Summer is a great time to encourage Christians to read – here’s a little list you can pass on to your congregations to help them think of books to pack on their hols.
My Father Maker of the trees – Eric Irivuzumugabe
a powerful and moving story about Christian faith in the middle of the Ruandan Genocide. The first half of this book in particular offers challenging yet inspiring insight into some of the darkest days in living memory and yet God’s grace in the middle of it all.
100 verse Bible -Mark Stibbe
Mark Stibbe’s pocket sized guide to the big story of the Bible. Mark picks 50 verses from the Old Testament and 50 from the New Testament and shows how they weave together into the Bible’s big picture. Split into bite-sized portions easily read in 2 minutes flat. There is a heavy emphasis on the fatherhood of God in this book, which is one of Stibbe’s key themes at the moment.
– not a new book but one I only recently got round to reading. this book is a gem – a really engaging book about the struggles of unanswered prayer. Pete mixes humour, theology and personal stories to great effect. If you haven’t read this book – buy it now. This is the best book I have read recently.
Biblefresh handbook -a really beautiful magazine format book – with lots of pithy articles, easy to read between dips in the pool! Packed with really helpful articles and inspiring ideas this book will help you recover a passion for feeding on God’s word. Royalties from the book all go to support the work of Bible translation in Burkina Faso.
Stretch your thinking
If life is busy, summer’s change of pace can be a good time to go deeper in your Christian reading. Here are some meatier books to get stuck into.
The Blue Parakeet Rethinking How You Read the Bible, Scott McKnight
A very accessible but challenging book about understanding the Bible. Scott McKnight’s chatty style means that many important ideas about hermeneutics and biblical application are handled in an engaging way.
This is a controversial book to put on this list. A lot of people are reading it at the moment and it would be worth reading where ever you stand on the theological spectrum that is evangelicalism. In my opinion McLaren is definitely asking the right questions, around biblical authority, ecclesiology and mission. I don’t agree with all of his answers but for me this is his most expositional book – offering very interesting angles on Romans and Corinthians in particular. I found myself underlining as much in this book for future reference as I did writing questions in the margins. Even when I disagree with McLaren I always feel I have had my thinking stretched and my understanding challenged.
If you have never read or heard Tim Keller before this book is an excellent introduction. Keller demonstrates he has the passion of a preacher and the sensitivity of a pastor combined with the intellect of an academic. This is book about modern day idolatry and will open up an important stream of biblical teaching that is often neglected by the western church. Keller brings a rare combination of biblical and pastoral theology to this book – read it and you will be challenged!
For the preachers:
Currently my favourite book on preaching – it tackles the different Biblical genres and how to make the most of the variety of communications styles in the scriptures for adding breadth and creativity to your own preaching. Not too heavy – lots of practical suggestions.
A small book which models really well how to teach the Bible in such a way that people are skilled in their Bible reading in the process. Briggs lectures in New Testament at Durham University and offers a warm and encouraging book about a deeper engagement with scripture.
Allow a Middle Eastern scholar to guide you through a “kaleidoscopic study of Jesus in the four Gospels” This book will change the way you see Jesus and therefore the way you preach him. I found this book both devotionally inspiring and intellectually stimulating.