Recommended Books for New Believers (for Anyone!)

Here are a few recommended books to read particularly if you are a new believer. However, these are good books for any Christian to read.

I have listed the books in an order that should build a solid foundation of the Christian Gospel upon which our faith is built. What books would you recommend?

What is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert
Gospel by JD Greear
Gospel Primer for Christians by Milton Vincent
Gospel Deeps by Jared Wilson
Gospel-Centered Discipleship by Jonathan Dodson and Matt Chandler
Gospel as Center by various
Grace Transforming by Philip Ryken
A Hunger for God by John Piper
Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian
Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart by JD Greear
Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges
Living the Cross Centered Life by CJ Mahaney
Embracing Obscurity by Anonymous
Disciplines of a Godly Man by R. Kent Hughes
The Gospel for Real Life by Jerry Bridges
If God is Good by Randy Alcorn
The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges
The Transforming Power of the Gospel by Jerry Bridges
When People are Big and God is Small by Edward T. Welch
Who Do You Think You Are? by Mark Driscoll
The Work of Christ by RC Sproul
You Can Change by Tim Chester

Other recommendations:
Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church by Matt Chandler
Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem
Basic Christianity by John Stott
Reason for God by Tim Keller
Reasons for Belief by Norman Geisler
Why Church Matters by Joshua Harris
Everyday Church by Tim Chester

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Other recommendations:
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If God is Good: Developing a Theology of Suffering

Sadly, suffering is a fact of life. At one point or another, to one degree or another, you will face suffering. Suffering will consume your being.

It is never too late to develop a theology of suffering. We all need a proper foundation because it is not a question of if but when we will suffer (; ; ).

How do we develop a theology of suffering?

Read and study. Here are resources to help you in your pursuit of a good foundation in the theology of suffering.

  1. If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil by Randy Alcorn (Kindle edition)
  2. When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada (Kindle edition)
  3. Suffering and the Sovereignty of God by John Piper and Justin Taylor (Kindle edition)
  4. Kindle edition)
  5. O Love That Will Not Let Me Go: Facing Death with Courageous Confidence in God by David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Richard Baxter, Nancy Guthrie and John Piper
  6. A Lifetime of Wisdom: Embracing the Way God Heals You by Joni Eareckson Tada (Kindle edition)
  7. Why, O God?: Suffering and Disability in the Bible and the Church by Larry J. Waters, Roy B. Zuck, Randy Alcorn and Joni Eareckson Tada (Kindle edition)
  8. Disability and the Gospel: How God Uses Our Brokenness to Display His Grace by Michael S. Beates and Joni Eareckson Tada (Kindle edition)
  9. The God I Love: A Lifetime of Walking with Jesus by Joni Eareckson Tada (Kindle edition)
  10. Glorious Intruder: God’s Presence in Life’s Chaos by Joni Eareckson Tada (Kindle edition)

Do you have other books and resources? Please share!

Update: 1/15/2013
Don’t You Dare Be Caught Rejoicing with Those Who Weep, an interview with Joni Eareckson Tada and Marvin Olasky.


Listen

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, (ESV)


Listen

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, (ESV)


Listen

then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, (ESV)

Twenty-One Books on the Gospel

1. A Gospel Primer: for Christians by Milton Vincent

A Gospel Primer is a handy guide designed to help Christians experience the gospel more fully by preaching it to themselves every day.

2. Living the Cross Centered Life by CJ Mahaney

What Really Matters – Have the extremities taken over and left the core of your faith forgotten? Do you get confused by what you feel versus what is real? Let dynamic pastor C. J. Mahaney strip away the nonessentials and bring you back to the simplest, most fundamental reason for your faith: Jesus Christ.

3. The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges

Bridges invites Christian believers who are pursuing holiness to pause for a moment to consider the role of God’s grace in making such pursuit possible. Bridges urges the discernment of grace and the subsequent practice of the disciplines of commitment, conviction, choices, watching, and adversity.

4. Preaching Christ in All of Scripture by Edmund Clowney

Voicing one theme for the entire Bible and structuring all sermons around that idea may seem to be an impossible challenge. For veteran pastor and preaching professor Edmund Clowney it will not do to preach a text from either the Old or New Testaments without fully preaching its ultimate and primary focus—the person and work of Jesus Christ. He writes, “To see the text in relation to Christ is to see it in its larger context, the context of God’s purpose in revelation.”

