GrammarBook Year-End Quiz (2018)

Today’s GrammarBook.com email contained a great review quiz on the grammar lessons they featured in 2018. Even though we did not by any means highlight all of these lessons, we hope you were encouraged to learn a little grammar (or re-learn, as the case may be). And taking the quiz will show you that it is never too late to learn even more.

So, take the quiz, review your grammar, and if you do poorly, don’t fret; you have all of 2019 to get on board and make this year a better grammar-learning year.

Here is their introduction to the quiz, and then the first few items from the review (find the rest at the link below).

Another year of grammatical exploration has concluded with linguistic miles behind us. What we’ve learned and discussed with you along the way has been illuminating, and we are grateful for the thought and insight it has inspired.

We hope you gathered even more sharpened tools for communicating in concise and eloquent English. A year-end review is always a great way to revisit and further retain what we’ve examined.

The 2018 master quiz consists of twenty-five sentences addressing subjects from many of this year’s GrammarBook articles. Choose your answers and then check them against our answer key that follows the quiz.

Each answer also includes the title and date of the article that focused on the topic. Because some answers require particular knowledge from months past, please feel free to refer to their associated article if you wish to refresh your memory.

1. When I was in high school, I [would / used to] lift weights in the gym almost every day. Would vs. Used To 1-24

2. When I was a kid, I [would / used to] feel like every day was a new adventure. Would vs. Used To 1-24

3. Juan received the highest score on the test [since / because] he studied the most. Tackling More Tricky Word Choices: As, Because, and Since 2-21

4. [Since / Because] Rich was the most qualified, he was offered the promotion first. Tackling More Tricky Word Choices: As, Because, and Since 2-21

5. She is perhaps the most [well spoken / well-spoken] project manager to have ever led the initiative. Are We Hyphenating Well? 4-4

Source: Year-End Quiz |

Published in: on January 9, 2019 at 10:00 PM  Leave a Comment  

Old Year’s Night with the Voices of Victory

As we end this year of our Lord 2018, we would like to invite you to end the year on a high, spiritual note – by worshiping the Lord in His house with His people (If you are looking for a place to worship, these churches have churches!) and by attending the special Voices of Victory concert tonight in downtown Grandville, MI from 8-11 pm!

Here are the details from our Facebook page and poster:

Our annual New Year’s Eve concert is tonight at First Reformed Church of Grandville (3060 Wilson Ave). A schedule somewhat subject to a few minutes added or subtracted here and there is: Sacred Harmonies 8:10-8:40, Voices of Victory 8:45-9:15, Covenant Chr. HS quartet 9:15-9:30, Collection for Georgetown Harmony Homes 9:35, S.H. 9:40-10:10, VOV 10:15-10:45, closing singing with audience 10:45-11. To God be the glory!

VOV-Old-Years-flyer-2018

Maybe the weather forecast sounds bad, but don’t let that deter you! It’s a short drive from wherever you are, and once there, you will be safe and warm! Love to see you there! And we hope we do! It promises to be a wonderful night of praise and fellowship. And the cause is a good one.

O, and the cookies and coffee are tasty and “on the house.” 🙂

Published in: on December 31, 2018 at 11:53 AM  Leave a Comment  

Top Ten Books of 2018 – Kevin DeYoung

It is that wonderful time of year when the “best-books-of-the-year” lists are published. I have received notice of several already and will begin to reference them in the next two weeks.

These lists can be helpful in knowing what to read and/or to add to your personal or family library, especially, of course, those lists compiled by fellow Christians (including the Reformed ones). I also find them useful in learning what I may have missed for the PRC seminary library.

Pastor (now PCA) and author Kevin DeYoung published his “top ten books of 2018” on The Gospel Coalition website recently (Dec.14 – cf. link below). I will give you part of his introduction, which includes his criteria for choosing the titles he did. After that part of his introduction, I will post a part of his list; you may find the full list at the link below.

