Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible | Mark Ward
If you are familiar with the so-called King James Only Controversy and are looking for an accessible, carefully-argued yet irenic resource to help you think through this issue, then I recommend Mark Ward’s little book, Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible. Having grown up reading and hearing the KJV Bible, Ward is able to approach the KVJO problem with kindness, candor, and a fair amount of humor. Ward will also help you appreciate the usefulness of different Bible translations and the necessity of producing Bibles in the vernacular of the people.
If you want to delve a little deeper into the question of canon formation, Michael Kruger’s book, Canon Revisited is a great place to start. Kruger examines the issue of canon formation from the perspective that Scripture, as God’s Word, is self-authenticating. Kruger critiques other models of canon formation (e.g., the historical-critical model) because they do not approach the issue of canon formation biblically and therefore do not provide believers with firm footing for their faith in God’s Word.
Conscience: What it is, How to Train it, and Loving Those Who Differ | Andrew David Naselli & J. D. Crowley
Like a precision instrument, our consciences must be carefully calibrated if they are going to work the way they were designed to work. In Conscience, What it is, How to Train it, and Loving Those who Differ, Naselli and Crowley discuss the nature of the conscience, how to educate the conscience with God’s Word, and how to get along with those who disagree with us over matters of conscience. A well-calibrated conscience will bring us great joy and enable us to minister effectively to others.
Counseling Hard Cases | Edited by Stewart Scott and Heath Lambert
Is the Bible really all we need to counsel those with severe emotional problems and mental health issues? For the past several years biblical counselors have been openly chided, even by fellow evangelical Christians, for claiming the Bible is sufficient for counseling the really tough cases. Is such criticism warranted? In Counseling the Hard Cases, Scott and Lambert have compiled a collection of real-life stories from pastors and professional counselors in order to demonstrate that Scripture is, when interpreted correctly and applied carefully, truly sufficient to deal with even the most difficult counseling situations.
Costi Hinn is the nephew of famous faith healer and prosperity preacher, Benny Hinn. Although once ready to follow in the footsteps of his uncle, Hinn was eventually saved in his early twenties. Now a pastor, Hinn not only serves his local congregation, he seeks to equip church leaders and Christians to help others who are presently ensnared by the prosperity gospel. In this work, Defining Deception, co-authored with Anthony Wood, Hinn explores this history and theology of the Word-Faith movement, offering helpful insight on the founders of the movement as well as the contemporary peddlers of this false gospel.
Do you want short, accessible, carefully-crafted yet robustly biblical essays on every major issue related to the doctrine of the Bible? Frame’s The Doctrine of the Word of God, provides the reader with several brief chapters that deal with a broad spectrum of topics related to the nature and function of Scripture. Frame discusses revelation, inspiration, inerrancy, the preservation of Scripture, the nature of biblical authority, canonicity, and a host of other important matters. This is an excellent resource that will bless the thoughtful and eager reader.
How do we account for the present weakness of the evangelical church, broadly speaking? What theological and historical factors have contributed to many evangelical churches rejecting doctrinal preaching and discipleship in favor of pragmatic church growth? With careful research and penetrating spiritual insight, Iain Murray traces the “fortunes and misfortunes of evangelical Christianity” from the mid-twentieth century to the beginning of the twenty-first. Evangelicalism Divided is an important and compelling work that offers both historical reflection and wisdom for the way forward.
In his second book, God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel, Costi Hinn, nephew of famous faith-healer and televangelist, Benny Hinn, tells the gripping story of being raised in the prosperity gospel culture and his eventual conversion to Christ. With candor, biblical clarity, and many first-hand accounts, Hinn brings the reader face-to-face with the deception and tragedy of the prosperity gospel. Along with Defining Deception, this book will give you an excellent introduction into prosperity gospel teaching and insight on how to minister to those presently ensnared in it. You can read my review of God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel at The Gospel Coalition.
If you are looking for a reliable resource that covers nearly everything related to the Bible’s origin, development, canonicity, preservation, and translation, look no further than Paul Wegner’s The Journey from Texts to Translations. This book is replete with historical detail, helpful pictures, extensive charts, and carefully researched answers to the most common questions about the Bible’s original text, its translation, and just about everything in between.
The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Modern Translations? | James White
Another useful resource for understanding and engaging Christians who believe that the King James Version is the only legitimate translation of Scripture is James White’s The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Modern Translations. White discusses important questions related to textual criticism, ancient Bible manuscripts, and philosophy of translation with precision and depth while maintaining accessibility. This work, alongside of Michael Ward’s Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible, will equip you well in this area of bibliology (the doctrine of the Bible).
How do we read and study the Bible in a way that honors the meaning of the text and helps us apply the truth to our walk with the Lord? In what should be considered a contemporary classic, Howard Hendricks introduces the reader to the three main components of responsible Bible reading: Observation, Interpretation, and Application. Living by the Book will help you dig deep into the text, ask the right questions, discover God’s intended meaning, and make legitimate applications to your life.
Do you think it’s morbid to reflect on your impending death? Solomon didn’t. According to the book of Ecclesiastes, when believers have a right view of death, they can really start to live. David Gibson’s, Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us How to Live in Light of the End is a careful yet readable study of Ecclesiastes that will help you live with greater joy, trust in God, and enjoyment of this gift of earthly life. For an introduction to the content of the book, please see my “27 Quotes from David Gibson’s ‘Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End.'”
