellence. No earthly chore is without the opportunity to observe his divine hand. No challenge in task or relationship is without opportunity to represent God’s heart.
In this book, author and pastor Bryan Chapell shares this biblical perspective of vocation, explaining how God gives purpose to our work by making it an instrument of his grace to our own hearts, as well as a way of bringing his goodness and glory into our world. Chapell explains how we can worship God by our work, rising above drudgery, duty, or self-interest with the understanding that our jobs are unique callings for displaying God’s character and care. Our work is worship when we see the glory beyond the grind, the mission in the mundane, and the grace at work.”
Authentic Ministry: Serving from the Heart by Michael Reeves
“Where does authentic ministry lie? The answer of this book is: in the heart. Authentic ministry is not simply a matter of mastering professional skills or of endlessly pouring oneself out in works of service. Rather, it springs from joyful union with Christ.
Authentic Ministry offers practical guidance and spiritual nourishment for all who serve the church. Each of the nine chapters orients readers to the “one thing [that] is necessary” (cf. Luke 10:42)—abiding in Christ—while asking and answering questions both simple and profound: What is prayer? How should I respond to suffering? Who is my friend? What is theology? What does it mean to love?”
Lloyd-Jones on the Christian Life: Doctrine and Life as Fuel and Fire by Jason Meyer
“Martyn Lloyd-Jones, commonly referred to as “the Doctor,” had a successful career in medicine before abandoning it all to become a preacher in London. His sermons―displaying the life-changing power of biblical truth―diagnosed the spiritual condition of his congregation and prescribed the gospel remedy.
This study of Lloyd-Jones’s life will encourage and exhort readers to consider the role of the knowledge of God, the power of the Spirit, and the fullness of Christ in their daily lives, allowing them to discover the inseparable union of doctrine and the Christian life.”
Perspectives on Pentecost: New Testament Teaching on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit by Richard Gaffin
“With exegetical depth, objectivity, and clarity Richard B. Gaffin examines prophecy and tongues and makes a case for the cessation of both gifts at the close of the apostolic era.
Pentecost is presented as integral to the once-for-all work of Christ and decisive for the life of the whole church. Dr. Gaffin’s biblical-theological perspective is thorough: he defines all the spiritual gifts generally; he clarifies the nature of prophecy and tongues and the question of their continuance in the church today; and he indicates how these exegetical studies bear on contemporary interest in charismatic gifts.
Perspectives on Pentacost dispels the emotionalism and confusion now surrounding the Charismatic Movement. It is a reliable study for all Bible students and an especially helpful handbook for those either associated with the Charismatic Movement or who must deal with friends or family members involved in tongues-speaking experiences.”
How to Speak a Sermon: So That People Will Listen by Larry Trotter
“A powerful sermon must have not only clearly organized biblical content but also engaging delivery. How to Speak a Sermon is about sermon delivery, particularly extemporaneous sermon delivery. Combining biblical principles with the best insights of the ages and personal experiences, it explains the power and pitfalls of extemporaneous speech, how to develop speaking ability, and why preaching method matters.”
The Titus Ten: foundations for Godly Manhood by Josh Smith
“Everything in a man’s life hinges on the kind of man he is. Yet, none of us is naturally a godly man. That’s something we have to learn, pursue, and cultivate. We need a manual to help us. This book is a manual for becoming the kind of man God intends for you to be, and leading other men to do the same. Taking ten qualities from the Apostle Paul’s short letter to his mentee Titus, The Titus Ten will help you grow in your understanding of the gospel, your identity, your character, your doctrine, and more. Each chapter includes questions for reflection and discussion, to both process the way the Lord is growing you, and read in a group with other men. As you grow in these areas of your life, you’ll become the kind of man God desires to use in your family, your church, and the world.”
Gender Ideology: What Do Christians Need to Know? By Sharon James
“The world has embraced the idea that gender is something that can be decided by individuals. As Christians encounter colleagues, friends and family members who identify as a gender other than the one they were born, we need to be informed and equipped with knowledge about what the issues are, what different terms mean and what the Bible has to say about these things. While we walk the line between loving our neighbour and not buying into the world’s lies, Sharon James helps us in this informative and practical guide.”