This list is not meant to assess the thousands of Christian books published each year, let alone every interesting book published in 2018. There are plenty of worthy titles that I am not able to read (and lots I never hear of). This is simply a list of the books (Christian and non-Christian, but all non-fiction) that I thought were the best in the past year.

When I say “best” I have several questions in mind:

• Was this book well written and enjoyable to read?
• Did I find it personally challenging, illuminating, edifying, or entertaining?
• Is it a book I am likely to reread or consult again?
• Do I see myself recommending this book to others?

Undoubtedly, the “best” books reflect my interests. This doesn’t mean I agree with every point in these books, but it does mean I found them helpful and insightful.

And now the top four of DeYoung’s “top ten.”

4. Alex Hutchinson, Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance (William Morrow). With Breaking2—the 2017 Nike-led project to run a sub-two hour marathon—as his backdrop, Hutchinson (a runner, columnist, researcher, and Cambridge PhD) explores the limits of athletic achievement and human endurance. This isn’t a training volume with secrets for getting a PR in your next race. Instead, it’s a journalistic examination of the different theories, studies, stories, and scholars trying to answer the simple question: what makes people keep going and what makes them stop? To that end, Hutchinson has chapters on muscles, heat, oxygen, thirst, fuel, and belief. His conclusion? We don’t finally know what makes people push through pain, but there is at least as much brain and belief involved as body and brawn.

 

3. D. Bruce Hindmarsh. The Spirit of Early Evangelicalism: True Religion in a Modern World (Oxford). In this important new work on evangelical devotion, Hindmarsh, a top flight historian and professor at Regent College, focuses on Edwards, Whitefield, and the Wesleys, but goes far beyond them in his analysis. Without discounting doctrinal continuity with the past, Hindmarsh argues that evangelical devotional ideas and practices were innovative, rooted in antecedent spiritual traditions, but new in their language and eclecticism.

 

2. Lewis Allen. The Preacher’s Catechism (Crossway). I’m always thankful for books that simultaneously convict and encourage. Using the Westminster Shorter Catechism as his inspiration and (loose) guide, Allen goes through 43 questions and answers designed to remind the busy/distracted/discouraged/puffed-up/cast-down preacher what really matters (and what doesn’t) in a life of faithful ministry. A Puritan throwback.

 

 

1. Jonathan Gibson and Mark Earngey (eds). Reformation Worship: Liturgies from the Past for the Present (New Growth Press). My top book from 2018 is likely to be the least purchased and least read of all the books on this list. And at nearly 700 pages, it’s also the biggest of the books here. But that’s part of what makes the book so valuable. Few people will read straight through, cover to cover, a collection of Reformation-era liturgies (I didn’t). But the sheer size of this volume tells us something important. Namely, the Reformers thought a lot about worship. It was essential to their Reformation project, which makes our relative indifference to the forms and flow of worship all the more surprising (and scandalous). Every Reformed pastor and worship leader with a book budget should have this on their shelves.

Source: Top Ten Books of 2018

Seminary Library Guessing Contest! Plus, 4th quarter books added in 2017!

Guessing Contest

It’s time we restored the annual PRC Seminary library guessing context! I believe I have been remiss for a least one year, maybe more.

So, on this Friday night, after giving my final 2017 library report to the Theological School Committee yesterday, we can throw the BIG QUESTION out to you: HOW MANY BOOKS were added to the Seminary library in 2017?

And, in the interests of having TWO contest winners this year, we add a bonus question: How many TOTAL RESOURCES do we now have in our library? That means books, pamphlets, and periodicals, cataloged in the library system.

ContestWinnerThink long, think hard, and guess right! The closest to the actual numbers – calculated by our infallible library program, Resourcemate – wins the prize!

Yes, the prize is …. a book – of your choice, from our seminary bookstore or from other collections we have on hand! If the winner happens to be long-distance, we will work that out. So don’t be afraid to guess away. Only once please. Using your real name. 🙂

Let’s give this contest one week – have your answer in by NEXT WEEK FRIDAY, please.

You may submit your guess either to my email address or in the comment section of the blog. Have fun! Be a good sport!

SemLibrary2

And now, that list of significant books added to the library in the 4th quarter of last year (October – December 2017). Remember, this is not an exhaustive list but only some of the books from various categories I highlighted for their significance. Maybe the list will give you an idea of what to read next. That would make your librarian very pleased. 🙂

Biblical studies/ Commentaries/ Biblical theology

  • Opening Up the Bible: Opening Up Proverbs / Jim Newheiser. Leominster, England: Day One Publications, 2008.
  • Teach the Text Commentary Series:
  • Reformation Commentary on Scripture, OT & NT (IVP) – Hebrews, James / T.George
  • Reformed Expository Commentaries: Revelation / Richard D. (Richard Davis) Phillips, 1960-. ; G. Ryken Phillips.; 1st-hc, Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing

Individual Titles

  • How We Got the New Testament: Text, Transmission, Translation / Stanley E. Porter — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013 (Acadia Studies in Bible and Theology)
  • Mighty to Save: A Study in Old Testament Soteriology / T. V. Farris — 1st-hc. — Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, c1993.
  • The Law and the Prophets: Old Testament Studies Prepared In Honor Of Oswald Thompson Allis / Oswald T. Allis, (Oswald Thompson) , 1880-1973; John H. Skilton; Milton C. Fisher — 1st-hc. — Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., 1974.
  • Judges and Ruth / Robert A. Watson, 1845-1921; W. Robertson Nicoll. — 1st-hc. — London : Hodder and Stoughton, 1898 (The Expositor’s Bible)
  • Ruth : A New Translation With Introduction, Notes, And Commentary / Edward F. Campbell, (Edward Fay); William F. and Daniel N. Freedman Albright. — 1st-hc. — Garden City, NY : Doubleday, 1975.
  • The Book of Job: With Notes, Introduction and Appendix / A. B. Davidson, (Andrew Bruce), 1831-1902. ; J. J. Stewart (John James Stewart) Perowne, 1823-1904. — 1st-hc. — Cambridge [Eng.]: The University Press, 1889 (Letis collection)
  • As Rich as Job / C. Bijl — 1st Engl – pb. — Kampen : Van den Berg, 1989.
  • Malachi: A Prophet in Times of Despair / Baruch Maoz. — reprint-pb. — Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press, c2011, 2016 (Founders Study Guide Commentary)
  • Heirs of Paul : Paul’s Legacy in the New Testament and in the Church Today / Johan Christiaan Beker — 1st-reprint-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K. : William B. Eerdmans Pub., 1996, c1991.
  • 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James / Leon Morris. — reprint-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B Eerdmans, 1970 (Scripture Union Bible Study Books)
  • James: Bible Study Commentary / Curtis Vaughan. — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapds, MI : Zondervan, 1969.
  • The Overcomers: The Unveiling of Hope, Comfort, and Encouragement in the Book of Revelation / Chuck Colclasure; D. James (Dennis James) Kennedy, 1930-2007. — 1st-pb. — Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers, c1981.
  • The Apocalypse: A Reading of the Revelation of John / Charles H. Talbert — 1st-pb. — Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, c1994.

