This is a list of books that have been especially impactful in my life and ministry.
Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture: The Application of Biblical Theology to Expository Preaching
By: Graeme Goldsworthy
While strong, gospel-centered preaching abounds, many Christian pastors and lay preachers find it difficult to preach meaningfully from the Old Testament. This practical handbook offers help. Graeme Goldsworthy teaches the basics of preaching the whole Bible in a consistently Christ-centered way.
Goldsworthy first examines the Bible, biblical theology, and preaching and shows how they relate in the preparation of Christ-centered sermons. He then applies the biblical-theological method to the various types of literature found in the Bible, drawing out their contributions to expository preaching focused on the person and work of Christ.
Clear, complete, and immediately applicable, this volume will become a fundamental text for teachers, pastors, and students preparing for ministry.
By: Graeme Goldsworthy
The massive diversity and complexity of the Bible can make it a daunting project for anyone to tackle. Getting a grasp on the unity of the Bible, its central message from Genesis to Revelation, helps immensely in understanding the meaning of any one book or passage. That is the goal of this book by Graeme Goldsworthy.
- How do the Old and New Testaments fit together?
- What is the point of biblical theology?
- What is the overall story of the Bible?
- What difference does it make?
Goldsworthy answers these questions with an integrated theology of both Old and New Testaments that avoids unnecessary technicalities. Concise, pithy chapters featuring dozens of charts, highlighted summaries and study questions make According to Plan an enormously useful book for understanding how the Bible fits together as the unfolding story of God’s plan for salvation.
By: Graeme Goldsworthy
Gospel and Kingdom is concerned with finding the gospel principles inherent in the Pentateuch and historical books of the Old Testament
James M. Hamilton Jr.
In Exodus 34 Moses asks to see God’s glory, and God reveals himself as a God who is merciful and just. James Hamilton Jr. contends that from this passage comes a biblical theology that unites the meta-narrative of Scripture under one central theme: God’s glory in salvation through judgment.
Hamilton begins in the Old Testament by showing that Israel was saved through God’s judgment on the Egyptians and the Caananites. God was glorified through both his judgment and mercy, accorded in salvation to Israel. The New Testament unfolds the ultimate display of God’s glory in justice and mercy, as it was God’s righteous judgment shown on the cross that brought us salvation. God’s glory in salvation through judgment will be shown at the end of time, when Christ returns to judge his enemies and save all who have called on his name.
Hamilton moves through the Bible book by book, showing that there is one theological center to the whole Bible. The volume’s systematic method and scope make it a unique resource for pastors, professors, and students.
Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ (New American Commentary Studies in Bible & Theology)
Ed: Tom Schreiner and Steve Wellum
Is believer’s baptism the clear teaching of the New Testament Scriptures? What are the historical and theological challenges to believer’s baptism? What are the practical applications for believer’s baptism today? Volume two in the NEW AMERICAN COMMENTARY STUDIES IN BIBLE & THEOLOGY (NACSBT) series for pastors, advanced Bible students, and other deeply committed laypersons addresses these compelling questions.
Indeed, Believer’s Baptism begins with the belief that believer’s baptism (as opposed to infant baptism or other faith proclaiming methods) is the clear teaching of the New Testament. Along the way, the argument is supported by written contributions from Andreas Kostenberger, Robert Stein, Thomas Schreiner, Stephen Wellum, Steve McKinion, Jonathan Rainbow, Shawn Wright, and Mark Dever.
Users will find this an excellent extension of the long-respected NEW AMERICAN COMMENTARY.
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.
By: Anthony Hoekema
According to Scripture, humankind was created in the image of God. Hoekema discusses the implications of this theme, devoting several chapters to the biblical teaching on God’s image, the teaching of philosophers and theologians through the ages, and his own theological analysis. Suitable for seminary-level anthropology courses, yet accessible to educated laypeople. Extensive bibliography, fully indexed.
By: D. A. Carson
At first thought, understanding the doctrine of the love of God seems simple compared to trying to fathom other doctrines like that of the Trinity or predestination. Especially since the overwhelming majority of those who believe in God view Him as a loving being.
That is precisely what makes this doctrine so difficult. The only aspect of God’s character the world still believes in is His love. His holiness, His sovereignty, His wrath are often rejected as being incompatible with a “loving” God. Because pop culture has so distorted and secularized God’s love, many Christians have lost a biblical understanding of it and, in turn, lost a vital means to knowing who God is.
