I usually have a bunch of books on-the-go simultaneously. This is mostly the Internet’s fault. I have a long wish list that my family is kind enough to buy from come my birthday or Christmas and sometimes I spend a bit myself.
Here’s a bit about some of the books I’ve finished recently or are in the works:
Tactics - Greg Koukl#
I recently posted a quote from this book. I’ve just finished it and enjoyed it immensely. Koukl’s straightforward language and practical advice make this an easy book to read and learn from.
Instead of being an apologetics book, Koukl intends for his ‘tactical approach’ to get Christians comfortable with carrying on conversations and arguing for the truth by greatly lowering the barrier to entry.
Instead of using each encounter as an opportunity to tell the whole gospel and argue for everything important in the Bible, Koukl gives concrete, practical techniques by which to put a ‘stone in the shoe’ by giving the other person something to think about.
A Peculiar Glory - John Piper#
The subtitle says it all: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness
I’ve been reading this out loud for our family over the last while and we’ve been discussing it as we go. This book has forced us to think and rethink our ideas about the nature of God’s word and how the Spirit uses it to convince people of its own truth and how it reveals the glory of the One who wrote it.
The whole premise of the book is the idea that it is possible, without going through a complicated process of historical reasoning, to come to a sufficient knowledge of the truth of the Bible. This is extremely important, because it means that anyone who reads the word, if the Spirit works in them, can know that this is the word of God.
This is a must-read, in my opinion.
The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne#
I remember reading this book in highschool, but I don’t remember much about it. It was recommended on a blog post I recently read, so I thought I’d give it another go.
I’m just starting reading it; still on the introduction. I know that this book has a reputation for being very down on the Puritans, but I seem to recall that one of the main characters comes to a realization of God’s grace at the end. I guess I’ll have to wait and see.
The Holiness of God - R.C. Sproul#
This is a classic. Sproul has a way of dealing with wonderfully complex topics in an accessible way. This book is no different. You come away with a deeper understanding of God’s character and our great need, as sinful creatures, to have Him reconciled to us through Christ.
I hadn’t read this in a long time and realized, after I saw it on yet another book list for Christians, that I didn’t have it in my library. I asked for it as a present and was very glad to read it again.
Bullfinch’s Mythology - Thomas Bullfinch#
Thomas Bullfinch originally published this book in three volumes which were combined into one posthumously. He intended it to be an introduction to Greek and Roman, English and Carolingian legends for the purpose of familiarizing the reader with the stories that are so often alluded to in English poetry and prose.
All of the most recognized stories are included with examples of their use in various poems and other works by the English world’s foremost authors. I’m really enjoying working my way through familiar and unfamiliar tales and seeing how they have been used in great works of literature.
The Death of Ivan Ilych - Leo Tolstoy#
I haven’t read much Tolstoy before. War and Peace was too intimidating and Anna Karenina didn’t really interest me. I saw The Death of Ivan Ilych on a list of books that Christians should read and decided to give it a try.
I actually enjoyed it. Yes, I know I sound surprised. It’s the story of a man who leads a shallow life without real meaning but finds salvation right at the end. It is certainly worth reading, not least because Tolstoy is a master storyteller.
Interestingly enough, many non-christians don’t recognize the fact that Ilych is forgiven and accepted by God in the end. A Christian reading this short book can’t really miss it, though.
The Gospel Coalition has a course on the story that is really worth having a read through… after you’ve read the book, of course.