Easter will soon be upon us, and I know that many Christians will take the opportunity to specially reflect on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are extremely well-resourced when it comes to books on the subject and I thought I’d list a few recommendations here. In each case I’ve linked to the appropriate page on Westminster Books, though you’ll certainly find most of them at other stores as well.
I will begin with some devotional works (most of which are meant to be read over the 30 or 40 days leading up to Easter), then provide some full-length books.
As for full-length books, here are some options:
There are many others besides, but this is at least a partial list of books that will bless you!
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By Tim Challies — 8 months ago
As we head toward gift-giving season, publishers are turning up their presses and releasing quite a number of key books. Most of the noteworthy releases from September have already landed in my mailbox and, after looking through them, I have narrowed my list of new and notables to these 10. In each case I’ve included the editorial description. I hope there is something here that you’ll enjoy reading!
The Right Kind of Confident: The Remarkable Grit of a God-Fearing Woman by Mary Kassian. “What if we stopped placing our confidence in the things of this world—and instead put our trust in the only one who is truly trustworthy? As you begin to apply each chapter’s material, you’ll discover the true meaning of confidence, the difference between negative fear and positive fear, and how to turn the Enemy’s tool of fear on its head with strong confidence. Be honest: Who among us isn’t plagued with fears, insecurities, and self-doubt? Popular wisdom says the solution is to simply believe more strongly in ourselves. But award-winning author and speaker Mary A. Kassian explains that the way to combat fear is with more fear—fear of a different kind. In this follow-up to her popular book The Right Kind of Strong, Kassian again draws on her vast biblical knowledge to show us a better way to navigate life. She compares the Bible’s definition of confidence with the world’s well-worn self-help formulas and sets us on the right path. Whether you’re seeking more confidence or already feeling full of it, when you lean into a source of confidence that is unchanging, firm, and trustworthy, you’ll become more like the bold, courageous woman God created you to be.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)
Deeper: Real Change for Real Sinners by Dane C. Ortlund. “’Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.’ How do Christians grow? Few question the call of the Bible to grow in godliness, but the answer to exactly how this happens is often elusive. In this book, Dane Ortlund points believers to Christ, making the case that sanctification does not happen by doing more or becoming better, but by going deeper into the wondrous gospel truths that washed over them when they were first united to him. Drawing on wisdom from figures throughout church history, Ortlund encourages readers to fix their gaze on Jesus in the battle against sin, casting themselves upon his grace and living out their invincible identity in Christ.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)
Blessings of the Faith Series by Various Authors. “Reformed theology can seem like a whole different language, and even those of us who have sat under Reformed teaching for years need reminder lessons of its nuances, grammar, and context. The books in the Blessings of the Faith series serve as primers on three components of the ‘Reformed language’: covenantal baptism, expository preaching, and prayer. Each book provides a biblical description and explanation of its topic as well as answers to frequently asked questions and common objections. Informative, encouraging, and practical, these short hardback books are giftable helpful tools for pastors, elders, small groups, and any curious minds seeking to learn or grow more in their understanding of the concepts. Learn why infant baptism is practiced in Presbyterian churches, how expository preaching can spiritually benefit individuals and congregations, and why prayer is such a crucial component of the Christian life. Then you can help your audience do the same!” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)
Holier Than Thou: How God’s Holiness Helps Us Trust Him by Jackie Hill Perry. “If God is holy, then He can’t sin. If God can’t sin, then He can’t sin against you. If He can’t sin against you, shouldn’t that make Him the most trustworthy being there is? Bestselling author Jackie Hill Perry, in her much anticipated follow-up to Gay Girl, Good God, helps us find the reason we don’t trust God— we misunderstand His holiness. In Holier Than Thou, Jackie walks us through Scripture, shaking the dust off of “holy” as we’ve come to know it and revealing it for what it really is: good news. In these pages, we will see that God is not like us. He is different. He is holy. And that’s exactly what makes Him trustworthy. As it turns out, God being “holier than thou” is actually the best news in the world, and it’s the key to trusting Him.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)
Old Testament Use of Old Testament: A Book-By-Book Guide by Gary Edward Schnittjer. “Old Testament Use of Old Testament, by Gary Edward Schnittjer, surveys the hundreds of Old Testament allusions within the Old Testament and provides hermeneutical guidance for interpreting these interrelated scriptures. The handbook takes an easy to navigate book-by-book approach. Schnittjer provides a list of Scripture allusions for each book and follows with an interpretive profile of how that book uses passages from elsewhere in the Old Testament. Specific criteria are applied to each allusion, providing readers with evaluation of the significance of each interpretive allusion. Minor allusions caused by style, figures of speech, and other minor elements are not included. Responsible exegesis requires careful attention to interrelated scriptures, yet there is a host of interpretive difficulties related to Scripture’s use of Scripture. Designed for ease-of-use for any serious student of the Bible, Old Testament Use of Old Testament offers a thorough, systematic tool to aid in evaluating scriptural interpretation of Scripture.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)
