I had a great surprise in the mail the other day when I opened a package addressed to me to find F.F. Bruce’s book Paul Apostle of the Heart Set Free. It seems Ruth got the bright idea of ordering it after listening to me go on about how much I missed owning this great Christian classic. As a young Christian I had bought a copy of it and devoured it, reading it cover to cover. At the time I didn’t understand nearly everything that I was reading but I grasped enough to become a Bible believing Christian.
Reading through the book once again is a joy. Bruce is a wonderful commentator and his straightforward presentation of the life and work and theology of Paul melts into the heart. But reading Bruce has me thinking about other books that I owned, read and have either lost, given away or misplaced over the years that had impacts on my life.
While digging around looking for a commentary this morning on 2nd Timothy I stumbled upon John Stott’s Guard the Gospel. I loved that book so much that I actually filled an entire notebook with material. I now have it down as a book I plan to reread this spring.
An author that impacted me greatly was George Eldon Ladd. His book, A Theology of the New Testament, was monumental in my development as a Christian. It was here that I was first introduced to the idea of the Kingdom of God and what it meant for Christians. It was also here that I learned about the importance of Jesus our Great High Priest in the book of Hebrews.
Later I read The Blessed Hope and the groundbreaking The Gospel of the Kingdom, both by Ladd. Ruth recently bought me a used copy of this book and I quickly found myself underlining something on almost every page. I don’t think there is a better book in the world on the Kingdom of God than Ladd’s.
One of my favorite authors is John Stott and I’ve read many of his commentaries including the above-mentioned Guard the Gospel, but he wrote many other wonderful, interesting and informative books as well. What Christ thinks of the Church and Basic Christianity both had amazing impacts on my faith and how and why I believed. These two short little books are worth the time and effort to read even though they are both now over fifty years old.
Another book that is still in print and amazingly helpful is F.F. Bruce’s The New Testament Documents Are They Reliable. Though this book only has ninety-eight pages it is jam packed full of wonderful information that every Christian should know about the evidence for the Bible, which we hold to be true.
Another Apologetics book that I still own is Habermas and Licona’s The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. Though I have managed to read N.T. Wright’s massive work, (738 pages) I wouldn’t part with Habermas’ book. It is much shorter at 218 pages before endnotes and Index’s.
I’ve always believed in the resurrection. I read Who Moved the Stone many years ago, but reading The Case for the Resurrection really brought everything home for me. There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus lived, died and was resurrected. It is not just something I believe as a Christian, it is now something I know deep in my heart and this book helped play a huge part in that happening.
In the era I grew up in, Intervarsity books were everywhere and helpful in helping me in spiritual growth. The Universe Next Door, by James Sire and Out of the Salt Shaker, by Rebecca Pippert are both books that I will have to reorder and reread someday as they both impacted my thinking about witnessing and ministry.
However, Paul Little’s book How to Give Away Your Faith had the greatest impact. Though his book Know Why You Believe is probably better known and a wealth of information, for me How to Give Away Your Faith consolidated many ideas, visions, and dreams that I had about ministry, church, and how to reach out to a secular society. Today there are a rash of books that help us with this ministry but back then Paul was just about it.
A close friend of mine died a number of months ago and his wife gave me some books that she didn’t need and amongst them was J.I. Packer’s Knowing God. Wow! Did that ever bring back memories? I plan to reread it next fall.
Well thanks for indulging me as I walked down memory lane but I should leave you with a few books that I’ve recently read and enjoyed a great deal.
First of all is The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. This was the second time around for me with this book but the first time I really began to understand what Brennan was saying and it touched me. Ruth has sent for a number more of his books and we will have fun reading those this spring.
I also recently finished Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and I loved it. It made me mad, sad, laugh and cry but most of all rejoice in the grace, goodness and wonder of God’s love for all us crazy Christians.
I can’t leave without inviting you to read, The Exodus Revealed and Finding Jesus in the Exodus both by Nicholas Perrin. These are great books and put the “New Exodus” under Jesus into focus. I could write about these books for hours.
I know I have forgotten many great books from my past and I’ve read a number of books recently that deserve to be mentioned but there has to be a line.
How about you letting me know what book or books you have read recently that impressed you or touched your heart. What book would you not want to be without? And before we go any further I do read my Bible every day and study it every day so please don’t go all hyper Spiritual on us and belittle the fun we are having with books that helped us on our journey. We all put the Bible number one, of course, that simply goes without saying.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you so please leave a comment at the end of this post. I can hardly wait to see what wonderful new books you recommend and enjoy so that I may receive a blessing from them as well.
* Please take the time to read some of the stories of Christians who are experiencing persecution for their total commitment to Christ. They need our support and prayers.. http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet…