For those who do still like to get their information from books, here are my favourite three Christian reads so far this year:
- The Message of the Sermon on the Mount by John Stott
I read this in conjunction with working through the corresponding Lifebuilder Bible Study (also by Stott). Like all Bible Speaks Today commentaries, it combines helpful cultural context and background with a systematic exegesis and application of the text. This is one of the most significant passages of Scripture which outlines a blueprint for Christian living and Stott is equally inspiring and challenging in his treatment of it. One to work through slowly and prayerfully. As Stott's rallying cry proclaims, “Only when the Christian community lives by Christ's manifesto will the world be attracted and God be glorified. So when Jesus calls us to himself, it is to this that he calls us. For he is the Lord of the counter-culture." (P.222)
- Sympathy for Jonah by David Benjamin Blower
This is a rare gem: a short but profoundly wise book about an oft-misunderstood prophet. Jonah’s story is one which we’re simultaneously over-familiar with and yet not well-versed in at all. As the subtitle makes clear, Jonah’s is a tale of “Humiliation, terror and the politics of enemy-love”. In a world of Brexit, Trump, Boris, greed and political instability, Blower’s prophetic voice is sorely needed and all Christians will benefit from reading this stand-out reflection on one of the most intriguing and complex Old Testament characters.
- Joseph by John Lennox
I always get excited when a new Lennox book hits the shops, having read everything he’s written. Although I wasn’t as blown-away by this as I was by his weightier account of the book of Daniel in Against the Flow, I still found this exploration of Joseph’s life exciting and inspiring. He places the story firmly in the broader context of the book of Genesis before tracing the story of Joseph, his father and brothers. The book is particularly strong on drawing out wider biblical themes from the narrative and showing how God’s interaction with Joseph and his family points forward to ultimate redemption in Jesus (the Seed Project - Gen 3: 15). There’s some particularly powerful teaching about forgiveness as well as God’s guidance and providence, and there are some interesting insights about the cultural context. Lennox is also careful to make applications of the text to our own cultural situation so that this isn’t just interesting information, but can help us in our own discipleship.
Posted by Anne Witton. Posted In : Books