/ reading / Joel Hart

What I'm Reading and What I'm Learning

Devoted reading is the practice of enjoying knowledge and enjoying truth. Devoted reading is the practice of humility, admitting a need to be taught and expanded in knowledge and understanding. Devoted reading shapes us as image-bearers and servants of God.

And so, today, I thought I’d share a list of some books I’ve been reading, and what I’m learning from them.

So, my list is below of recent readings, but a few caveats first:

1. Lists like these have the risk of coming across as too impressive, as though I’m finishing several books a week or something like that. That is not the case! Not all the books on this list have I read all the way through, and some of these books I have taken a long time to read.

2. Lists like this are not the same as endorsements of the authors or even full endorsements of the books I’m reading.

3. And, I should also acknowledge that many of these books I’ve listened to on Audible. If you are in a category that doesn’t believe that counts as reading, I offer my deep apologies.

Anyways, what I’ve been reading:

Union with Christ by Todd Billings. Billings explores various contours of union with Christ as framing the whole of Christian experience. The book feels a bit scattered in a few places – more like a series of journal articles than one cohesive argument. But the output is still quite rich: life is seen as the unfolding riches of union with Christ.

Preaching to a Post-Everything World by Zack Eswine. Eswine offers a good continued development of the Christ-centered expository preaching movement. He hones in well on preaching into the Context of Reality 21st-century hearers bring to a sermon. I would wish for perhaps deeper reflection on the relationship between expository preaching and systematic theology. But overall, this is a quality preaching book.

The Gospel According to Mark by James Edwards. I’m preaching through Mark and reading many commentaries on the book. None surpasses Edwards. Edwards combines rich academic exploration with understanding of the pastoral implications of a text. Repeatedly, he draws out the urgency of the call of discipleship alongside the prominence of Jesus Christ. I would recommend this book to anyone considering a more rigorous study of Mark.

Bavinck: A Critical Biography by James Eglinton. This book has been widely-acclaimed as one of the best critical Christian biographies of recent years. Eglington explores Bavinck honestly and reveals a man who faithfully pursued Christ amidst cultural and internal conflict. Eglinton’s work should be widely read.

Saints, Sufferers, and Sinners by Michael Emlet. A friend of mine gave me this introductory counseling book. By identifying believers in Christ as saints, sufferers, and sinners simultaneously, Emlet offers a good wholesale picture of the dynamics of counseling interactions. For someone beginning to explore counseling, I’d recommend this book.

Living Life Backward by David Gibson. Gibson’s meditative commentary on Ecclesiastes is a transformative book. We “live life backward”, recognizing that we will die “under the sun”. By not avoiding this reality, but living in view of it, we learn to truly live and enjoy life before our Maker. I highly recommend this book.

Brothers, We are Not Professionals by John Piper. Piper offers a series of mini-sermons, more or less, to pastors. He hones in on issues not present in many generalized pastoral theology books. His message on pastors “fighting for their life” by reading good literature partially inspired this post. I see the value and riches of continuing to read among the many things clamoring for my time.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi. Many already know well the story of this New York Times best-seller. I’m glad I finally went through Qureshi’s story. Through the eyes of a Muslim convert, you discover more of the true hinge of the Christian faith: the identity of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross. Much insight here as well into the nature of Christian friendship and apologetics.

For the Glory: The Untold and Inspiring Story of Eric Liddell by Duncan Hamilton. I loved this look into the life of the Scottish Olympian turned missionary. Hamilton doesn’t write out of a particularly Christian angle, but Liddell’s inimitable character and commitment to Christ shines through nonetheless.

Joel Hart

Joel Hart

Pastor at Columbus (IN) RP Church. Husband of Orlena. Father of 5 (David, Jenny, Elisha, Esther, Seth). Proclaiming the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

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