The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God seeks to restore what we have lost. In this treatment of many of the Bible’s passages regarding divine love, noted evangelical scholar D. A. Carson not only critiques sentimental ideas such as “God hates the sin but loves the sinner,” but provides a compelling perspective on the nature of God and why He loves as He does. Carson blends his discourse with discussion of how God’s sovereignty and holiness complete the biblical picture of who He is and how He loves.
In doing away with trivialities and cliches, this work gets to the heart of this all-important doctrine from an unflinching evangelical perspective. Yet it does so without losing its personal emphasis: for in understanding more of the comprehensive nature of God’s love as declared in His Word, you will come to understand God and His unending love for you more completely.
By: T. D. Alexander
We need to know who Jesus is. But where can we turn to find out? Many people look only to the New Testament for answers. But reader of The Servant King will find that the Old Testament, beginning with its very first pages, paints a portrait of the Messiah, the Saviour of the world: where he will come from, what he will be like and what he will do. By the time we reach the New Testament, much of the portrait has emerged, so that the Jesus we encounter is not a stranger. We are able to see, like the first disciples, that he is the Messiah already promised, the Servant King. With great skill, Desmond Alexander helps us see the portrait’s first brush-strokes being laid down in Genesis and more being added as the Old Testament story unfolds. Then, as he guides us through the New Testament, we discover how the portrait is completed revealing Jesus in all his glory. This book brings the whole picture into view. It helps us see who Jesus was, where he stood in the plans of God and what he was sent to do. If we read with care and faith, The Servant King will help us enter the richness of God’s Word, and we will understand better, not just who Jesus was, but who he is today. “The Servant King is written with the sort of authority only a leading Old Testament specialist can command; but its deep learning is not allowed to intrude and the book has all the charm and helpfulness of a piece of enthusiastic Bible study, presented with freshness and accuracy.” -Alec Motyer, Trinity College, Bristol T. D. Alexander (PhD, Queen’s University, Belfast) is director of the Magee Institute for Christian Training at Union Theological College in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is also the author of Paradise to the Promised Land.
By: Robert Plummer
In 40 Questions about Interpreting the Bible, New Testament Professor Dr. Robert L. Plummer tackles the major questions that persons ask about reading and undestanding the Bible.
- Does the Bible contain error?
- Were the ancient manuscripts of the Bible transmitted accurately?
- What is the best English Bible translation?
- Is the Bible really all about Jesus?
- Do all the commands of the Bible apply today?
- Why can’t people agree on what the Bible means?
- How do we interpret historical narrative?
- How do we interpret the Psalms?
- What does the Bible tell us about the future?
- What is the “Theological Interpretation of Scripture”?
- and many others
By: David Helm
In this accessible volume—written for preachers and preachers in training—pastor David Helm outlines what must be believed and accomplished to become a faithful expositor of God’s Word.
In addition to offering practical, step-by-step guidance for preachers, this short book will equip all of us to recognize good preaching when we hear it.
By: Gary Millar and Phil Campbell
Poor Eutychus might have tumbled off his perch in Acts 20, but it’s humbling to notice that what took Paul many hours of preaching to achieve – near-fatal napping in one of his listeners – takes most preachers only a few minutes on a Sunday. Saving Eutychus will help you save your listeners from such a fate. Written by an Aussie and an Irishman with very different styles who share a passion for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, Saving Eutychus delivers fresh, honest, faithful and practical insights into preaching the whole word of God, Sunday by Sunday, without being dull. “This book deserves to be included in the ‘must read’ category for preachers… When my congregation asks me to explain the improvement in my preaching, I will ask, “Have you read the one by the Irishman and the Aussie?” – Alistair Begg, Senior Pastor, Parkside Church, Cleveland, Ohio
By: John Piper
According to Warren Wiersbe, The Supremacy of God in Preaching “calls us back to a biblical standard for preaching, a standard exemplified by many of the pulpit giants of the past, especially Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgeon.” This newly revised edition is an essential guide for preachers who want to stir the embers of revival. Piper focuses his study on the example of Jonathan Edwards as an illustration of a leader who submitted to God.
By: Wayne McDill
In this newly expanded second edition of 12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching, Dr. Wayne McDill draws on decades of experience as a preacher and homiletics professor to inspire other preachers to live up to their God-given potential.
Here are twelve proven ways to pack more content and effectiveness into every sermon, covering all of the bases from general preparation to the end result of increasing each listener’s faith. Recent seminary graduates and seasoned pastors alike will identify skills that need personal improvement, and McDill encourages them to strengthen such areas at their own pace and in whatever order they feel is best.
