Christians will endeavor to improve and redeem our time, as befits those to whom the command of Ephesians 5:16 was given. As summer starts, many of us do that by reading books, to improve and refine our analytical, philosophical, and theological powers of thought, to the application of both our own personal worldviews and daily lives. In light of these undertakings, the authors of this blog think it will be of great edification to ourselves and our readers that such books as we will be reading here be disclosed. In this post, Grant will list those books he intends to read this summer. Chris and Calvin’s respective lists are forthcoming in future weeks. We hope you may perhaps find a book here that would be helpful to your spiritual growth. And please feel free to comment with questions regarding these books or with reading suggestions of your own.
I’m reading a lot of Puritan works this summer. The books I’ve read by Puritan authors before have been very helpful and encouraging to me, and I decided it was time I pursue their benefit to my soul more fully.
- Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ, John Owen
Around the time I finished high school I read an abridgment of this. I found the dense and fast nature of the abridged text frustrating, but was encouraged by my love for Christ. Admittedly I’ve already read about half of the original, proceeding very rapidly and enjoying it very much. If you’ve already decided that your love for Christ is the most important thing in your life, then you will enjoy and profit from this book very much. I also enjoy the organization of the edition I’m reading, with plenty of space for my many notes in the margin, and definitions of obscure archaic words in same-page footnotes.
- On the Mortification of Sin in Believers, John Owen
I don’t need to say much about the most famous and enduring of Owen’s works. I look forward to a healthy reminder and encouragement to put to death those members of the flesh that entangle me, and of my true motivation to do so. I find reading this after The Glory of Christ very appropriate to that end.
- Thoughts for Young Men, J.C. Ryle
I’ve read this several times before. These basic reminders of Ryle to pursue Godliness wholeheartedly while young and healthy are a very encouraging reminder to me. The call away from worldliness is particularly helpful to college students today. If you are a young man who has not taken the two hours or less to read this book, I doubt how much you value your own soul.
- Memoirs and Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Andrew Bonar
This may become the book that calls me to full time ministry. M’Cheyne’s love for people and overwhelming passion for Christ are very evident from his writings and preaching. The book has a biography by Bonar (a close friend of M’Cheyne’s), Sixty one of M’Cheyne’s personal letters (making his pastoral care very clear), nearly thirty of his sermons, and about a dozen tracts and other works, including poems, that M’Cheyne wrote in his less than thirty year lifespan. No other example inspires me to care for people’s souls and salvation as much as M’Cheyne’s, from his devotion to his personal quiet times and prayer, to his urging on souls to accept Christ, to his discernment of the evils of nominalism and governmental control in the church of his day.
- The Reformed Pastor, Richard Baxter
I’ve been given opportunities to shepherd and teach people over the past year. It seems fitting therefore to read and apply this classic work to how I serve them.
- Selections from The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume II, Jonathan Edwards
Almost every published work of Edwards is contained in this weighty two volume set. Hopefully by the end of next summer or so I will have read the entirety of both volumes. But if not, I may be given a lifetime to peruse them and benefit from them, if the Lord so wills. No one thus far has been as much a hero figure to me as Edwards, and I believe he’s profoundly influenced my thinking; I tend to find reading him enjoyable. I will mostly be reading sermons and discourses contained in this volume, which you can find for free but in eye-killing computer screen format here.
- In Love with Christ: The Narrative of Sarah Edwards, Sarah Edwards, Jennifer Adams
I hope to get a better understanding of Jonathan Edwards himself, his wife Sarah Edwards, and their relationship through this book. But more importantly it will accomplish the purpose of directing my mind and affections to Christ, which is really the point of all my reading anyway.
- Continuity and Discontinuity: Essays in Honor of S. Lewis Johnson, John S. Feinberg, Editor
This is not so much a book I want to read as one that I need to read. As many of you already know, I love studying the Bible, and have put a particular emphasis on studying the Old Testament over the past few years. This book is concerned with the relationship between the testaments and how that influences our respective interpretations thereof. What little I have read of it has been quite profitable to me.