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March 04, 2010

Read Any Good Books Lately? Advice And Recommendations

Read only the best books. Richard Baxter wrote: “It is not the reading of many books which is necessary to make one wise, but the well-reading of a few, could they be sure to have the best.”

Do not neglect books. They are gracious gifts from God for guidance. Larry Woiwode warns, “There is rugged terrain ahead for those who are constitutionally incapable of referring to the paths marked out by wise and spirit-filled cartographers over the centuries.”

Do not neglect THE Book. John Wesley (himself a prolific reader) wrote, “Let me be homo unius libri”—a man of one Book.

With these principles in mind, I will mention a few recommended titles for your consideration:

Frame’s The Doctrine of God may be one of the best books ever written on the doctrine of God. Frame is at his best in this profound and biblical work. Wayne Grudem, one of his former students, says that Frame has now surpassed Calvin, Charnock, Hodge, and Bavinck on the doctrine of God.

Clowney, The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament. This book is short, but worth its weight in gold. Reading this will change the way you view the Old Testament and cause you to marvel afresh at the person and work of Jesus Christ. Works by Graeme Goldsworthy, including his Triology and Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture, are also quite insightful and helpful.

Veith, God at Work. Veith insightfully teaches on the vital but neglected Reformation doctrine of vocation. If your job feels mundane, or if you wonder whether you should be in a “secular” job, pick up this excellent book. This doctrine must be recovered in our day!

Enger, Peace Like a River. Enger, both a Christian and a fellow Minnesotan, has written an excellent story filled with fascinating characters and spiritual themes. This ended up becoming Amazon.com’s 2001 Book of the Year!

Alcorn’s Safely Home, 2002 Gold Medallion Novel of the Year, is a unique novel about the persecution of Chinese Christians. All of the royalties for this book, by the way, go toward this cause.

What does it look like to raise godly, masculine boys? See Dobson’s Bringing Up Boys and Wilson’s Future Men. Chuck Colson has written, “I can’t think of a more important subject.” I agree. All who are raising boys (especially dads!) should read at least one of these very insightful books.

For some helpful books on the crucial task of catechizing children, I have been very impressed with MacKenize’s My First Book of Questions and Answers, Ferguson’s Big Book of Questions and Answers, and Hunt’s Big Truths for Little Kids. For those a bit older, see Hustedt’s Firm in the Faith.

I have not read any books for women this year! Nevertheless, I can recommend a few with confidence. Nancy Leigh DeMoss, called by some an “Elisabeth Elliot for a new generation,” recently edited a book entitled Biblical Womanhood in the Home, with chapters by Carolyn Mahaney, Susan Hunt, and others.

Another new book for women, When Life and Beliefs Collide: How Knowing God Makes a Difference, by Carolyn Curtis James, has even J. I. Packer excited: “This outstanding book offers the best demonstration that everyone needs theology, the best expository account of Mary and Martha, and the best trajectory for women’s ministry in North America that I have yet read.”

Finally, the late James M. Boice wrote that the books and Bible studies by Carol J. Ruvolo are “... the most valuable Bible study material written explicitly for women that I have come across in three decades of ministry...deeply God-centered, theologically profound, and very, very practical.”

So many books...so little time.


Author Justin Taylor works for Crossway Publishing and is a popular Christian blogger. You can view his blog at

thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/.

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