Church History/Biography

  • Twentieth-Century Dictionary of Christian Biography / James D. Douglas; A. Scott Moreau; Walter A. Elwell. — 1st-hc. — Carlisle, Cumbria, England/Grand Rapids, MI: Paternoster Press; Baker Books, c1995.
  • Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe / Brad S. (Brad Stephan) Gregory — 1st-pb. —  Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1999 (Harvard Historical Studies ; 134)
  • Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World / Eric. Metaxas. — 1st-hc. — New York: Viking, 2017.
  • Martin Luther: A Spiritual Biography / Herman J. Selderhuis, 1961-. — 1st-hc. — Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017
  • Katie Luther, First Lady of the Reformation: The Unconventional Life of Katharina Von Bora / Ruth Tucker — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2017.
  • George Wishart: Scholar, Saint, Reformer, Martyr / St. Mary’s College; John Knox, ca. 1514-1572. — 1st. — 1946 : University Press, St. Andrews (Letis collection)
  • Dictionary of Luther and the Lutheran Traditions / Timothy J. Wengert, ed.; Mark A. Granquist; Robert Kolb — 1st-hc. — Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2017.
  • Heralds of the Reformation: Thirty Biographies of Sheer Grace / Richard M. Hannula — 1st-pb. — Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2016.
  • The Protestant Reformation and World Christianity: Global Perspectives / Dale T. Irvin, ed.; Charles Amjad-Ali; Joel M. Cruz; Norman A. Hjelm, Philip D. Krey, William G. Rusch. — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI : William B. Eerdmans, 2017 (Reformation Resources, 1517-2017)
  • Wittenberg Meets the World: Reimagining the Reformation at the Margins / Alberto L. Garcia; John Nunes. — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2017.
  • A Short Life of Martin Luther / Thomas. Kaufmann; Norman A. Hjelm, Philip D. Krey, William G. Rusch — 1st Engl-pb. — Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 2016 (Reformation Resources, 1517-2017)
  • For Christ’s Crown: Sketches of Puritans and Covenanters / Richard M. Hannula. — 1st-pb. — Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2014.
  • Galley Slave / Jean Marteilhe, 1684-1777; Vincent. McInerney. — abridged reprint-hc. — Barnsley: Seaforth, 2010 (a Huguenot story).
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Theologian, Christian, Man for His Time; A Biography / Eberhard Bethge, 1909-2000; Victoria Barnett — Rev. ed.-pb. — Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, c2000
  • Cosmos in the Chaos: Philip Schaff’s Interpretation of Nineteenth-Century American Religion / Stephen Ray Graham; Martin E. Marty — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, c1995.

Creeds/Confessions/History of

  • Faith of Our Fathers: A Popular Study of the Nicene Creed / L. Charles. Jackson. — 1st-pb. — Moscow, ID: Canon Press, c2007.

