Bibles, Doctrine, and Theology
“ESV Study Bible” by Crossway
Pastor Jeff teaches from the ESV Bible, and as study bibles go, the ESV Study Bible by Crossway is the new standard. The ESV Study Bible includes more than 20,000 notes, written specifically for it. These notes focus especially on understanding the meaning of the text, giving answers to frequently raised questions, and providing theological, historical, and archaeological background - all for the purpose of helping readers to understand the Bible in a deeper way.
“Christian Theology” by Millard J. Erickson and
“Systematic Theology” by Wayne Grudem
The Christian church has a long tradition of systematic theology, that is, studying theology and doctrine organized around fairly standard categories such as the Word of God, redemption, and Jesus Christ. This introduction to systematic theology has several distinctive features: - A strong emphasis on the scriptural basis for each doctrine and teaching - Clear writing, with technical terms kept to a minimum - A contemporary approach, treating subjects of special interest to the church today - A friendly tone, appealing to the emotions and the spirit as well as the intellect - Frequent application to life - Resources for worship with each chapter - Bibliographies with each chapter that cross-reference subjects to a wide range of other systematic theologies.
“Doctrine: What Every Christian Should Believe”
by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears
Doctrine is the word Christians use to define the truth-claims revealed in Holy Scripture. Of course there is a multitude of churches, church networks, and denominations, each with their own doctrinal statement with many points of disagreement. But while Christians disagree on a number of doctrines, there are key elements that cannot be denied by anyone claiming to be a follower of Jesus.
Grace and The Gospel
“Jesus + Nothing = Everything” by Tullian Tchividjian
Do you understand grace? It’s so easy to forget what the Christian faith is all about. We struggle so much, work so hard, and fail so often that we frequently sense something in the equation of life must be missing. Tullian Tchividjian argues that what we are missing is the gospel - a fuller, more powerful understanding of Jesus and what his finished work means for everyday life. During a year of great turmoil, Pastor Tchividjian discovered the power of the gospel in his own life. Sharing his story of how Jesus became more real to him, Tchividjian delves deeply into the fundamentals of the faith, explaining the implications of Christ’s sufficiency - a revelation that sets us free and keeps us anchored through life’s storms.
“The Explicit Gospel” by Matt Chandler
Even if you go to church, it doesn’t mean that you are being exposed (or exposing others) to the gospel explicitly. Sure, most people talk about Jesus, and about being good and avoiding bad, but the gospel message simply isn’t there - at least not in its specificity and its fullness. Inspired by the needs of both the overchurched and the unchurched, and bolstered by the common neglect of the explicit gospel within Christianity, popular pastor Matt Chandler writes this punchy treatise to remind us what is of first and utmost importance - the gospel. Here is a call to true Christianity, to know the gospel explicitly, and to unite the church on the amazing grounds of the good news of Jesus!
"The Prodigal God" by Tim Keller
Taking his trademark intellectual approach to understanding Christianity, Keller uncovers the essential message of Jesus, locked inside his most familiar parable. Within that parable Jesus reveals God's prodigal grace toward both the irreligious and the moralistic. This book will challenge both the devout and skeptics to see Christianity in a whole new way.
Christian Manhood and Womanhood
“The Disciplines of a Godly Man” by Kent Hughes
Our churches and homes need men willing to follow the path of godliness no matter what the cost. Disciplines of a Godly Man has been speaking to the hearts of men since 1991, and its words are still relevant. Using engaging illustrations, scriptural wisdom, and practical suggestions for daily life, Hughes offers frank biblical discussion on major areas of Christian manhood, including family, godliness, leadership, and ministry.
“Feminine Appeal” by Carolyn Mahaney
Carolyn Mahaney identifies with the challenges facing women in today's world and meets them with the guidance of God's Word. The feminine virtues described in Titus 2 have transformed her life and the lives of countless other women. This book will show you the appeal of being a woman who lives for God and helps others do the same.
Marriage and Parenting
“The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim and Kathy Keller
Based on the acclaimed sermon series by New York Times bestselling author Timothy Keller, this book shows everyone - Christians, skeptics, singles, long-time married couples, and those about to be engaged - the vision of what marriage should be according to the Bible. Modern culture would make you believe that everyone has a soul-mate; that romance is the most important part of a successful marriage; that your spouse is there to help you realize your potential; that marriage does not mean forever, but merely for now; that starting over after a divorce is the best solution to seemingly intractable marriage issues. All those modern day assumptions are, in a word, wrong.