The Death of Porn: Men of Integrity Building a World of Nobility by Ray Ortlund. “Your Battle against Porn Isn’t about Porn. It’s about Hope. Pornography may seem inescapable, but God can free us from its destructive power. The gospel replaces the dehumanizing lies of pornography with this surprising truth: God created us as royalty. How then can we reclaim our God-given identity to take a stand against—and ultimately starve—the predatory porn industry? In The Death of Porn, Ray Ortlund writes six personal letters, as from a father to his son. Ideal for individuals and small groups, it will give hope to men who have been misled by porn into devaluing themselves and others. Through Scripture and personal stories, Ortlund assures readers that God loves them the most tenderly in their moments of deepest shame. The Death of Porn inspires men to come together in new ways to fight the injustice of porn and build a world of nobility for every man and woman—for the sake of future generations.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)
When Home Hurts: A Guide for Responding Wisely to Domestic Abuse in Your Church by Jeremy Pierre & Greg Wilson. “This book is intended to equip pastors, church leaders and church members to respond with the heart of God to situations of domestic abuse that occur in their local church. Prioritising the safety of the victim at all times, Jeremy Pierre and Greg Wilson seek to help you be the kind of church leader, church member, friend, parent, sibling, or neighbor who responds wisely. We want the church to be a new normal for those grown accustomed to abuse. A home that doesn’t hurt those inside, but instead welcomes them into the tender care of the Lord. This very practical, pastoral book acknowledges the reality and the horror of domestic abuse, but also the reality and power of God to heal. It will be a helpful guide to anyone who suspects abuse within their church family but is unsure how to help without making things worse.” (Buy it at Amazon)
Humbled: Welcoming the Uncomfortable Work of God by David Mathis. “How do I humble myself? Humility, according to the Bible, is not something we can just up and do. Both the negative and positive examples of Scripture–from Pharaoh to Rehoboam, from Josiah to Ahab, from Hezekiah to Manasseh, and even to Christ himself–teach us that humility first comes from the hand of God. He initiates the humbling of his creatures. And once he has, the question confronts us: Will you receive it? Will you humble yourself in response to his humbling hand, or will you kick against him? This concise, accessible study of Scripture’s humble-self language uncovers two surprising lessons about the pursuit of humility in the Christian–both what we cannot do and also what steps we can take.” (Buy it from Amazon or Westminster Books)
The Bold Evangelist: The Life and Ministry of Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon by Priscilla Wong. “Many associate the names George Whitefield and John Wesley with the eighteenth-century Evangelical Revival, while the name Selina Hastings, the Countess of Huntingdon, is less familiar. But this remarkable woman played a crucial role in the revival in Europe, interacting and forming friendships with many of its key players. The Countess leveraged her wealth and high position in English society to widen the evangelistic impact of the revival. Her sacrifices would ultimately see, among her many efforts, the establishment of over 60 chapels and a college for training ministers. Readers will be encouraged not only by how steadfastly Selina laboured but also by how she persevered in the face of illness, the deaths of her husband and children, and devastating setbacks in her gospel ministry. Yet trusting wholeheartedly in Christ her Saviour-and not the vanity and riches prized by her aristocratic peers-Selina lived out a faith characterized by boldness, zeal, and love. One evangelical leader described her influence: ‘I feel from Lady Huntingdon’s example an increasing desire both for myself and for you and all our friends that we may be active and eminent in the life of grace.’” (Buy it from Amazon or Westminster Books)
Love Me Anyway: How God’s Perfect Love Fills Our Deepest Longing by Jared Wilson. “There may be no more powerful desire in the human heart than to be loved. And not just loved, but loved anyway. In spite of what we’ve done or left undone, in spite of the ways we have failed or floundered. We long for an unconditional, lavish love that we know intrinsically we don’t deserve. If you are tired, sad, yet always longing, bestselling author Jared C. Wilson has incredible news for you: that kind of love actually exists, and it is actually something you can experience–whether or not you’re in a romantic relationship. In his signature reflective, conversational, and often humorous style, Wilson unpacks 1 Corinthians 13 to show us what real love looks like. Through engaging stories and touching anecdotes, he paints a picture of an extravagant God who not only puts the desire for love into our very souls but fulfills those desires in striking, life-changing ways.” (Buy it from Amazon or Westminster Books)
By Tim Challies — 6 months ago
Christians are known for being people of the cross—people who rightly focus a great deal of attention on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. But while the cross stands at the very center of the gospel, it does not stand alone. Rather, it is surrounded, as it were, by the wider context of Jesus’s humiliation and exaltation—by all he did before and after he was crucified.
