Suggested Reading

Here is a list of some good theology books that I know have good stuff in them – it can be difficult to be disciplined to read sometimes, so it is slightly frustrating when the book your reading isn’t great either! I hope these books below will be of use! Anything that is hyper linked should hopefully go to where the item can be purchased, or where it can be downloaded for free where appropriate. I will continue to add to this list as I read more myself, and find more good books too!

All of John Pipers books for free (pdf format) – I will reference some in particular below that I found helpful!

http://www.desiringgod.org/books

Study Bibles:
MacArthur Study Bible (older version also available in NASB/NKJV) :
This study bible helped me really understand the bible in all its coherant and brilliant wonder. For once, everything fit together and made sense! This study bible is deeper than most of the other study bibles you will find out there, and most definitely to be recommended! Only thing I wouldn’t agree with in this study bible would be the cessationist view that John holds to-  (the sign gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased at the death of the apostles/end of scripture being written), in spite of that, it is an excellent help! John MacArthur has been a bible teacher for over 40 years of ministry, and is highly regarded in evangelical circles.
ESV Study Bible:
This study bible is also excellent – the ESV translation flows a bit better than the NASB, but is not quite as literal in its translation of the greek. These are pretty much the only two bibles I would use (maybe the NET and the KJV as well for comparison and consideration of textual variation in the manuscript tradition).  The study notes on this are also very good, being edited by Wayne Grudem. They are not quite as deep theologically (although deep enough, and certainly deeper than many other study bibles). One BIG plus point of this particular study bible comes in the form of the appendix material. There are, I believe, about 50 articles on topics ranging from systematic theology (different doctrines compiled from verses that all talk about the same subject, put under theological names), through to other world religions, and common questions or objections answered – this back section alone would be worth buying the bible for! A definite buy for new Christians!

Complimentarian Theology:

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood; A Response to Evangelical Feminism:
The above book can be found at the link for free on John Pipers site (see pdf link on the left hand side)! Also available in hardcopy on amazon!


Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth: An Analysis of 118 Disputed Questions :
My wife and I have enjoyed going through sections of this book – it is definitely more of a ‘reference guide’ to common objections to complimentarian theology ( differing roles for men and women in life – male-only eldership, men leading the household, sacrificially loving their wives and laying their life down for her as Christ did for the church, wife respecting and submitting to her husband). Wayne grudem answers many of the common and uncommon objections brought against this biblical doctrine in a readable and even amusing way!

Calvinism / Reformed Theology:

Twenty What Abouts:
I really liked this book – short, conscice and understandable and easy read on a commonly misunderstood topic! Again, a bit more of a reference book, but also invaluable for those who are  looking to understand this topic more!

Pretty much anything at the following link is a winner : http://www.aomin.org/catalog/index.php?cPath=43_48

In particular the following:

The Potters Freedom
“A Defense of the Reformation and a Rebuttal of Norman Geisler’s “Chosen But Free”
by James R. White

Geisler’s Chosen but Free sparked a firestorm of controversy when he labeled Calvinism “theologically inconsistent, philosophically insufficient, and morally repugnant.” White steps into the breach with his cogent response. His systematic refutation of Geisler’s argument will help you understand what the Reformed faith really teaches about divine election and how Reformed thought conforms to the Gospel. 337 pages, softcover from Calvary Press.”

The God who Justifies
*WARNING – Not for the faint hearted*
This book is very tough, but if you are willing to put the time and effort into reading it, im sure it will pay dividends!   This book contains many pages of in depth exegesis of the greek texts and comparisons between the old and new testaments. Generally done in the style of a refutation of Roman catholic teaching on justification, it leaves a person with a strong understanding of the biblical protestant understanding.

The Forgotten Trinity :
I will get around to reading this one, but it is apparently a truly excellent book, and a well needed book to remind us of the importance of this amazing doctrine!

“”The Trinity is a doctrine where error is especially deadly. James White superbly establishes the biblical basis of trinitarianism, examining its nuances and its place in church history. His lucid presentation will help layperson and pastor alike. Highly recommended.” – Dr. John MacAurthur, Senior Pastor, Grace Community Church, Speaker, Grace to you.”

Scripture Alone: Exploring the Bible’s Accuracy, Authority, and Authenticity:
“A denial of the sufficiency of Scripture is at the core of almost every form of opposition to the Christian faith today. Scripture Alone is written to instill a passionate love for and understanding of the Bible. In this defense of God’s inspired Word, readers will comprehend what ‘God’s Word’ is, the nature of Scripture, the relationship of the Bible to tradition, how to apply Scripture to today’s issues, and much more. Included is a faith-inspiring study of the canon–what it is and where it came from.”

 The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Modern Translations?

Though mainly a response to the King James only movement (found especially in america) James White has also given us a good positive introduction to the field of textual criticism (understanding how we got the bible today, transmission of the texts,  textual variant readings in the manuscripts we have, information on translation etc). A good read for those wanting to understand this area!

The Holiness of God:
I have fond memories of watching Dr R C Sproul teach this particular series in a video presentation, and remember being pulled into the narrative that he was pulling together from scripture in regards to the Holiness of God! This book is the result of those presentations, and it is an excellent and well needed read today in amongst the popular domesticated and ‘safe’ views of God. Definitely recommended!