Dogmatics/Theology/Historical Theology

  • Was the Reformation a Mistake? Why Catholic Doctrine Is Not Unbiblical / Matthew Levering; Kevin J. Vanhoozer — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2017.
  • From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist Convention: What Hath Geneva to Do With Nashville? / Thomas K. Ascol; Roger Nicole — Revised-hc. — Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press, 2013.
  • Whatever Happened to the Reformation? / Gary L. W. Johnson; R. Fowler White; R. C. (Robert Charles) Sproul — 1st-pb. — Phillipsburg, NJ : P & R, c2001.
  • Martin Luther and the Seven Sacraments: A Contemporary Protestant Reappraisal / Brian C. Brewer. — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI : Baker Academic, 2017.
  • Roman But Not Catholic: What Remains at Stake 500 Years After the Reformation / Kenneth J. Collins. ; Jerry L. Walls. — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI : Baker Academic, 2017.
  • The Authoritative Inspiration of Holy Scripture: As Distinct from the Inspiration of Its Human Authors / C. H. Waller; J. C. (John Charles) Ryle, 1816-1900. — 1st-hc. —  London: Blackie & Son, 1887 (Letis collection)
  • God’s Inspiration of the Scriptures / William Kelly, 1821-1906. — 2nd-hc. — London : F. E. Race, 1908 (Letis collection)
  • The Inspiration and Accuracy of the Holy Scriptures. / John. Urquhart. — 1st-hc. — London : Marshall brothers, 1895 (Letis collection)
  • The Birth of Modern Critical Theology: Origins and Problems of Biblical Criticism in the Seventeenth Century / Klaus Scholder. — 1st-pb. — London – Philadelphia: SCM Press ; Trinity Press International, 1990 (Letis collection)
  • Studies in Reformed Theology and History: The Disputations of Baden, 1526 and Berne, 1528: Neutralizing the Early Church / Irena Backus; David Willis-Watkins. — Winter 1993-pb. — Princeton Theological Seminary.
  • Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth: A Critique of Dispensationalism / John H. Gerstner; R. C. (Robert Charles) Sproul; Don Kistler — 3rd-pb. — Draper, VA: Apologetics Group, 2009.
  • The Gospel of Free Acceptance in Christ: An Assessment of the Reformation and ‘New Perspectives’ on Paul / Cornelis P. Venema — 1st-hc. — Edinburgh : Banner of Truth Trust, c2006.
  • Getting the Garden Right: Adam’s Work and God’s Rest in Light of Christ / Richard C. Barcellos; Thomas K. Ascol — 1st-pb. — Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press, 2017.
  • The Pathway of Holiness: A Guide for Sinners / John White, 1924 – 2002. — 1st-pb. — Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, c1996.
  • Gleanings in the Scriptures: Man’s Total Depravity / Arthur W. Pink, 1886-1952. — 1st-hc. — Chicago: Moody Press, 1969.
  • The Royal Priesthood of the Faithful: An Investigation of the Doctrine from Biblical Times to the Reformation. / C. Cyril (Charles Cyril) Eastwood — 1st-hc. — Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Pub. House, 1963.
  • The Priesthood of All Believers: An Examination of the Doctrine from the Reformation to the Present Day / C. Cyril (Charles Cyril) Eastwood — 1st-hc. — Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Pub. House, 1962.
  • Made in America: The Shaping of Modern American Evangelicalism / Michael Scott. Horton. — 1st-hc. — Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, c1991.

Philosophy/Logic/Ethics

  • You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit / James K. A. Smith — 1st-hc. — Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2016.
  • Morality After Calvin: Theodore Beza’s Christian Censor and Reformed Ethics / Kirk M. Summers — 1st-hc. — New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 2017 (Oxford Studies In Historical Theology)
  • Introducing Protestant Social Ethics: Foundations in Scripture, History, and Practice / Brian J. Matz. — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI : Baker Academic, 2017.

Practical Theology/Missions

  • Portraits of a Pastor: The 9 Essential Roles of a Church Leader / Jason K. Allen. ; Daniel L. Akin; Jared C. Wilson; Jason K. Allen — 1st-pb. — Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2017.
  • Counseling Under the Cross: How Martin Luther Applied the Gospel to Daily Life / Robert W. Kellemen — 1st-pb. — Greensboro, NC : New Growth Press, 2017.
  • The Whole Church Sings: Congregational Singing in Luther’s Wittenberg / Robin A. Leaver. ; John D. Witvliet — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2017  (Calvin Institute Of Christian Worship Liturgical Studies Series)
  • The Taste of Sabbath: How to Delight in God’s Rest / Stuart W. Bryan. Moscow, ID: Canon Press, c2009.
  • Let the Waters Roar: Evangelists in the Gulag / G. P. Vins, (Georgii Petrovich) — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, c1989.
  • Race and Redemption: British Missionaries Encounter Pacific Peoples, 1790-1920 / Jane Samson; R.E. and Brian Stanley Frykenberg, eds. — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, Michigan : William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2017.
  • What Is Anglicanism? / Urban T. Holmes, III , 1930-1981. — 1st-pb. — Wilton, Conn. : Morehouse-Barlow Co., c1982.
  • Reaching Muslims for Christ / William J. Saal; Warren W. Wiersbe — 1st-pb. — Chicago : Moody Press, 1993, c1991.
  • The Mission of the Church: Five Views in Conversation / Craig Ott, editor. ; Stephen B. Bevans; Darrell L. Guder — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI : Baker Academic, 2016.
  • Thou Holdest My Right Hand: On Pastoral Care of the Dying / D. Los; Theodore Plantinga, Transl. — 1st-pb. — Neerlandia, AB; Pella, IA: Inheritance Publications, c1994 (Pastoral Perspectives II) vol. 2

Misc. (Culture, Education, Family, Marriage, Music, Politics, Science, etc.)

