New and Notable Books (July 2016)

When it comes to good books, we are spoiled. We have access to more good books than previous generations could have even dreamed of. That is true whether we want to read Christian Living books or read deep, academic works. Here is a round-up of some of the new and notables that have come across my desk in the past few weeks.

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Ephesians by Richard Phillips (A Mentor Expository Commentary). Richard Phillips has written some key volumes in the Reformed Expository Commentary series—Hebrews and John—and both have been of the highest quality. There is no reason to think his volume on Ephesians in the Mentor Expository Commentary will be any different and, in fact, with comes with commendations by Derek Thomas, Guy Waters and others. Thomas says it “easily rises to the top of recommendable books on Ephesians.” Here’s hoping it quickly makes its way to Logos. (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)

John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion: A Biography by Bruce Gordon. The publisher says this: “John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion is a defining book of the Reformation and a pillar of Protestant theology. First published in Latin in 1536 and in Calvin’s native French in 1541, the Institutes argues for the majesty of God and for justification by faith alone. The book decisively shaped Calvinism as a major religious and intellectual force in Europe and throughout the world. Here, Bruce Gordon provides an essential biography of Calvin’s influential and enduring theological masterpiece, tracing the diverse ways it has been read and interpreted from Calvin’s time to today.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)

What Christians Ought to Believe by Michael Bird. I like the look of this one, though I haven’t been able to dive into it yet. The publisher says, “Bringing together theological commentary, tips for application, and memorable illustrations, What Christians Ought to Believe summarizes the basic tenets of the Christian faith using the Apostle’s Creed as its entryway. After first emphasizing the importance of creeds for the formation of the Christian faith, each chapter, following the Creed’s outline, introduces the Father, the Son, and the Spirit and the Church. An appendix includes the Apostles’ Creed in the original Latin and Greek.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)

Michelangelo for Kids: His Life and Ideas by Simonetta Carr. I have appreciated many of Carr’s books and am glad to see this one. “Michelangelo Buonarroti—known simply as Michelangelo—has been called the greatest artist who has ever lived. His impressive masterpieces astonished his contemporaries and remain some of today’s most famous artworks. Young readers will come to know Michelangelo the man as well as the artistic giant, following his life from his childhood in rural Italy to his emergence as a rather egotistical teenager to a humble and caring old man. They’ll learn that he did exhausting, back-breaking labor to create his art yet worked well, even with humor, with others in the stone quarry and in his workshop. Michelangelo for Kids offers an in-depth look at his life, ideas, and accomplishments, while providing a fascinating view of the Italian Renaissance and how it shaped and affected his work.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)

The Life We Never Expected: Hopeful Reflections on the Challenges of Parenting Children with Special Needs by Andrew and Rachel Wilson. As one whose life has been impacted by special needs, I can attest that there are too few Christians books on the subject. “Sometimes life throws you a curveball. Andrew and Rachel Wilson know what it means to live a life they never expected. As the parents of two children with special needs, their story mingles deep pain with deep joy in unexpected places. With raw honesty, they share about the challenges they face on a daily basis—all the while teaching what it means to weep, worship, wait, and hope in the Lord. Offering encouragement rooted in God’s Word, this book will help you cling to Jesus and fight for joy when faced with a life you never expected.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)

Rooted: Theology for Growing Christians by J.A. Medders & Brandon Smith. “In Rooted, Medders and Smith make theology practical for Christians who want to grow in their faith. Rooted covers the most basic and crucial areas of theology: the Trinity, Scripture, redemption in Christ, and eternity. The authors bring the deeper things of God to light, but without the complexities often associated with theological works. Whether you read this book on your own or with a group with friends, you will have a better understanding of theology and why it matters for your life.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)

Preaching Illustrations from Church History by Ron Prosise. “Preacher and homiletics professor Steve Brown once said, “If you get one good illustration out of an illustration book, it’s worth every dime you paid for it. Preaching Illustrations from Church History is a ready reference of over four hundred choice illustrations for use in preaching and teaching.” Here’s what John MacArthur says about it: “This is a priceless treasury of illustrative vignettes culled from church history. The anecdotes themselves make profitable, edifying reading. As sermon illustrations, they are provocative and effective. Their greatest benefit is that they will promote a deeper interest and a more thorough knowledge of church history among pastors and lay people alike. … This is by far the best of all the recent illustration books I have seen.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)