Every chapter in this new edition has been revised and updated. Also included are additional worksheet helps and sermon examples.
By: George Whitefield
Revivalist and preacher George Whitefield was born on December 16, 1714, in Gloucester, England. The youngest of seven children, he was only two when his father died. He eventually finished grammar school and enrolled at Oxford at the age of 17. Those university years became the turning point of his life. Drawn into a group called the “Holy Club,” he met John and Charles Wesley and was converted to Christ in 1735. Whitefield was ordained in 1736 when he completed his Oxford degree. The first of his many trips to America was made in 1738, when he spent a short time in Georgia in the mission post vacated by John Wesley. Returning to England, Whitefield found that his connection with the Wesleys and the evangelical character of his preaching had erased his popularity with Church of England clerics. Excluded from their pulpits, Whitefield began a series of open-air meetings in Bristol, moving on to exhort tens of thousands of people in London’s Moorfields and Kennington Common. He persuaded John Wesley to carry on the work, and he returned to America, where he was an influential figure in the Great Awakening. Whitefield was an astounding preacher from the beginning. Though slender of build, he stormed in the pulpit as if he were a giant. It was said that “his voice startled England like a trumpet blast.” His messages were gospel-focused, simple and clear, bold, descriptive, earnest, and filled with pathos and emotion. Some calculate that he preached more than 18,000 sermons–and fewer than ninety have survived in any form. Among those, most notable are “The Seed of the Woman and the Seed of the Serpent” (Genesis 3:15); “Walking with God” (Genesis 5:24); “Christ, the Believer’s Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30); “The Potter and the Clay” (Jeremiah 8:1-6); and “The Temptation of Christ” (Matthew 4:1-11).
By: Michael Lawrence
Capitol Hill Baptist Church associate pastor Michael Lawrence contributes to the IXMarks series as he centers on the practical importance of biblical theology to ministry. He begins with an examination of a pastor’s tools of the trade: exegesis and biblical and systematic theology. The book distinguishes between the power of narrative in biblical theology and the power of application in systematic theology, but also emphasizes the importance of their collaboration in ministry.
Having laid the foundation for pastoral ministry, Lawrence uses the three tools to build a biblical theology, telling the entire story of the Bible from five different angles. He puts biblical theology to work in four areas: counseling, missions, caring for the poor, and church/state relations. Rich in application and practical insight, this book will equip pastors and church leaders to think, preach, and do ministry through the framework of biblical theology.
By: Mark Dever
You may have read books on this topic before—but not like this one. Instead of an instruction manual for church growth, this classic text offers tried and true principles for assessing the health of your church. Whether you’re a pastor, a leader, or an involved member of your congregation, studying the nine marks of a healthy church will help you cultivate new life and well-being within your own church for God’s glory.
This classic guide has been recently revised to include a new foreword as well as updated content, illustrations, and appendices.
By: Brad House
Community within the church today is hemorrhaging. Attention spans are dwindling, noise levels are increasing, and we can’t seem to find time for real relationships.
The answer to such social fragmentation can be found in small groups, and yet the majority of small groups—at least in the traditional sense—are often not the intentional, transformational community we really want and need. Somehow we need to get our groups off life support and into authentic community.
Pastor Brad House helps us to re-imagine what gospel-centered community looks like and shares from his experience leading and reproducing healthy small groups. With wisdom and candor, House challenges us to think carefully about our own groups and to take steps toward cultivating communities that are able to glorify Jesus, bless one another, and participate in the mission of God.
By: Richard Baxter
Richard Baxter was vicar of Kidderminster from 1647 to 1661. In an introduction to this reprint, Dr. J.I. Packer describes him as ‘the most outstanding pastor, evangelist and writer on practical and devotional themes that Puritanism produced.’ His ministry transformed the people of Kidderminster from ‘an ignorant, rude and revelling people’ to a godly, worshipping community. These pages, first prepared for a Worcestershire association of ministers in 1656, deal with the means by which such changes are ever to be accomplished. In his fervent plea for the discharge of the spiritual obligations of the ministry, Baxter, in the words of his contemporary, Thomas Manton, ‘came nearer the apostolic writings than any man in the age.’ A century later Philip Doddridge wrote, ‘The Reformed Pastor is a most extraordinary book…many good men are but shadows of what (by the blessing of God) they might be, if the maxims and measures laid down in that incomparable Treatise were strenuously pursued’.
