Time is a scarce commodity — especially for me lately! My wife and I just recently bought our first house, so between moving, work, graduations, weddings, and taking care of a one-year-old, it’s been nigh-impossible to make time for studying and writing.
In light of that, I have to be pretty picky about what books I choose to invest my time in. This year, though, there’s been no shortage of great content to fill my must-read shelf with! Hopefully as we move into the dog days of summer I can squeeze in some good armchair time to finish these.
If you’re like me and you have a hankering for some solid summer theology reading, maybe this list will give you some inspiration. Here’s what I’m reading this year:
Inexpressible: Hesed and the Mystery of God’s Lovingkindness by Michael Card.
I had to pick this one up for two reasons. One is that I’ve actually had the privilege of meeting the author, back when he spoke at the college I attended. The second is that this book is an in-depth study of and meditation on one of the most important words in Scripture (and one that I find fascinating): the Hebrew word hesed.
It’s a word that has so much meaning in the original Hebrew that it’s almost untranslatable in English, and when it’s used of God it conveys an aspect of his character that’s so central to who he is, so astounding to try to comprehend, it’s almost . . . well, inexpressible.
Equal parts Bible word-study and devotional, Card’s book was a refreshing reminder of God’s deep and undeserved love for us.
A New Testament Theology by Craig L. Blomberg.
Blomberg is a scholar whose work I’ve really appreciated, particularly his works on the Gospels and his biblical theology of money and possessions. Now he’s added a complete New Testament theology to his already substantial body of work.
While there is no shortage of New Testament theologies out there, Blomberg’s work contributes to the conversation by focusing on the theme of fulfillment as the central focus of the New Testament. What was promised by God in the Old Testament has found fulfillment in the life, death, resurrection, and reign of Jesus Christ, and the entire New Testament bears witness to this truth in a variety of ways. I think this is a really helpful lens through which to unpack the theologies of the NT authors, and so far the book is pretty solid.
I also love the massive bibliography represented in the footnotes — there are a lot of works referenced here that I’ll be checking out in the future! Another cool bonus is that Blomberg spends a lot of time documenting the historical reliability of the NT writings before he goes into analyzing their theology, so this is just as valuable a resource for apologetics as it is for biblical theology.
For the Glory of God: Recovering a Biblical Theology of Worship by Daniel I. Block.
Worship is such a crucial element of the Christian life, and yet it is also one of the most misunderstood — or at least it’s one we don’t always reflect on enough. OT scholar Daniel Block seeks to correct this by offering the church this excellent book on what the Bible teaches about worship.
Judging by the table of contents, this book looks like a one-stop shop on biblical worship. Just look at some of the chapter titles: “Daily Life as Worship”; “Family Life and Work as Worship”; “Music as Worship”; “The Design and Theology of Sacred Space”; to name a few. Worship is a topic I haven’t studied/taught on in a while, so I’m very excited to dig into this one.
Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft.
I try to read at least one book on practical ministry/leadership every year, and for this year I’ll be checking out Leaders Who Last. Far too many Christian leaders end up in either the trap of burnout or the trap of compromise, so it’s essential that any current or would-be leader develop habits and practices that will help them stay the course. Kraft’s book looks like it’ll be a worthwhile resource for that endeavor. It’s divided into three sections, focusing on the foundations of a lasting leader, the formation of a lasting leader, and the fruitfulness of a lasting leader. I’ll especially be interested to read the chapters on “Priorities” and “Pacing.”
Faithful Presence: Seven Practices that Shape the Church for Mission by David E. Fitch.
This is a book that’s gotten a lot of praise, and judging by the summary it’s probably earned. As the title implies, Fitch writes to encourage churches with seven practical, concrete ways they can embody the gospel before an ever-more-skeptical, watching world. And rather than plugging for some new, catchy technique destined to become tomorrow’s old fad, the practices Fitch explores are all solidly rooted in ways the church has historically modeled the gospel most effectively, albeit updated to meet a new generation’s needs. It’s been on my to-read shelf for a while; hopefully it will have been worth the wait. Looks like a very timely message.
And that’s my summer reading list. What’s on yours?
And if you’ve read any of these already, let me know what you thought of them!
See you down the path.