If you need some fresh encouragement to read your Bible and helpful instruction on how to read your Bible, I recommend that you check out John Piper’s book, Reading the Bible Supernaturally. Piper instructs us to see Bible reading as a supernatural act and an ordinary act. It is supernatural because God must open our eyes to see and taste what’s really there. But it is ordinary because we must exercise the normal means of understanding, namely reading, observing, giving heed to context, words, and grammatical structures. But the aim of all this work is to see and savor God’s glory as it is revealed in the pages of Scripture. This is a must read. See my review of Piper’s book here at The Gospel Coalition.
Respectable Sins | Jerry Bridges
When we become fixated on non-essential issues, we can often lose sight of actual sin. That is, we may have scruples over matters that Scripture does not condemn while allowing sins like gossip, lust, anger, and frustration to gain a foothold in our lives. In his book, Respectable Sins, Jerry Bridges helps us calibrate our consciences by drawing our attention to what Scripture says about sin while unearthing sins that we too often let go unchecked in our lives. Not leaving us merely at the point of conviction, however, Bridges also provides a rich meditation on the only remedy for sin: the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Revolutions in Worldview: Understanding the Flow of Western Thought | Edited by W. Andrew Hoffecker
In this substantial yet very helpful volume, each contributor takes the reader through specific time periods of western intellectual history (starting with Heraclitus, b. 525 and ending with the 20th century philosophers) so that we might understand, from a Christian perspective, our contemporary academic, social, and spiritual climate, and how one’s worldview will not only affect his life, but his view of God and the Bible as well.
Sanctification: The Christian’s Pursuit of God-Given Holiness | Michael Riccardi Although the battle against sin is difficult, understanding the biblical means of sanctification and how spiritual growth occurs in our lives shouldn’t be. In Sanctification: The Christian’s Pursuit of God-Given Holiness, Michael Riccardi provides clear biblical principles to help Christian readers understand what sanctification really is and how to pursue it. This is a short and accessible book that can be read in one sitting.
Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Its Cure | D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones For over five decades Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ book Spiritual Depression has been a reliable resource for Christians seeking help in their battle against unyielding despair and discouragement. Originally a collection of sermons for his people, Spiritual Depression is a thorough and insightful work that will reward careful and prayerful reading. Lloyd-Jones begins by reestablishing our gospel foundations in the first chapter and then addresses in subsequent chapters a host of common spiritual troubles that tend to afflict Christian from all backgrounds and walks of life.
Spurgeon on the Christian Life: Alive in Christ | Michael Reeves
Charles Spurgeon was a beloved preacher and evangelist in London during the mid- to late 19th century. He was known for his ability to convey the love and beauty of Christ in spiritually rich and captivating prose both in the pulpit and with his pen. Michael Reeves’s Spurgeon on the Christian Life: Alive in Christ is a brief introduction to Spurgeon’s life and ministry that will bless the new Christian and seasoned believer.
Taking God at His Word | Kevin DeYoung I think I’ve read nearly everything Kevin Deyoung has published. I find his writing to be particularly clear, refreshingly biblical, straightforward, and easy-to-follow. His book about the Bible, Taking God at His Word, is no exception. Rather than delving into contemporary theological controversies about the inspiration, inerrancy, authority, and sufficiency of Scripture, DeYoung opts rather to examine specific biblical passages that address the nature of Scripture. The end result is an accessible book that will deepen your convictions and give you clarity about the nature of the Bible.
Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity | Nancy Pearcy
Nancy Pearcy’s Total Truth is an excellent (and heavily researched) work that exposes the hidden assumptions behind neo-Darwinianism while establishing the truth of Christianity. One of the most helpful aspects of Pearcy’s book is her demonstration that the scientific community relies upon philosophy (rather than empiricism) when it defines the scientific enterprise largely in naturalistic terms. Christians, therefore, have every epistemic right to begin their scientific work with a belief in God and the truthfulness of Scripture.
What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done | Matt Perman
Should Christians concern themselves with productivity, or is it a subject only for “secular” professionals? According to Matt Perman in What’s Best Next if Christians desire to be rich in good works, they should also be deeply concerned about productivity. Why? Because productivity, rightly understood, is really about doing good to others. In this insightful and accessible volume, Perman helps Christians think about their daily productivity as a way to serve others and further the gospel.
What the Bible Says about Gray Areas | Cliff McManis
Often matters of conscience are referred to as “gray areas.” While Scripture is “black and white” on a number of issues (e.g., do not steal, do not commit adultery, do no covet, love one another, contribute to the needs of the saints, etc.), there are a host of issues where the line between what is truly right and wrong in a given situation is not as sharp in contrast. As a result, these “gray areas” are often the source of confusion and disagreement among genuine believers. In this book, Cliff McManis takes the reader through a careful study of Romans 14 and related passages to help Christians understand approach these “gray areas.”
The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance | Sinclair Ferguson When our hearts are burdened by legalism, we will find it hard to remain close to Christ. Rightly understanding the gospel and applying it regularly to our lives, therefore, will be a means of our perseverance in the faith. In The Whole Christ, Sinclair Ferguson examines a 300-year-old theological controversy that helped to shed glorious light on our tendency toward legalism and the remedy that is found in the gospel. Throughout the book are helpful insights into the freeness of Christ’s offer of salvation, the nature of faith and repentance, and the love that God has for his children.
More Recommended Resources Coming Soon!