5. Christ-Centered Preaching,: Redeeming the Expository Sermon by Bryan Chapell

This complete guide to expository preaching teaches the basics of preparation, organization, and delivery–the trademarks of great preaching. Chapell shows how expository preaching can reveal the redemptive aims of Scripture and offers a comprehensive approach to the theory and practice of preaching.

6. Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics: Foundations and Principles of Evangelical Biblical Interpretation by Graeme Goldsworthy

Graeme Goldsworthy examines the foundations and presuppositions of evangelical belief as it applies to the interpretation of the Bible. He then surveys the hermeneutical history of the Christian church in an attempt to see where alien approaches have deconstructed our way of reading Scripture. Finally, he reconstructs an evangelical hermeneutics rightly centered in the gospel and rightly influenced by the method of biblical theology.

7. The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones

“I would urge not just families with young children to get this book, but every Christian … I’d urge ministers to buy it and read it for themselves. It will improve their preaching.” ~Tim keller

8. Ethics, Preaching, and Biblical Theology (online) by John Frame

The tension between the already and the not-yet is the setting of New Testament ethical reflection. God has justified us in Christ and has given us his Spirit; yet sin remains and will not be completely destroyed until the final day. Nevertheless, the “already,” the definitive accomplishment of redemption in Christ is our motivation for obedience.

9. Machen’s Warrior Children (online) by John Frame

From 1923 to the present, the movement begun by J. Gresham Machen and Westminster Theological Seminary has supplied the theological leadership for the conservative evangelical Reformed Christians in the United States. Under that leadership, conservative Calvinists made a strong stand against liberal theology. But having lost that theological battle in the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., they turned inward to battle among themselves about issues less important—in some cases, far less important—than liberalism. This essay describes 21 of these issues, with some subdivisions, and offers some brief analysis and evaluations. It concludes by raising some questions for the Reformed community to consider: Was it right to devote so much of the church’s time and effort to these theological battles? Did the disputants follow biblical standards for resolution of these issues? Was the quality of thought in these polemics worthy of the Reformed tradition of scholarship? Should the Reformed community be willing to become more inclusive, to tolerate greater theological differences than many of the polemicists have wanted?

10. The Drama Of Doctrine: A Canonical-Linguistic Approach To Christian Theology by Kevin J. Vanhoozer

Observing a strange disappearance of doctrine within the church, Kevin Vanhoozer argues that there is no more urgent task for Christians today than to engage in living truthfully with others before God. He details how doctrine serves the church—the theater of the gospel—by directing individuals and congregations to participate in the drama of what God is doing to renew all things in Jesus Christ. Taking his cue from George Lindbeck and others who locate the criteria of Christian identity in Spirit-led church practices, Vanhoozer relocates the norm for Christian doctrine in the canonical practices, which, he argues, both provoke and preserve the integrity of the church’s witness as prophetic and apostolic.

11. The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story by Craig G. Bartholomew and Michael W. Goheen

The Bible is way more than a big book of isolated verses to claim for helping oneself spiritually. The Bible is the “story” of God’s unfolding plan of redemption throughout history, from creation in Genesis, and its fall into sin, and then climaxing in the new creation vision of Revelation ch. 21 and 22. This wonderful book shows this story from start to finish and shows how the biblical story of God’s salvation unfolds and holds together. This book has some truly eye opening material about what the Bible is all about, it should be required reading for anyone wanting to understand the Bible according to the Bible’s own thematic structure. Don’t miss this one!

12. God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Story-Line of the Bible by Vaughan Roberts

Sixty-six books written by forty people over nearly 2,000 years, in two languages and several different genres. A worldwide bestseller published in countless sizes and bindings, translations and languages. Sworn by in court, fought over by religious people, quoted in arguments. The Bible is clearly no ordinary book. How can you begin to read and understand it as a whole?In this excellent overview, Vaughan Roberts gives you the big picture–showing how the different parts of the Bible fit together under the theme of the kingdom of God. He provides both the encouragement and the tools to help you read the Bible with confidence and understanding. And he points you to the Bible’s supreme subject, Jesus Christ, and the salvation God offers through him.

