Friday, January 4, 2013

List of Twelve Top Books

In Sunday's message, I encouraged folks to make an intentional effort to grow in Christ this year. The text was from Paul's own testimony in Philippians 3:7-16, and the critical point was that "pressing toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" implied specific, strenuous effort.

It is this passage in which we see clearly that sanctification is, as Jerry Bridges puts it, a "joint-venture" between us and God. Paul says in verse 12, "I press on so that I may lay hold of [our part of our own sanctification, notice the implication of effort] that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus [God's part of our sanctification]."

In any case, among the practical suggestions that I gave for areas of growth in which to strive in this new year, was a recommended reading list of good books. I've been asked to provide this list, so here it is. Note that the list is weighted heavily toward theology in general, and the holiness of God in particular. While it contains some samples of application (Priolo, Viars, Metzger, and one of Bridges), these books are more about knowing God than they are practical Christian living.

There are multiple reasons for that. One of them arises out of the text. Paul speaks in verse 8 of "knowing Christ my Lord," and verse 10, "that I may know him." Our deepest errors are not failures of practice, but a failure to know God, and the truth about God, properly. I would argue that all failures of practice can ultimately be traced back to a defective knowledge of God, and a defective love for Him.

In no particular order, here's the list:

There are many excellent books that could be added to this list. Most of these on the list are books I find myself turning to over and over again. A few are recent additions that I believe are "best in class" or close to it.

God has given the church teachers (Ephesians 4:11). Use them. Pick them well, pick them carefully, but use the teachers with which God has blessed His church.

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