Many of us will have spent the last week isolated in our own homes. This may have felt like something of a novelty; we have been forced to slow down and perhaps even enjoyed more time with our family. Jobs that have needed doing for the past few years are finally done, but once we have painted the shed, cleared the gutters, completed The Big Bang Theory–all 10 seasons–and got so bored that we decided to learn Russian, what else is there left to do?
A really good way to spend any extra time that we may have in the coming weeks is to read some Christian books. We may not be able to get to our church building but we still have the opportunity to press on with our faith. Below are a variety of books, which cover a range of interests.
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God’s Big Picture: Vaughan Roberts £5.99
If you are going to read one book in the next few weeks, apart from the Bible, read this one. Many people tell me that they struggle to read the Bible; I can understand that because it is a hard book to read. One of the issues is that reading the Bible feels a bit like being air-dropped into a foreign country without a map. We feel lost and have no feel for the terrain. This book provides a basic map, outlining the major motorways and A-roads that hold the Bible together. The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is one book containing one overarching narrative. Understanding this overarching narrative helps us to place any particular biblical book in the context of that wider narrative. Having a sense of the whole, provides us with some bearings when we feel lost in dense woodland or navigating a mountain climb. For anyone who wants to understand the story of the Christian faith this book is an invaluable resource.
My Rock My Refuge: Timothy Keller £7.99
Moving from the whole to the parts, Timothy Keller has produced 365 devotional readings, covering all 150 psalms. This book will help you to drill down into the nuts and bolts of the psalms in a heart warming and accessible way. Keller allocates a single page to each day of the year, which makes this a book to dip into for a few minutes each day. One of the benefits of this book is that it teaches us to pray. Many Christians lack confidence in prayer or simply do not know where to begin. Keller shows us how to use the Bible as a platform for prayer, taking each psalm as a worked example structured around three questions: first, what do I learn about God so that I can adore him in prayer; secondly, what do I learn about myself so that I can admit my sin to God in prayer; and thirdly what did I learn about life so that I can take my aspirations to God in prayer.
George Whitefield The Evangelist – John Pollock £7.55 This book is for those who enjoy reading biographies and history. George Whitefield was a friend of John and Charles Wesley and along with them contributed tremendously to the evangelical awakening of the eighteenth century. Filled with short chapters providing vignettes into his life and ministry this book tells the story of a man greatly used by God at a time when the Christian faith was not widely observed around the British isles. It is heartening to think that if the Christian faith is at a low ebb in the twenty-first century then God could raise up a man like George Whitefield to bring revival to the land.
Promoting The Gospel – John Dickson £9.99
Many of us would love for our friends and family to know Jesus as we do, but how do we tell them? Our faith seems so weak, our arguments so clunky, and our best efforts so pathetic. This books shows us that we all have a part to play in God’s Kingdom, and that while we ought to get much more familiar with the Christian gospel such that we can explain it clearly to others, there is so much more to promoting the gospel than this. “Oh great” we may think “I’m rubbish at explaining the gospel and now I’m being told that’s not even the half of it…” But Dickson shows us how the gospel must affect every area and aspect of our lives, not just the few minutes we have once in a while to share our faith. Helping people to know Jesus involves our time, our money, our words, our behaviour and even the way we do our jobs. We all have many opportunities every day to promote the gospel but perhaps we have never thought through how our faith on a Sunday extends to the whole week. If you have ever felt like that – read this book.
The Cross of Christ – John Stott £14.21
I have saved the best but also the most technical and meaty until last. Unlike the other books I have recommended this is a modern classic in evangelical theology. As Christians we say that the cross is the centre of our faith, but why? What would we lose if the cross was merely important and not central to our faith? What exactly did the cross of Christ achieve and how? And what difference ought it to make in our lives in the twenty-first century? Not for the beginner, but for anyone who is serious about growing and developing in their faith, this book will repay careful reading.