Came across a list of 100 books that Christians should own . I was impressed by the authoritative nature of the recommendations in terms of study books on the Bible – highly useful rather than trawling myself through lots of unnecessary pages. Would be interested to know anyone who particularly likes certain expositors or volumes on particular books of the Bible.
Myself, I have commentaries on my shelf that I’m grateful for. Such as Douglas Moo on Romans (partly because it was so expensive!), and John Stott on Acts in the BST. I also have a hardback Word Biblical Commentary on John by Beasley-Murray that I come back to again regularly. But why, I ask myself, do I possess no commentary on Mark? And let’s not get started on Ephesians and many Old Testament books (all I have are Numbers by Brown, Samuel by Gordon and Evans, Job by Anderson, Daniel by Lucas and Isaiah – although I was pleased to see that according to John Brand Alec Motyer’s treatment of Isaiah is the commentary of choice. I have to say that one book I have been especially pleased to acquire was D.A. Carson, New Testament Commentary Survey, which did a similar job (but in more detail) to the link I have given above.
Some will say, but there’s no substitute for reading the Bible for yourself. Indeed there isn’t, but unless you have ever poked a nose inside a decent commentary, you may never truly appreciate the riches that are lodged inside the Bible. It really is a text like no other. Many books give rise to admiration, but only the Bible gives rise to true worship. Even just the New Testament is rich in help for us as believers. One gospel could feed you for a lifetime. There is a surfeit of food, an embarrassingly groaning table that we can come to every day.
The best books have always drawn me back to the Bible anyway. And that’s why I’m glad for them. Jonathan Edwards (who I need to read more) had a formidable and comprehensive grasp of Scripture. Stand on the shoulders of giants! Why not?
Brand quotes John Piper at the end of his list: “For your own soul and for the life of your church, fight for time to feed your soul with rich reading. Almost all the forces in our culture are trivialising. If you want to stay alive to what is great and glorious and beautiful and eternal, you will have to fight for time to look through the eyes of others who were in touch with God.” Never be satisfied with the thin level of spirituality of the world and culture around you. Always ensure that you are feeding on the richest of fare, because you can. Because God has made it possible!