“What Did You Expect?” by Paul David Tripp
Marriage, according to Scripture, will always involve two flawed people living with each other in a fallen world. Yet, in Pastor Paul Tripp's professional experience, the majority of couples enter marriage with unrealistic expectations, leaving them unprepared for the day-to-day realities of married life. This unique book introduces a biblical and practical approach to those realities that is rooted in God's faithfulness and Scripture's teaching on sin and grace. "Spouses need to be reconciled to each other and to God on a daily basis," Tripp declares. "Since we're always sinners married to sinners, reconciliation isn't just the right response in moments of failure. It must be the lifestyle of any healthy marriage."
“Give Them Grace” by Elyse Fitzpatrick
All of us want to raise good kids and we want to be good parents. But what exactly do we mean by “good?” And is “being good” really the point? Mother - daughter team Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson contend that every way we try to make our kids “good” is simply an extension of Old Testament Law - a set of standards that is not only unable to save our children, but also powerless to change them. No, rules are not the answer. What they need is GRACE.
“Shepherding a Child’s Heart” by Tedd Tripp
Many parenting books are based on hit-or-miss theories steeped in secular thinking. This one draws from Pastor Tripp's seasoned experience as a father and from God's Holy Word. Grounded in the Bible's divine plan for parenting, this guide defines your goals as a parent and provides the Scriptural methods for accomplishing them.
“Humility” by C.J. Mahaney
C.J. Mahaney paints a striking picture of the daily battle quietly raging within every Christian and asks whether you will passively accommodate the enemy of your soul, pride, or actively cultivate your best friend, humility. When you acknowledge the deception of pride and intentionally humble yourself, you become free to savor abundant mercies and unlikely graces. You will find a new life is yours - a life God richly favors.
“I Really Want To Change… So, Help Me God” by James MacDonald
Do you long to be different than you are? Transformed in your character, choices, and conduct? Are you weary of self-help methods that focus too much on human power and not enough on God's power? If so, then I Really Want to Change...So, Help Me God is the book for you.
“Spiritual Leadership” by Henry and Richard Blackaby
Drawing upon their own extensive leadership experience as well as their ministry to leaders in all walks of life, Henry and Richard Blackaby offer insightful counsel into the ways God develops, guides, and empowers spiritual leaders. Clear guidance is given on how leaders can make a positive impact on the people and organizations they are currently leading.
Other Recommended Reading
“Crazy Love” by Francis Chan
Have you ever wondered if we’re missing it? The God of the universe loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss. Whether you’ve verbalized it yet or not...we all know something’s wrong. Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions? God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself.
“Generous Justice” by Timothy Keller
It is commonly thought in secular society that the Bible is one of the greatest hindrances to doing justice. Isn't it full of regressive views? Didn't it condone slavery? Why look to the Bible for guidance on how to have a more just society? But Timothy Keller sees it another way. In Generous Justice, Keller explores a life of justice empowered by an experience of grace: a generous, gracious justice. Here is a book for believers who find the Bible a trustworthy guide as well as those who suspect that Christianity is a regressive influence in the world.
“Total Truth” by Nancy Pearcey
Does God belong in the public arena of politics, business, law, and education? Or is religion a private matter only - personally comforting but publicly irrelevant? In today’s cultural etiquette, it is not considered polite to mix public and private, or sacred and secular. This division is the single most potent force keeping Christianity contained in the private sphere - stripping it of its power to challenge and redeem the whole of culture. In Total Truth, Nancy Pearcey offers a razor-sharp analysis of the public/private split, explaining how it hamstrings our efforts at both personal and cultural renewal.
“Desiring God” by John Piper
Desiring God is a paradigm - shattering work that dramatically alters common perspectives on relating to God. Piper reveals that there really is no need to choose between duty and delight in the Christian life. In fact, for the follower of Jesus, delight is the duty as Christ is most magnified in His people when they are most satisfied in Him.
“Experiencing God” by Henry and Richard Blackaby
Knowing God does not come through a program, a study, or a method. Knowing God comes through a relationship with a Person. This is an intimate love relationship with God. Through this relationship, God reveals Himself, His purposes, His ways and He invites you to join Him where He is already at work.
Where’s God When It Hurts? By Philip Yancey
This is possibly the best book to date on the issue of suffering, and God’s role (or perceived lack thereof) in it. Philip Yancey reveals a God who is neither capricious nor unconcerned. Using examples from the Bible and from his own experiences, Yancey looks at pain - physical, emotional, and spiritual - and helps us understand why we suffer. Where Is God When It Hurts? will speak to those for whom life sometimes just doesn't make sense. And it will help equip anyone who wants to reach out to someone in pain but just doesn't know what to say.
“A History of the American People” by Paul Johnson
A thorough history of the United States of America, written by an accomplished historian with a Biblical Worldview. "The creation of the United States of America is the greatest of all human adventures," begins Paul Johnson's remarkable new American history. "No other national story holds such tremendous lessons, for the American people themselves and for the rest of mankind." Johnson's history is a reinterpretation of American history from the first settlements to the Clinton administration.