  • Engaging the Culture, Changing the World: The Christian University in a Post-Christian World / Philip W. Eaton — 1st-pb. — Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, c2011.
  • Good News of the Kingdom Coming: The Marriage Of Evangelism And Social Responsibility / J. Andrew. Kirk. — 1st-pb. — Downers Grove, Ill. : InterVarsity Press, c1983.
  • On Rebellion / John Knox, ca. 1514-1572; Roger A. Mason — 1st-reprint-pb. — Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, c1994 (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • My Only Comfort: Death, Deliverance, and Discipleship in the Music of Bach / Calvin Stapert; John D. Witvliet — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI: Wm.B. Eerdmans, c2000 (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Liturgical Studies Series)
  • What Is Creation Science? / Henry M. Morris, 1918-2006. ; Gary. Parker. ; Dean H. Kenyon. — Rev. & expanded-pb. — El Cajon, CA: Master Books, c1987.
  • Refuting Evolution 2 / Jonathan D. Sarfati — 1st-pb. — Green Forest, AR : Master Books, c2002.
  • The Challenge of Our Age / Hendrik. Hart. — 1st-pb. — Toronto : Association for the Advancement of Christian Studies, 1968 (Christian Perspectives Series ; 1967/1968)
  • The Sacred Search: What If It’s Not About Who You Marry, But Why? / Gary Thomas. — 1st-pb. — Colorado Springs, CO : David C Cook, 2013.
Published in: on January 19, 2018 at 9:03 PM  Leave a Comment  

Reading in 2018 (What to do and what not to do) – J. Bloom

ReadBookSculptureLast Saturday (Dec.30, 2017) Jon Bloom, a staff writer at “Desiring God” ministries, penned a post on “How (Not) to Read Next Year.” It is a helpful guide with valuable counsel as you make plans to “take up and read” in 2018.

Bloom begins with some thoughts about the value of a reading plan:

The amount of information that will inundate you next year through an unmanageable number of communication channels is only going to increase. If you don’t give some strategic thought to what you will and will not read, large amounts of your life will be eaten up next year reading demanding, urgent-sounding, trivial, or peripheral things, and you’ll hardly notice how much time they consume. You’ll simply get to next December and wonder where all the time went and why you managed to read so little of what you wish you had read.

And then he launches a list of reading pointers that are not necessarily new, but still serve as good reminders. Here are a few of my personal favorites from that list (to find the others, visit the article link above):

Do not not read books.

Most of what will demand your reading attention next year will be articles, blogs, posts, tweets, bites, and ads. The vast majority of these will be ephemeral and a waste of precious time. Some will be very helpful, but short-form writing can never replace long-form writing in the form of books. Good books develop and exposit big ideas and lines of reasoning in enriching, informing, comprehension-expanding ways short-form is simply unable to do. Neglecting to read books is to allow your attention, deep thinking, and reflection capacities to atrophy.

Do not neglect to read The Book.

God wrote a book. In it are the words of eternal life (John 6:68). At the end of the day, this is the only must read you need to heed. This is “no empty word for you”; it is “your very life” (Deuteronomy 32:47). Keep looking at this book. If you look carefully, you will see more glory, and be infused with more hope, and ultimately feel more joy than any other thing you will read next year.

 Do not read too fast.

Remember how your mother told you to “slow down and chew your food”? Chewing well is important for good digestion. The same principle applies to reading. Information overload is conditioning us all to eat words too fast. Slow down and chew your food.

