I am in the unique and enjoyable position of receiving copies of most of the latest and greatest Christian books and I like to provide regular roundups of some of the best and brightest of the bunch. Of all the books I have received recently, here are the ones that appear most noteworthy.
Christianity & World Religions: An Introduction to the World’s Major Faiths by Derek Cooper. I studied world religions as a college student and was so discouraged by the ridiculous text. This one looks immeasurably better; I plan to read it before long. “Derek Cooper examines the rival worldviews found in Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, Judaism, Islam, and irreligion. He engages these worldviews from a Christian perspective, first by showing how the biblical authors engaged other religions and then by surveying the way Christian theologians have done so. Each chapter contains six parts: (i) a creation story, (ii) the religion s historical origin, (iii) its beliefs, (iv) religious writings, (v) worship practices, (vi) as well as Christian reflections on the religion. For those who would like to read more, the appendix includes lists of helpful primary and secondary books.” (Learn more and buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books.)
Better than the Beginning: Creation in Biblical Perspective by Richard Barcellos. Barcellos explains why this is a unique and notable book on a much-discussed subject: “In one sense, this is not a typical book on creation. Many books on creation deal with evolution, the length of the days of creation, and ethics in light of creation. These are worthy subjects and I do cover these things in this book. However, the doctrine of creation is much more inclusive in the Bible. Things that we think demand front-and-center attention do not get such by the Bible itself. As the title of the book seeks to display, the beginning is not the end of creation. Creation had a goal intended by God to be attained by man, but man failed. However, God will see to it that the original goal is reached. Creation, therefore, was intended to be a means to an end. The end is what God had in mind all along. The end is not plan B or even plan A. It is simply the plan.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon.)
Bible Study: A Student’s Guide by Jon Nielson. This may be just the thing for the graduate. “Have you ever been to a Bible study that didn t have much Bible or study at all? Without a proper understanding of how to do it, students can be disappointed or scared away from studying the Bible. So what is Bible study and can it work for high schoolers? No stranger to teaching the Bible to teenagers, Jon Nielson confirms that real, meaningful Bible study is not only possible for students, but important. He takes students seriously and expects them to take their faith seriously. Unpacking five truths about the Bible that it is God speaking, is powerful, is understandable, is literary, and is one story he demonstrates how the Bible should be studied and how teenagers themselves can lead that study.” (Learn more and buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books.)
Couples of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study to Draw You Closer to God and Each Other by Robert & Bobbie Wolgemuth. Here is an interesting angle for a daily devotional: “In this scrapbook of your spiritual family tree, you have the faithful patriarchs and matriarchs who make you proud…and the scoundrels who you’d rather not talk about. But all of these ancestors, Couples of the Bible, will give you a snapshot of your biblical heritage. Some bring encouragement, others offer a stern warning. Through this 52-week devotional experience, you will be reacquainted with the obstacles and outcomes of familiar couples like Abraham and Sarah…and meet some lesser-known couples like Othniel and Aksah. Each week focuses on one couple of the Bible, from Adam and Eve to Christ and His Bride. You will read their story, learn about their cultural setting and explore how their story can teach you important truths about your own marriage. Each week you will be guided with questions applying biblical truth to your relationship with your spouse. And you’ll finish the week with a time of reflection, thanksgiving and prayer. Couples of the Bible will teach you how God guided couples in the past and will encourage you to trust in his faithfulness for your marriage.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon.)
One Bible, Many Versions: Are All Translations Created Equal? by Dave Brunn. I have been slowly reading through this one and enjoying how Brunn dismantles what you think you know about Bible translations. “What makes a Bible translation faithful? Is one version superior to others? Do we really need more than one translation? How can answering these questions help us become better Bible readers? Dave Brunn has been involved in Bible translation work around the world for many years. From the perspective of this on-the-ground experience in different cultures he helps us sort out the many competing claims for various English Bible translations. By giving us a better understanding of the process of translation, Brunn helps us read and understand Scripture more clearly. He demonstrates how the variety of translations enables us to grasp more fully the meaning of the biblical text. This clear, readable and informative work will be of special interest to pastors, undergraduate and seminary students, missionaries, Bible translators, Bible study leaders and anyone involved in Christian ministry.” (Learn more and buy it at Amazon.)
And how about you? Are there some new and notable books that you’ve added to your reading list?