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.
Jonah & Obadiah (Hearing the Message of Scripture). Hearing the Message of Scripture is a new Old Testament commentary series edited by Daniel Block and published by Zondervan. The first two volumes cover Jonah (written by Kevin J. Youngblood) and Obadiah (written by Daniel Block). Here is a description of the series: “With careful analysis and interpretation rooted in a study of Hebrew, this addition to the Hearing the Message of Scripture series tracks the flow of argument in the Old Testament book[s], showing that how a biblical author says something is just as important as what they say. Through a set of distinctive features, the Hearing the Message of Scripture series serves pastors and teachers in their study of the Old Testament, helping them better understand and better convey the meaning behind each biblical text.” (Jonah: Amazon, Westminster Books; Obadiah: Amazon, Westminster Books)
How to Stay Christian in Seminary by David Mathis & Jonathan Parnell. Here’s a book to hand to that young man before he heads off to seminary. I’ve seen enough seminarians go off the rails to know it’s an important topic. “Seminary is exhilarating … and dangerous. Seminary can be thrilling, with the potential to inspire and equip church leaders for a lifetime of faithful ministry. But it’s not without its risks. For many who have ignored the perils, seminary has been crippling. But with an extra dose of intentionality, and God’s help, this season of preparation can invigorate your affections for Jesus. How to Stay Christian in Seminary takes a refreshingly honest look at the seminarian’s often-neglected devotional life, offering real-world advice for students eager to survive seminary with a flourishing faith.“ (Amazon, Westminster Books)
Preparing Your Teens for College: Faith, Friends, Finances, and Much More by Alex Chediak. “Will my teens’ faith be strong enough to withstand the tests of college? Will they focus on their studies or squander their free time? Will they form healthy friendships or join the wrong crowd? Dr. Chediak has watched too many college students flounder over these and other issues. Sadly, 44 percent of those who start off at a four-year college will not complete their degree in six years. At a time when college has never been more expensive, too many of our children are failing. What makes the difference? Character, a strong faith, and a willingness to delay gratification. And where is that learned? Ideally, at home. In this book, Alex will give you everything you need to help your teens not only successfully navigate the college years but also real life. Alex covers all the hot-button issues: dating, premarital sex, roommates, grades, career guidance, God, and much more. You won’t want to be without this essential survival manual for college.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)
Good Mood Bad Mood: Help and Hope for Depression and Bipolar Disorder by Charles Hodges. Shepherd Press has brought us lots of good and helpful books in the past, and this looks like no exception. “Depression and bipolar disorder are two of the most common diagnoses made in medicine today. Good Mood, Bad Mood examines whether we are in an epidemic or if we have simply misdiagnosed common sadness as depression. Current research in the medical community seems to indicate that the criteria we use to diagnose depression has resulted in an increased and incorrect labeling of common sadness as depression. While medical treatment is now the commonly accepted way to deal with pain and sadness, its promise has not been fulfilled. In Good Mood, Bad Mood, Dr. Charles Hodges offers an explanation to help the reader see the importance of sadness and the hope that God gives us in His Word.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)
Discovering the Joy of a Clear Conscience by Christopher Ash. I am intrigued by the subject matter of this one because I don’t know of many books that deal with conscience except in a passing manner. “Conscience is a neglected word that not many of us take seriously. But have you ever considered examining your conscience as part of daily life? What if doing this were the only way to know the joy of feeling clean inside? Is such joy possible without self-righteousness or even self-deception? Christopher Ash argues that it is, wonderfully possible, through the good news of Jesus Christ. Here is an invitation to rediscover your conscience and what the Bible has to say about it. Ash examines what the conscience is, what a guilty conscience tells us, the choice our conscience presents us, and the conscience’s role as a guide, to offer us the pure joy of a clear conscience day after day.” (Amazon)