This book is required reading for students at Asbury Seminary in a class titled “Biblical Narrative”. It is excellent and challenges the way we approach scripture. After explaining his Bible-as-a-story approach (not a systematic theology prooftext), McKnight applies his approach to issues of slavery, justice, and atonement theory. The latter third of the book is a balanced and thoughtful discussion of the Biblical text regarding women in ministry. Agree or disagree with his conclusions, it is a welcome addition to the discussion on how we determine which parts of scripture apply everywhere and in all times versus those parts that are limited in application to a particular time and place. Very much worth reading. (As is another McKnight book I loved The King Jesus Gospel.)
My annual list of books I’ve read this year… some good ones in here! What would you recommend I read in 2020?
Ready Player One, Earnest Cline.
The Elephant Whisperer, Lawrence Anthony
Hillbilly Elegy, JD Vance
Ministry/Spiritual (including seminary class texts):
The Class Meeting: Reclaiming a Forgotten Small Group Experience, Kevin Watson
When God Doesn’t Fix It, Laura Story
Feeding Your Soul: A Quiet Time Handbook, Jean Flemming
It’s Only A Demon: A Model of Christian Deliverance, David Appleby
The Believer’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare, Tom White
3 Crucial Questions About Spiritual Warfare, Clinton Arnold
Understanding Spiritual Power, Marguerite Kraft
Spirit of the Rainforest, Mark Richie
Ethnography as a Pastoral Practice, Moschella
Churches that Make a Difference, Ron Sider
Whose Religion is Christianity, Lamin Sanneh
Soul, Self, and Society: Mission in a Post-Colonial World, Michael Rynekiewich
The Mission of God’s People, Chris Wright
Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church, Reggie McNeal
Scattered: How ADD Originates and What You Can Do About it, Gabor Mate
The Wisdom of The Enneagram, Riso and Hudson
January is my month off from school so I picked up some highly recommended books to fill my evenings and travel hours…
A Week in the Life of Corinth by Ben Witherington. Witherington is a world-class professor of the New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary and has written many academic books and commentaries. This is a work of historical fiction for a general audience, an easy read (2-3 hours), and explores many facets of daily life in a town where the gospel took root under Paul’s teaching. Highly recommended.
Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible With Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin. Wilkin is a young, popular, female voice in support of inductive Bible study. Her teaching is well-grounded, and the book on how we should approach studying the Bible is well-written. There’s even a chapter for teachers on common pitfalls to avoid.
The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life by Os Guinness. This book stands as a classic, reflective piece on the finding ones purpose in life. Full of historical figures and wisdom, it could be read as a devotional book by anyone pondering the call of God in their lives. It is required reading for all Asbury seminary students.
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue. Great novel by a young African author! It traces the life stories of Cameroonian immigrants and a wealthy Lehmann Brothers executive in New York City as the market crashes in 2009. Themes of immigration, poverty, wealth, happiness, relationships, and ethics are prominent.
Every year I promise myself “less Facebook, more reading”… this year I read almost entirely nonfiction. Here’s what I read in 2017: (alphabetical, *seminary reading)
1 Peter: A Living Hope in Christ, Jen Wilkin.
Epic of Eden: Isaiah, Sandra Richter.
Gutenberg’s Apprentice, Alix Christie. (historical fiction, printing press & church power)
*Honor, Patronage, Kinship, and Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture, David deSilva. (excellent, but dense)
Prodigal God, Tim Keller. (new look at the parable)
*Recovering the Full Mission of God: A Biblical Perspective on Being, Doing, and Telling, Dean Flemming. (how we preach the gospel)
Revival Rising: Preparing for the Next Great Wave of Awakening, Mark Nysewander. (history and character of revival)
Surprised by Oxford, Carolyn Weber. (memoir)
*The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life, Os Guiness.
*The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited, Scot McKnight.
The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller.
*The Shadow of the Galilean, Gerd Theissen. (historical fiction by NT professor)
Unashamed, Lecrae. (memoir, excellent)
Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, Lonely, Lysa Terkeurst.
What is the Bible? Rob Bell. (intriguing, but not recommended)
*What Saint Paul Really Said, N.T. Wright. (new perspective on Paul)
*Who Chose the Gospels? C.E. Hill. (origin of the NT texts, academic)
Wisdom of the Enneagram, Riso & Hudson. (personality types & motivations)
What have you enjoyed this year? What should I consider adding to my list?
So many great quotes – I should have opened a twitter account so I could share them with you all! Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely is the most recent of Lysa TerKeurst’s books. (Others we have loved are The Best Yes and Unglued.) Lysa is very funny, self-deprecating, honest, and relatable. She’s like the girlfriend who leans in and tells you her heart struggles, but makes you spit out your coffee from laughing so hard.
Uninvited invites you to consider the power of rejection and its roots, to evaluate where rejection is damaging your relationships today, and to grasp what it means to live fully loved by God. The book is excellent reading. In addition, the study guide and dvd series (6 sessions of 15 min) offer you the opportunity to really evaluate yourself, to study relevant scripture passages, and to be held accountable by your small group over a period of time.
Members of our group walked away from the study with many different learning points. For some it was digesting what the unlimited love and forgiveness of Jesus really means. For others it was making the shift from walking into a social setting in need of affirmation (a dangerous and unfulfilling game), to being the one who walks into a social setting full of love and able to overflow into the lives of those more needy. For some it was embracing the pain of the past, but realizing that it does not define their future. And many of us grasped the lessons of the olive tree – that the hard, crushing times are a key part of God producing valuable fruit in our lives.
Buy two copies, one for you and one to give to a friend who will read it with you!
My husband kept telling me I would love Prodigal God (2008) and I finally picked it up as a study for my small group. It’s a short book, and extremely powerful.
You are probably familiar with the story in Luke 15 often known as “the parable of the prodigal son”. Keller argues that we’ve missed 80 percent of the meaning behind this story because we focus on the Younger Brother. It is rather a story of two sons – both lost, both seeking fulfillment and happiness in ways that are empty and sinful. Keller says the parable redefines sin and lostness, and helps us understand how the Older Brother is just as lost as the Younger Brother. Keller explores Jesus Christ as the true Elder Brother, how we long for home and find it so difficult to return, and how our Heavenly Father welcomes us into a feast that is salvation.
Keller writes, “I have seen more people encouraged, enlightened, and helped by this passage, when I explained the true meaning of it, than by any other Biblical text.” Read it. Prodigal God book
And don’t miss the 30 minute teaching video Keller did to accompany the book:
Rapper Lecrae’s new book “Unashamed” is an excellent read – a powerful story of God’s transformation, a journey to faith and freedom. Lecrae’s story offers firsthand insight into the realities faced by young, black men in America in the twenty-first century… but his struggle in searching for acceptance, worth, and identity is relevant for all of us. Read it, and encourage your teenagers to read it also!