Every year anticipation lingers heavily as summer draws nearer. With the prospect of ‘more’ time come plans for family vacations and relaxation. For many this relaxation includes opportunities to read. It is commonplace for many well-known Christian leaders and bloggers to release a summer reading list. Generally I have tried to avoid doing this myself for two reasons. Much of my reading includes a mixture of Christian ‘classics’ read by many others that I myself have not read, so they are of no great interest to many who are seeking to read newer books and books from other disciplines (since the rest of the year is focused on the heavier theological reading). Additionally, the lists by others are great resources and so there is no need for yet another voice (i.e. Al Mohler’s annual list). However, as I was planning my summer reading, I was excited about some of the prospects and thought it would be fun (and hopefully beneficial) to share with you.
As you look through the list, I am compelled to say that in my opinion, reading is one of the best habits for any person to develop. Leading a person into things yet unconsidered, reading books are a great gift of God that can be used to develop and inspire His children. In fact, books can impact us in the following ways:
- To Aide in Learning: Reading books helps us to learn. Sometimes we learn about historical events. Other times we learn more about Scripture or God, among many other things.
- To Aide in Maturing: Not only should books aide in learning, but much of that learning, especially when it is related to biblical studies, is meant to be put into action. Knowledge applied becomes wisdom in the Christian life.
- To Aide in Understanding: Finally reading helps us to understand perspectives of people in various disciplines. It does not mean we have to agree, but it simply means we are informed as to their mindset. Ultimately this can help guide our defenses and offenses when necessary.
With that said then, I hope the my own reading list will be an encouragement to you.
Some Notes About My Own Reading:
For 2016, I have been utilizing Tim Challies’ 2016 Reading Challenge sheet (click here to view it). I don’t necessarily need to be challenged to read, however, I have found that this list compels me to spread my reading out more and read from a wider variety. So as I share the list, keep in mind that I am trying to gear many of my books towards the fulfillment of one of the incomplete recommendations in the challenge.
You will find that my reading lists tend to follow several primary areas: History, literature, theology, church life, biblical studies, cultural studies, and purely pleasure (these are reserved for my fun reading that I don’t necessarily spend much time reading through). I have noted the section of the Challies challenge that each book fulfills in parentheses after the book name. For your convenience, I have also included links for each book.
First off, there are three books I have been working through for quite some time that I am hoping to complete this summer.
- Return of the King: Lord of the Rings ~ by J.R.R. Tolkien: (A book by an author with an initials in their name): I am one of the few who have never read Tolkien’s well-known work so I have been working my way through the books this year.
- The Story of Christian Theology ~ by Roger Olson: (a book used as a seminary textbook or winner of an ECPA Christian book award): Another book I have been working through. Originally used as a textbook, we weren’t required to read the whole 700 pages, so I started it over and plan to finish it all.
- John Adams ~ David McCullough: (a book by David McCullough)
- Holiness of God ~ R.C. Sproul: (A book someone says ‘changed my life’)
The following are books that I hope to complete throughout the month of July.
- Operation Thunderbolt ~ Saul David: (a historical book): The book is about Israel’s daring assault in 1976 when an Air France from Tel Aviv to Paris had been hijacked by terrorists.
- Mansfield Park ~ Jane Austen: (A book by Jane Austen)
- The Whole Christ ~ Sinclair Ferguson: (A book published in 2016)
- What Did You Expect? ~ Paul Tripp: (A book about marriage)
- 10 Most Important Things to Say to a Catholic ~ Ron Rhodes: (A book about worldview): Doin ministry in a strong catholic area, I was curious to read Rhodes’ points in this book.
- Golden Buddha ~ Clive Cussler: (A novel set in a country not your own): I recently discovered Clive Cussler and was curious to read more from him.
- Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller St. ~ Ron Chernow: (A biogrophy of a world leader)
- Julius Caesar ~ William Shakespeare: (A play by William Shakespeare)
- What We Believe ~ R.C. Sproul: (A book about church history): This book covers belief in the Apostle’s Creed.
- Lectures to my Students ~ Charles Spurgeon: (A book about preaching): Spurgeon’s classical work on preaching. I’ve been looking forward to this book for a long time.
- Argentina: A Modern History ~ Jill Hedges: (A book about a country or city): Having moved to Argentina I was curious more about its history (there is a lot of older history of the country I don’t know) so I searched for a book. Frankly, it was difficult to find one that covered a broad scope of their history without any bias. After much searching, this is the book I finally settled on.
- Sue Barton: Visiting Nurse ~ Helen Boylston (A book recommended by a family member): My wife is a nurse and likes the Sue Barton series, so I wanted to to give it a try for her. She recommended this book, even though it’s not the first in the series.