“Revised in 1997, The Holiness of God has sold almost 200,000 copies since it was first released in the 1980s. An instant classic on the awesome nature of God, this paperback edition (of the 1997 revision) will keep ministering to people for many years to come. ‘The material in this book drove me to my knees and dramatically changed my Christian life. Written by one of the most brilliant thinkers of our day, it is absolutely urgent reading for every Christian.’ Chuck Colson, author of Loving God. Sproul’s classic The Holiness of God is a look at the meaning of holiness and why people are both fascinated and terrified by a holy God.”
OVERCOMING SIN AND TEMPTATION :

This is quite a hard book, both due to the content, but also the linguistic prose, even though this is the updated version! I have to say though, this has been one of those books that really made me take a good long hard look inside and ask the hard questions! I would highly recommend this book to every Christian to read – take the effort and help yourself in your walk in sanctification!
 

Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ [free]

A friend of mine read through this book (which was the result of a sermon series i listened to), and they commented something along the lines of “a scary book”. Truely some gobsmacking-hit-over-the-head truth to be found here! Very short book, but very good! –  also available in hardcopy on amazon.

Suffering and the Sovereignty of God [free]:
This was an incredible book! I think I finished it in a day, if not at most two – could hardly put it down! This book doesn’t pull any punches, but gives a real understanding of what God’s relationship to suffering is in this world, and our response to it.  I really recommend this book – also available in hardcopy on amazon.

Stand [free]:
Also really enjoyed this book, a bit like the above, except from an encouragement towards perseverance and endurance in the Christian life! Some amusing anecdotes from well known evangelical pastors, but some great truths found here too!  also available in hardcopy on amazon.

Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church

Ever felt burnt out at church? Getting near that way? You may need to read this book! Micheal Horton critiques the modern seeker driven style church in a plain and candid manner, but also addresses the Christians need to ever be fed and live on the gospel – you don’t grow out of the gospel, you need to hear it always! A real help for me personally!

Charismatic Theology :

Showing the Spirit:

By God’s grace, and the use of this book, I narrowly missed becoming a cessationist. This book was a God-send for me after being unbelievably frustrated with all the crazy “charasmania” that was/is going on today, as well as the trite and sentimental – D A Carson faithfully presents a positive case for the gifts of the Holy Spirit today, while critiquing the excesses and damages of both cessationism, and “charismania”. For those wanting to understand more about a genuinely charismatic theology – look no futher than this book!

The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today:
I haven’t finished reading this book as of yet, but I have been very impressed with it so far, and have learned a lot about NT prophecy and its relevance and application in our Christian walk. This is a bit more accessible than “Showing the Spirit” but has more of an application focus – nevertheless, there is good exegesis throughout!

Covanental Apologetics

I could probably put a list together of some of the books I have read, but being honest, I know of no better list than the one at choosing-hats.com! This is nicely put together as it breaks the books up into difficulty. There is also mention of the systematic theologies that I would put on to my books list, but since they are already on this section, I think it is sufficient! They have very kindly allowed me to link to it from here:

http://www.choosinghats.com/reading-plan/


Pastoral

These books have helped me through some very dark times of fear, doubt and depression!

Grace abounding to the Chief of Sinners:

“John Bunyan, author of the great Christian allegory Pilgrim’s Progress, was born into a tinker family. As a youth, he was tormented by fits of depression, dreams of fiends trying to fly away with him, and voices telling him to sell Christ. He joined and preached to a Baptist society in Bedford, for which he was arrested and jailed for nearly 12 years. While in prison he wrote Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners and began his allegorical masterpiece.”

Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel (Library of Christian Classics)

There are only a few authors that I feel have really spoken to my heart on occasions, but none more than Martin Luther. This work is a collation of letters written by Luther to friends, and Christians giving advice in regards to situations they were going through, much of which comes from his own dark times – they are split up into categories and indexed. I definitely recommend this book for those who struggle emotionally, or are plagued with doubts or fears!

 When I Don’t Desire God [free]
What do you do when you discover that you’re not satisfied in God the way he wants you to be? Joy is more than an afterthought of the Christian life; it is the sustaining fruit of a relationship with God. With a radical passion for Christ’s glory, John Piper helps you find the joy God wants you to have.” – also available in hardcopy on amazon!

 When the Darkness Will Not Lift [free]
“Even the most faithful, focused Christians can encounter periods of depression and spiritual darkness when joy seems to stay just out of reach. It can happen because of sin, satanic assault, distressing circumstances, or hereditary and other physical causes.
This book, which is an expansion of a chapter in When I Don’t Desire God, aims to give some comfort and guidance to those experiencing spiritual darkness.” – also available in hardcopy on amazon!

If you have any other book suggestions for the above, Id be happy to take a look at it and if it really is helpful, I will surely add it on to the list! Drop me a comment or two for suggestions!

Comments
  1. Sweet man, gonna bookmark this page! downloaded a couple of pipers books to my touchpad, but gonna give it a proper look at a better time of day!

    This blog is already providing useful, your Facebook is usually my source of interesting theological links so this makes sense…

    Keep it up man!

  2. Thanks dude! 🙂 Enjoy!

  3. admin says:

    Commentary and reference survey(10th Edition) by John Glynn is a must have for any serious student of the Bible. Glynn has picked out all the best Conservative, Moderate and Liberal scholarship; read his commentary recommendations before buying anything!

    Go to http://rdtwot.wordpress.com/the-defense-of-an-essential/recommended-reading/ for ALL your Trinity related needs. The author is a Trinity junky and has picked out some of the must reads on this topic. He recommends The Tripersonal God: Understanding and Interpreting the Trinity by Gerald O’Collins as a good introduction.

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