Today, Baxter’s principles, drawn from Scripture, and reapplied in terms of modern circumstances, will provide both ministers and other Christians with challenge, direction and help.
By: Leonard Ravenhill
This is a no-compromise call to biblical revival and spiritual excellence that expounds on the disparity between today’s church and the church of Acts.
By: Mark Dever
Evangelism is not only misunderstood, it is often unpracticed. Many Christians want to share the gospel with others, but because those Christians don’t grasp the fundamentals of witnessing, they feel intimidated and incapable of sharing the truth of the gospel.
Yet those believers fail to recognize that God has already established who and how we are to evangelize. In The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, Dr. Mark Dever seeks to answer the four basic questions about evangelism that many Christians ask: Who should we evangelize? How should we evangelize? What is evangelism? Why should we evangelize? In his answers Dever draws on New Testament truths and helps believers apply those truths in practical ways. As readers understand the fundamentals of evangelism, they will begin to develop a culture of evangelism in their lives and their local churches.
By: Hunter Baker
This ambitious work offers one of the most comprehensive attacks on secularism yet attempted. Hunter Baker argues that advocates of secularism misunderstand the borders between science, religion, and politics and cannot solve the problem of religious difference.
University scholars have spent decades subjecting religion to critical scrutiny. But what would happen if they turned their focus on secularism? Hunter Baker seeks the answer to that question by putting secularism under the microscope and carefully examining its origins, its context, its claims, and the viability of those claims.
The result of Baker’s analysis is The End of Secularism. He reveals that secularism fails as an instrument designed to create superior social harmony and political rationality to that which is available with theistic alternatives. Baker also demonstrates that secularism is far from the best or only way to enjoy modernity’s fruits of religious liberty, free speech, and democracy. The End of Secularism declares the demise of secularism as a useful social construct and upholds the value of a public square that welcomes all comers, religious and otherwise, into the discussion. The message of The End of Secularism is that the marketplace of ideas depends on open and honest discussion rather than on religious content or the lack thereof.
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. Ultimately it reflects a division in the concept of truth itself, which functions as a gatekeeper, ruling Christian principles out of bounds in the public arena.
How can we unify our fragmented lives and recover spiritual power? With examples from the lives of real people, past and present, Pearcey teaches readers how to liberate Christianity from its cultural captivity. She walks readers through practical, hands-on steps for crafting a full-orbed Christian worldview.
Finally, she makes a passionate case that Christianity is not just religious truth but truth about total reality. It is total truth.
By: Kevin DeYoung
Because he doesn’t intend to… So says Kevin DeYoung in this punchy book about making decisions the godly way.
Many of us are listening for the still small voice to tell us what’s next instead of listening to the clear voice in Scripture telling us what’s now. God does have a will for your life, but it is the same as everyone else’s: Seek first the kingdom of God. And quit floundering.
With pastoral wisdom and tasteful wit, DeYoung debunks unbiblical ways of understanding God’s will and constructs a simple but biblical alternative: live like Christ. He exposes the frustrations of our waiting games and unfolds the freedom of finding God’s will in Scripture and then simply doing it.
This book is a call to put down our Magic 8-Balls and pick up God’s Word. It’s a call to get wisdom, follow Christ, be holy, and live freely. To just do something.
By: John Piper
We often pit thinking and feeling against each other, especially when it comes to the Christian experience. Glorifying God with our minds and hearts, however, is not either-or, but both-and. Focusing on the life of the mind will enable you to know God better, love him more, and care for the world. This book will help you think about thinking, and about how the heart and mind glorify God together.
The strength of Puritan character and life lay in prayer and meditation. In this practice the spirit of prayer was regarded as of first importance and the best form of prayer, for living prayer is the characteristic of genuine spirituality. Yet prayer is also vocal and may therefore on occasions be written. Consequently in the Puritan tradition there are many written prayers and meditations which constitute an important corpus of inspiring devotional literature. Too often ex tempore prayer lacks variety, order and definiteness. The reason for this lies partly in a neglect of due preparation. It is here that the care and scriptural thoroughness which others found necessary in their approach to God may be of help. This book has been prepared not to ‘supply’ prayers but to prompt and encourage the Christian as he treads the path on which others have gone before.
By: Tom Nettles
Tom Nettles has spent more than 15 years working on this magesterial biography of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the famous 19th century preacher and writer. More than merely a biography it covers his life, ministry and also provides an indepth survey of his theology.