Gospel Relevance

Gospel-Centered Resources For The Gospel-Driven Life

Book Blurbs (January – April 2018)

Book blurbs is a segment on the blog where I list books I’m reading along with a brief blurb about each book. The aim is to help you identify new authors and potential books of interests. Maybe I didn’t read every word of every page, but I read enough to mention them. You can find what I read in January-April of 2018 below. You can find all book blurbs posts here.

bring the books

Book Blurbs (January-April 2018)

1. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen (Started in 2017). I bought this book because they say it’s the best book on productivity ever written. I like it. Problem is, there is so much information here that it is impossible to digest all in one sitting. I’m going to have to read this one again.

2. From Weakness to Strength: 8 Vulnerabilities That Can Bring Out the Best in Your Leadership by Scott Sauls. This is a book about leadership. I appreciated Scott’s vulnerability and transparency in the book, even if at times the warm, fuzzy language didn’t inspire me as it perhaps would for others. A helpful book nonetheless.

3. On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. A classic. I still think On Writing Well is my favorite book on writing, but Stephen’s book is superb. Books like these are such a pleasure to read since I’m reading from someone who is a world-class expert in their field.

4. The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together by Jared C. Wilson. A breath of fresh air. Loved the chapter on the church. It has forced me to pray, “Lord, help me to fight against the wish-dream church” in my private devotions. I’m wondering if this book could have used just a little more emphasis on personal holiness, but that’s just a slight quibble for an otherwise great book.

5. Church History, Volume Two: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day by John D. Woodbridge and Frank A. James III. This book tackles the Reformation to modern day church history — from Calvin to Billy Graham. It reads like, well, a history textbook. This will bore some, but I think the authors do a good job, although I haven’t read all of it.

6. The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture’s Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Michael J. Kruger. This book is about debunking a false and extremely popular thesis held by Walter Bauer and Bart Ehrman. The authors believe that orthodoxy (right belief) precedes heresy (teaching that is not aligned with orthodoxy). However, “Bauer reversed this notion by proposing that heresy – that is, a variety of beliefs each of which could legitimately claim to be authentically ‘Christian’ – preceded the notion of orthodoxy as a standard set of Christian doctrinal beliefs.” This book provides insights to an important theological issue that I otherwise would have not known.

7. Acts (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries) by I. Howard Marshall. Loved it. Howard’s writing is excellent. This book helped provided clarity to some confusing questions I’ve had on the Holy Spirit for a while.

8. The Nuts and Bolts of Church Planting: A Guide for Starting Any Kind of Church by Aubrey Malphurs. If you’re interested in church planting, and you’ve never read anything on the subject, read this book. If, however, you’re interested in church planting and you’ve already read tons on the subject, I doubt you’ll find anything new here.

9. An Introduction to the Old Testament Historical Books by David Howard Jr. The OT Historical Books are Joshua-Esther. There is much gold in this part of the Bible that the church sometimes neglects. This book will help you find some of that gold.

10. Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ: A Pauline Theology by Thomas Schreiner. One of the best Baptist theologians gives you a better understanding of the Apostle Paul and what he believed.

11. Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God by Paul Copan. Super helpful. If you’ve ever had difficult questions about the Old Testament — like, why is God killing so many people? — then check out this book. A helpful resource for adults, but also for those of you who work in student ministry and get nailed with the tough Old Testament questions.

12. An Introduction to the New Testament by D.A. Carson and Douglass Moo. “Introduction” in the title is sort of a misnomer since this feels like a giant of a book. Some of the arguements felt hard and even cumbersome to read. But if you can get past some of those long arguments, you’ll find some good stuff here. Definitely a helpful resource for pastors and serious theological students.

Other Book Lists

5 Books that Influenced Tim Keller During College 

The Christian Reader’s Resource Guide

Book Recommendations for Christians

10 Christian Books to Look Out for in 2018

You can find all articles categorized under “books” here.

About David Qaoud

David Qaoud (MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary) is associate pastor of Bethesda Evangelical Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and founder of gospelrelevance.com. His work has appeared on The Gospel Coalition, For the Church, and Banner of Truth. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and son. Learn more>