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.)
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!
One of my life-long goals is to read an average of one book a month… Unfortunately, I read less this year than I had hoped. Here are the best books I read in 2016:
My Favorite NonFiction Book of the Year – Parables: The Mysteries of God’s Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus Told by John Macarthur, 2015. (kingdom of God and the parables)
Favorite Fiction Book of the Year – All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, 2014. (WW2 historical novel)
Others Worth Reading (alphabetical):
Chasing Elephants: Wrestling with the Gray Areas of Life by Brent Crowe, 2010. (decision-making principles for areas where the Bible isn’t specific)
Designed to Lead: The Church and Leadership Development by Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck, 2016. (discipleship and intentional leadership development)
Fervant: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer by Priscilla Shirer, 2015. (intentional prayer)
Jesus Was an Airborne Ranger: Finding Your Purpose Following the Warrior Christ by John McDougall and Stu Weber, 2015. (Ranger chaplain on Jesus’ mission and kingdom)
Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul by Bill Hybels, 2015. (life management)
Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges, 2008. (sovereignty and trust, class text)
Type Talk: The 16 Personality Types That Determine How We Live, Love, and Work by Otto Kroeger, 1989. (Myers Briggs type analysis in-depth)
You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving the Church by David Kinnaman, 2011. (why twentysomethings leave and how to bring them back)
Invisible Girls: A Memoir by Sarah Thebarge, 2014. (Ethiopian refugees in the USA)
Did you have a favorite this year? Please comment and share – I love recommendations!
I’m reading John Macarthur’s new book Parables: The Mysteries of God’s Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus Told and it’s fantastic! He does a great job of explaining how to approach a parable so that our interpretation is correct, and then dives into various parables, all within the context of understanding the kingdom of God. I’ve already learned many l things I did not know, and Macarthur’s mastery of the culture and the timeline of Jesus’ life is outstanding… So I’d like to recommend it to you! Good summer reading!