13. Prayer And The Knowledge Of God: What The Whole Bible Teaches by Graeme Goldsworthy

Is it really possible to talk to God?
Does he listen to us?
How do we know what to say?
Will it make any difference if we pray?Prayer is central to Christian faith and life and such questions are fundamental. While much teaching on prayer adresses practical issues and is experience-oriented, Graeme Goldsworthy’s conviction is that good practice comes from a foundation of good biblical understanding.In this accessible and wide-ranging study, Goldsworthy explores the reality of God, the ministry of Jesus Christ, and our experience of being his redeemed people as the grounds for prayer, which he defines as “talking to God.”Using a biblical-theological approach, he examines the principles that lie behind particular texts in Scripture, and he maps out the “progress” of prayer from Genesis to Revelation. He explains the basis for prayer, its role in our fellowship with God, and what is involved in Christian prayer.Above all, Goldworthy’s desire is to encourage Christians in their praying, through a better understanding of, and reflection on, the “big story” of the whole Bible.

14. Preaching the Whole Bible As Christian Scripture: The Application of Biblical Theology to Expository Preaching by Kevin J. Vanhoozer

While strong, gospel-centered preaching abounds, many Christian pastors and lay preachers find it difficult to preach meaningfully from the Old Testament. This practical handbook offers help. Graeme Goldsworthy teaches the basics of preaching the whole Bible in a consistently Christ-centered way.

Goldsworthy first examines the Bible, biblical theology, and preaching and shows how they relate in the preparation of Christ-centered sermons. He then applies the biblical-theological method to the various types of literature found in the Bible, drawing out their contributions to expository preaching focused on the person and work of Christ.

Clear, complete, and immediately applicable, this volume will become a fundamental text for teachers, pastors, and students preparing for ministry.

15. Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road by Timothy Keller

There’s a lot of books out there on being missional. Most of them laud the theory of being missional. This one provides a good example (on a local and urban scale) of how to move toward being missional. Keller provides a strong theological case and some practical examples of how to live out ones faith.

16. Preaching Christ Today: The Gospel and Scientific Thinking by TF Torrance

Torrance presents a creative plea of genuinely fresh paleo orthodoxy addressing the way of preaching Jesus Christ and his message by returning to Christ centered teaching. Torrance is an advocate of biblical wholeness, through a renewed appreciation of a New Testament approached as an inseparably tuned evangelism and a theology based on the good news of the incarnate, crucified, and risen redeemer.

17. Holiness by Grace: Delighting in the Joy That Is Our Strength by Bryan Chapell

Although his purpose is “to explain the role of grace in sanctification,” Chapell, president of Covenant Theological Seminary, not only explains fundamental theological concepts, but gives them passion and life through colorful, often poignant illustrations. Chapell argues very carefully that God’s grace is the necessary foundation and source for all spiritual growth in the Christian life. He thoughtfully explores the deeply rooted human tendency to turn away from grace, seeking favor and blessing through our own efforts. But he also deals with tougher issues asking, for example, “Can the preaching of grace become an excuse for lawlessness?” He honestly confronts how church leaders are tempted to de-emphasize God’s grace in order to prevent chaos. Chapell gives new meaning to the idea of repentance, offers practical and helpful teaching on temptation, shows the often-overlooked role of grace in spiritual warfare, explains the positive role of suffering and paints an inspiring picture of God’s love and mercy.

18. The Mediation of Christ by TF Torrance

The continued attempt to make Jesus relevant to modern ways of thought has had the effect of obscuring him, for all the time we have been engaged in plastering upon the face of Jesus a mask of different gentile features which prevents us from seeing him and understanding him as he really is, as a Jew … We must go to school with Israel and share with it the painful transformation of its mind and soul which prepared it for the final mediation of God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ, if we ourselves are to break free from our assimilation to the patterns of this world and be transformed through the renewing of our mind in Christ, for only then will we be in a position to recognize, discern and appreciate what God wills to make known to us.

19. The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification: Growing in Holiness by Living in Union with Christ by Walter Marshall

That we may acceptably perform the duties of holiness and righteousness required in the law, our first work is to learn the powerful and effectual means by which we may attain to so great an end.

20. Worship, Community & the Triune God of Grace by James B Torrance

Here is a book that sets our worship, sacraments, communion and language of God back on track. In a day when refinement of method and quality of experience are the guiding lights for many Christians, James Torrance points us to the indispensable who of worship, the triune God of grace.

21. Renewal as a Way of Life: A Guidebook for Spiritual Growth by Richard Lovelace

Lovelace makes a good point about the theological integration of revealed truth and cultures. Too often, our spiritual growth models are very western in its approach without being in the context of our pluralistic Asian cultures.

More to come…