The humiliation and exaltation of Jesus Christ are the twin subjects of Jonty Rhodes’s excellent new book Man of Sorrows, King of Glory. He begins by introducing Christ’s threefold office as prophet, priest, and king since “before we can look at the work of Christ, we must be clear on his identity.” We must be equally careful that we do not inadvertently separate him from his works so we receive what Christ did without understanding we must receive Christ himself. “This is the invitation of the gospel. Not so much ‘Receive these gifts: justification, sanctification, adoption, reconciliation,’ but rather ‘Receive Christ.’”
Having introduced Christ’s threefold office, Rhodes turns to his twofold state: humiliation and exaltation. The structure of the book helpfully shows how he explores his topic. One section is dedicated to the humiliation of Christ and it contains four chapters: one that explains what is meant by “humiliation,” then one that covers each of these topics: the humiliation of Christ as our prophet, the humiliation of Christ as our priest, and the humiliation of Christ as our king. The next section repeats the pattern, except with exaltation instead of humiliation.
Rhodes does a number of things especially well: he makes complex topics accessible even to people without postgraduate degrees in theology; he offers precise positions without becoming pedantic; he presents Christ as especially beautiful and the atonement as especially awe-inspiring; he draws from the very best of Christian authors and theologians; and he shows why a gospel that is focused exclusively on the cross neglects the crucial context of Christ’s humiliation and exaltation. And he does all this in only 150 pages.
I’m glad to say that Man of Sorrows, King of Glory is one of the very best and most enjoyable books I’ve read all year. I cannot recommend it too highly.
Buy from Amazon
By Tim Challies — 2 months ago
Good morning. May the God of love and peace be with you.
There is once again a lengthy list of Kindle deals, including deep discounts on many of the best commentary series (NICOT, NICNT, NIGTC, Pillar).
(Yesterday on the blog: It’s Better To Suffer Wrong)
Spiritual Lessons from My Dumb Phone
I think it does us all good from time to time to consider our relationship with our phone (as Dru Johnson does here).
5 Preaching Pet Peeves
Jared Wilson: “I thought I would share some pet peeves of mine when it comes to preaching, because I think they are shared by others as well. In the end, those of us who preach want to remove any unnecessary barriers between understanding the word, believing the gospel and the people who are listening. As a preacher who regularly sits under preaching too, I’ve experienced some things that I think have helped me develop as a communicator. Maybe they will provide some food for thought for you, as well.”
How a Jail Became a Seminary
Aaron Lumpkin tells how, a long time ago, a jail became a seminary. “The jail, once overcome with the sound of woeful cries and locking chains, now paraded the sounds of freedom found through the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Give God Room
Rebekah says that in our troubling times we naturally worry or try to control. “In some ways, these are opposite reactions (worry is mostly passive; control is mostly active), and yet it’s quite possible to do both at the same time. I’m actually quite good at both and often manage to do them simultaneously, over the same problem.”
Understanding your enemy
“God would have us estimate our enemies neither too highly nor too lightly” says Andrée Seu Peterson. That’s true whether the enemy is physical or spiritual.
How would you persuade someone that the sign gifts have ceased? (Video)
If you’re interested in quite an impassioned defense of the cessation of the spiritual gifts, Steven Lawson, Stephen Nichols, and Burk Parsons team up on one here.
Flashback: The Only Way To Do The Work Of A Lifetime
…duties can and do rise far above drudgery when we fulfill them out of a conviction that it is God who has called us to them and that it is through them that we do good to others and bring glory to his name.
It is not punishment to which we are subjected but pruning, and it is because we are fruitful that we are pruned. —J.R. Miller