Monday, March 8, 2010

Winter Book Log

This winter had several more "re-reads" as I am trying to read less overall and focus more on the absorption of what I learn (as opposed to mere exposure). I hope to continue this trend throughout the year.

My book log continues to be a helpful thing to make my reading experience more beneficial. For instance, there have been times in the past that I would forget what I had been reading even a month prior. This project has come in handy, if for nothing else, to recall books I had the opportunity to read before.

Cross Talk: Where Life and Scripture Meet by Michael Emlet: This book was more of a challenge than I bargained for. It was not challenging to read but challenging to receive. The author’s intentions to provide direction for interpreting Scripture in light of the whole sweep of redemptive history is compelling and convicting. The purpose of the book is to correct our tendency to slap a Bible verse on someone’s problem, and think we did our job faithfully. Ouch. (Nov ’09)

Called to the Ministry by Edmund P. Clowney: It seemed often that the author’s thoughts were sporadic and so it was hard to follow his arguments. However, he did have some paragraphs that were mind-blowers. Those jewels and the author’s obvious passion and reverence for the call to Christian ministry make the book worth it. (Dec ’09)

This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanance by John Piper: My main focus in this reading was the first eight chapters. These are the chapters that ground the reader in the biblical definition of marriage, headship, and submission. My aim was to outline each chapter so as to follow his arguments as best I could. What a fruitful exercise! The purpose of marriage is the glory of God in the gospel of His Son, so we could never exhaust learning about this subject! (Nov-Dec ’09)

Sex, Romance, and The Glory of God: What Every Christian Husband Needs to Know by C.J. Mahaney: My second reading of this book proved even more how helpful it is. I read through the book at 3 pages a day, and this strategy helped all the more. Every morning for almost a month I was thinking about my marriage. I was thinking about how I can win my wife’s heart. The shared wisdom and ideas concerning how to love our wives is priceless. It has given me practical direction that I will cease to exercise only when I or my wife are dead. (Jan – Feb ’10)

What Is A Healthy Church? by Mark Dever: The short chapters and small pages made this an easy book to fly through. From the onset of the book Dever is very straightforward in asserting the importance of the local church in a Christian’s life, and the testimony of Scripture he puts forth makes for a compelling case that he is right to be so straightforward. This book contained the first reading I had ever done on church government. Dever argues for congregationalism, and it left me really wanting to know how other forms of government are argued for. (Feb ’10)

Anxious for Nothing by John MacArthur: This book is MacArthur doing what he does best: expositing the Scriptures. In this case he does so in a topical fashion. Almost all of the chapters center around one passage of Scripture apiece and are selected with idea that they are most worthy to be studied when desiring to fight anxiety. Cross references litter this book as MacArthur attempts to teach the Bible using the Bible. This book would be a good week to week study for a group. (Feb ’10)

The Gospel in Genesis: From Fig Leaves to Faith by Martyn Lloyd-Jones: This book was my first exposure to Lloyd-Jones. Having heard that his evening services at Westminster Abbey had an “evangelistic” sermon, my guess is that these sermons were from those evening services. MLJ pleads with the unbeliever throughout each message. Here he wants to answer the “ultimate questions” of life (Where did I come from? What is wrong with the world? What will fix the world?) using passages from the first 12 chapters of Genesis, specifically chapter 3. His style is fervent. Lloyd-Jones rails against sin and unbelief, and he makes clear their folly. He is constantly trying to demonstrate that the Bible is a book for real life and that it is “true history”. He denounces the Scientism of his day. His confidence in the Bible is whole-hearted. (Feb – Mar ’10)

Numbers by God: My second time reading through the fourth book of the Bible has proven profitable. I continue to learn that the more I read the Pentateuch the easier it is to keep up with. This point seems obvious; however, I would walk away seemingly with nothing from my first attempts reading this book. As I have come back to read again the story line is easier to keep up with, people’s names are easier to remember, and the like. More importantly is that I continue to see the steadfast love and faithfulness of God towards His people. Also (on the more humiliating side), I see their miserable disposition to doubt Him. Their grumbling and complaining outweigh their praise in this piece of the epic story of redemption. (Feb - Mar '10)

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