I have been in the habit of posting, at the end of every month, the books I had read with a small review of each of them. This January I read five books, and most for class at Seminary. So, not to bore you with books on homiletics (the art of preaching) or the meaning of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible), I decided to post some good deals on some books I think my usual readers could benefit from.
Kevin DeYoung, a rather up-and-coming pastor in the RCA, has found time between being a husband, a father, and a pastor, to also be a well put-together author and regular blogger. One of his books, The Good News We Almost Forgot, takes a look into the Heidelberg Catechism which is a 16th century document on the doctrine of the Christian faith. This document is set up in a series of questions and answers that address how Christianity impacts real life; it is a wonderful and beautiful resource for any student of Jesus. DeYoung calls it the “Good News We Almost Forgot” because many people who grew up in the RCA (or similar churches) were taught this catechism throughout their childhood and have become a bit disenfranchised by it. His goal is to bring excitement, clarity, and meaning back into this statement of faith we hold so dear. This book can also be used as a small group study tool, or a family devotion. I highly recommend this accessible work.
Often I am asked about ethical considerations and the teachings of the Bible (especially around heated political seasons!). Without going for a massive text book on biblical ethics, nor digging into a 15 week crash course on tough topics, I would like to offer a book for your edification called, Now Choose Life: Theology and Ethics in Deuteronomy. This book does a great job of “showing the major contribution that Deuteronomy makes to our understanding of the Bible as a whole…J. Gary Millar explores Deuteronomy’s ethical teaching in the light of its most important theological themes: covenant, journey, law, the nations, and human nature” (taken from IVP). It is possible that some who read their Bible breeze through the Old Testament books not thinking they will get much from them hurrying to read the easy-to-understand New Testament, but I am afraid that if we do this, we will miss the important reflections and truths necessary to understand God’s expectations He has toward His children. It is true that we are called to love, but we must understand what love means through the eyes of God and this can only be done by reading and understanding the whole counsel of God (all 66 books of the Bible written by 30 to 40-some authors telling us one true story!).
One of the hardest sins to overcome is that of pride. We always want the last word, we fight to get and stay on top (no matter who we may step [read: stomp] on), anger rises at our own belittlement, resentment is roused when we find out someone is better than us, and we simply love ourselves more than others. In C. J. Mahaney’s book, Humility: True Greatness,
you will learn from one who has walked the path of humility as he offers practical advice on how to combat pride and take joy in humility. In our culture that sees value in who has the biggest truck, the biggest bank account, the largest library, the most education…the most stuff, we could all use a heavy dose of humiliation. Being a Christian means being in the service of the King and true greatness and worth reside in your life lived for him. I cannot stress enough the need for this book on your shelf.