Spurgeon and the Poor: How the Gospel Compels Christians Social Concern by Alex Diprima
“Spurgeon and the Poor is a fascinating study into the life and ministry of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, exploring his understanding of the place of benevolence in the ministry of the local church. Alex DiPrima examines the way Spurgeon’s belief that gospel preaching and soul-winning formed the church’s mission informed his view of social concern as a compelling argument for its power. Readers will gain insight into Spurgeon’s theology and experience as he ministered to the oppressed through ministries, private philanthropy, and public advocacy.”
The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in its Proper Place by Andy Crouch
“Making conscientious choices about technology in our families is more than just using internet filters and determining screen time limits for our children. It’s about developing wisdom, character, and courage in the way we use digital media rather than accepting technology’s promises of ease, instant gratification, and the world’s knowledge at our fingertips. And it’s definitely not just about the kids.
Drawing on in-depth original research from the Barna Group, Andy Crouch shows readers that the choices we make about technology have consequences we may never have considered. He takes readers beyond the typical questions of what, where, and when and instead challenges them to answer provocative questions like, Who do we want to be as a family? and How does our use of a particular technology move us closer or farther away from that goal? Anyone who has felt their family relationships suffer or their time slip away amid technology’s distractions will find in this book a path forward to reclaiming their real life in a world of devices.”
Commentaries on Ephesians
I appreciate when other pastors and teachers recommend commentaries, so here are the commentaries I’ve been using as I walk through the book of Ephesians with our student ministry at First Baptist Church Longville.
Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary by Harold W. Hoehner
“Harold Hoehner has taught biblical exegesis to thousands of students over the years. He now brings that experience to bear on this important work.
He begins with a helpful introduction to the letter of Ephesians in which he addresses issues of authorship, structure and genre, historical setting, purpose, and theology. At the end of the introduction, the author includes a detailed bibliography for further reading. Hoehner then delves into the text of Ephesians verse by verse, offering the Greek text, English translation, and detailed commentary. He interacts extensively with the latest scholarship and provides a fair and thorough discussion of every disputed point in the book.
Pastors, students, and scholars looking for a comprehensive treatment on Ephesians will be interested in this commentary. Hoehner’s interaction with the latest scholarship combined with his detailed exegesis will make this new commentary the only resource they will need to consult.”
The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians by F.F. Bruce
“‘. . . undertaken to provide earnest students of the New Testament with an exposition that is thorough and abreast of modern scholarship and at the same time loyal to the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God.’ This statement reflects the underlying purpose of The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Begun in the late 1940s by an international team of New Testament scholars, the NICNT series has become recognized by pastors, students, and scholars alike as a critical yet orthodox commentary marked by solid biblical scholarship within the evangelical Protestant tradition.
While based on a thorough study of the Greek text, the commentary introductions and expositions contain a minimum of Greek references. The NICNT authors evaluate significant textual problems and take into account the most important exegetical literature. More technical aspects — such as grammatical, textual, and historical problems — are dealt with in footnotes, special notes, and appendixes.”
The Message of Ephesians by John Stott
“A common blind spot for evangelical Christians is to overlook the central importance of the church, emphasizing individual salvation more than the saved community. Yet no one can come away from a careful reading of Ephesians with a privatized gospel. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians clearly sets forth God’s eternal purpose to create the church―God’s new society.
In this revised Bible Speaks Today volume, John Stott expounds Paul’s theme of uniting all things in Christ by uniting his church. Guiding readers passage by passage through Ephesians, he provides helpful background, highlights key themes, and offers applications for Christians today. Drawing from his many years of studying and teaching Ephesians, Stott lays out the book’s compelling vision of what the church should be and its ongoing need for renewal. Christians are called to new life, new standards, and new relationships within the new society, where God breaks down all the barriers that have divided us from God and each other.”
Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians by John Calvin
“Calvin’s Commentaries are, in the words of Philip Schaff, one of the few exegetical works that have outlived their generation. Calvin preached and wrote prolifically on the Bible. His commentaries display a rare combination of exegetical insight, pastoral concern, and theological depth which have inspired generations of Christians.”