The Books I Read in 2016

A Christian's Pocket Guide to Loving The Old Testament: One Book, One God, One Story

A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Loving the Old Testament by Alec Motyer

As a pastor and expositor, I lament how little the Old Testament (OT) is preached in so many evangelical churches today. That explains why so many professing Christians today have so little understanding about the OT, how the New Testament (NT) is connected to the Old, how the gospel does not start with Jesus in the NT but in the Old, and most of all, how so many fail to see Jesus or make Christological connections in the OT.

This 130-page pocket sized book provides solutions to some of those issues. It is a fairly easy reading with short chapters. Definitely recommend this book.

Christians Get Depressed Too by David Murray

In his preface, the author writes, “If it is true that Christians don’t get depressed, it must mean either that the Christian suffering from depression is not truly depressed, or he is not a true Christian. But if this notion is false, what extra and unnecessary pain and guilt are heaped upon an already darkened mind and broken heart!”

The 112-page pocket sized is not an academic writing as the author admits (though the author is a seminary professor and pastor). Rather, the book is immensely pastoral and practical. The author interacts with some of the conservative counseling movements (e.g. CCEF) and other notable writers, offering both positive and negative critiques. As already implied, this is an easy reading and a very helpful resource.

New Life in the Wasteland: 2 Corinthians on the Cost and Glory of Christian Ministry by Douglas F. Kelly

Christian ministers need to be reminded time to time what Christian ministry is all about. To help with that, I would recommend this book. This is not a typical Bible commentary (technical, exegetical, or scholarly). But it is a helpful one with much warm and devotional tone as the author helps the reader to consider the cost and glory of Christian ministry.

A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good by Miroslav Volf

This book offers several implications and applications to Ephesians 2:10. It is an important work though caution and discernment should be given. (But again that should apply to all reading.)

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The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, and Documented by David N. Steele, Curtis C. Thomas, and S. Lance Quinn

Perhaps one of the better books for someone who is new or interested in the subject. It is always refreshing to read it again. I often assigned this as a require reading for Sunday School.

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The Five Points of Calvinism by Herman Hanko and David J. Engelsma

The book is very polemic, especially, critical of the doctrine of common grace and other Reformed denominations. Other than that, it is a good read.

TULIP: The Five Points of Calvinism in the Light of Scripture by Duane Edward Spencer

A much shorter reading than Steele, Thomas, and Quinn’s The Five Points of Calvinism, but helpful nonetheless.

The Five Points of Calvinism: A Study Guide by Edwin H. Palmer

Besides Steele, Thomas and Quinn’s work, this work by Palmer would be my next recommendation on the subject.

The Deacons Handbook: A Manual of Stewardship by Gerard Berghoef and Lester De Koster

I recommend this book for three reasons: 1) books on the ministry of diaconate rarely focuses on stewardship as this one does, 2) helps to see the ministry as a means of evangelistic and outreach ministries, 3) offers myriads of practical implications, and 4) it is written in the Reformed tradition.

Deuteronomy (Tyndale Commentaries)

Deuteronomy by Edward J. Woods

Like many of books in the TOTC series (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), this one will not (overly) burden the readers with many technical terms and academic language, and cause to be bogged down by many details. It is concise and readable.

Deuteronomy (NICOT)

The Book of Deuteronomy by Peter C. Craigie

Although it is one of the older technical commentaries on the last book of the Pentateuch (1976), it is considered one of the bests.

Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological Introduction by Jonathan T. Pennington

I wish this book was available when I was preaching Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John many years ago. It is possible that one can preach the Gospels but not preach the gospel.

This book is perhaps one of the best books on how to read, interpret, and preach and teach on the Gospels. For a detailed review, you can read Dane Ortlund’s.

 

Every Square Inch: An Introduction to Cultural Engagement for Christians by Bruce Riley Ashford

Written by a theology prof for laymen in regards to Kuyperian Christian life. If you need clarity on Christians engaging the culture via work, entertainment, education, or what have you, this book is a good start.

Confessing the Faith: A Reader's Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith

Confessing the Faith: A reader’s guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith by Chad Van Dixhoorn

This is perhaps the best commentary on the WCF. I already gave a brief comment on this book back in 2014 when it came out. If interested, you can click here.

Harmony of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms by Morton H. Smith

“The Westminster Standards are unsurpassed among confessional statements in precision and comprehensiveness and few would deny that they deserve close reading and careful study.” Yet many Christians today have little or no exposure to the Standards. Hence, to combat against such shame, this work offers helpful guide by dissecting each section, chapter, question, and points.

Church Dogmatics, Volume 1 by Karl Barth

This massive volume (500 pages in the first volume alone) tackles the subject “The Doctrine of the Word of God,” which contains the prolegomena, the criterion of dogmatics, and the doctrine of trinity in relation to the revelation of God. Since this particular volume is highly technical and academic, it is not recommended for average laymen or beginners of theology.