Do not read to impress others.

Don’t choose books or set reading goals to gain someone else’s approval, or posture and flex like a weight room show-off, or even just to appear within some respectable relative range. Reading for the sake of others’ perception will set you on the wrong course and suck the joy out of reading. This sort of reading isn’t of faith and therefore displeases God (Hebrews 11:6). Read to gain wisdom and understanding (Proverbs 16:16) and for the sake of joy (Psalm 119:111)! Read to make your heart burn with love and longing for God.

Do not read only in your narrow interests.

 On the other hand, pay attention to what others are reading — not to impress them, but because you care about them. What is your spouse interested in? Your child? Your friend? Your pastor? Your co-worker? Read something about it. There is a world of glorious things outside the small circle of your familiarity. Explore! Read a book or thoughtful article that will help you see more than you do now. A humble mind knows how small and limited it is.
best-books-2017-collage-NRoark
Now, if you are looking for things to read in 2018, fellow WordPress blogger Nick Roark just published his “best books I read” list for 2017. It is one of the best lists by a Christian reader out there, with something for everyone – even birders and baseball lovers! Surely you can make a choice or find an idea from this fine collection of 36 titles. By all means, check it out!

Blessed and happy reading in 2018! Remember, read more and read better. For my part, I pledge to continue to point you to good reading material also in this new year. 🙂

Published in: on January 2, 2018 at 9:55 PM  Leave a Comment  

“…We foolishly imagine that we shall nestle in this world forever.” – J. Calvin

Ps90-12For this final day of 2017, fittingly the last day of rest this year for us God’s pilgrim people, we consider these powerful words of John Calvin on Psalm 90:3-8, as found in his commentary on that passage (Vol.V, Baker, 1979, p.465, or online here).

The design of Moses is to elevate the minds of men to heaven by withdrawing them from their own gross conceptions. And what is the object of Peter? [in 2 Peter 3:8]. As many, because Christ does not hasten his coming according to their desire, cast off the hope of the resurrection through the weariness of long delay, he corrects this preposterous impatience by a very suitable remedy. He perceives men’s faith in the Divine promises fainting and failing, from their thinking that Christ delays his coming too long. Whence does this proceed, but because they grovel upon the earth? Peter therefore appropriately applies these words of Moses to cure this vice. As the indulgence in pleasures to which unbelievers yield themselves is to be traced to this, that having their hearts too much set upon the world, they do not taste the pleasures of a celestial eternity; so impatience proceeds from the same source.

Hence we learn the true use of this doctrine. To what is it owing that we have so great anxiety about our life, that nothing suffices us, and that we are continually molesting ourselves, but because we foolishly imagine that we shall nestle in this world for ever? Again, to what are we to ascribe that extreme fretfulness and impatience, which make our hearts fail in waiting for the coming of Christ, but to their grovelling upon the earth? Let us learn then not to judge according to the understanding of the flesh, but to depend upon the judgment of God; and let us elevate our minds by faith, even to his heavenly throne, from which he declares that this earthly life is nothing.

WORLD’s Top 25 articles and columns for 2017

As we end the year of your Lord 2017, we reflect on the many events that have transpired in our lives, in our churches, and in our nations.

We know that nothing happens by chance or without purpose, but all by the hand of our almighty Father and all for the good of His people and the glory of His name.

World magazine has posted its top 25 articles for this year (part of its “Saturday Series”), and it is worth remembering these stories and how they impact us as believers. And, of course, we remember these stories and reflect on them in the light of God’s Word, our spiritual lens for all things that happen.

Here is World’s brief introduction, followed by three stories from the list. Use the link below to read the rest.

In 2017, we witnessed tragedy and scandal. We celebrated a theological anniversary and said goodbye to a gifted Reformed communicator. As Christians, we responded to issues concerning our origins and the way God made us. As Americans, we fought for our rights to life and liberty. WORLD covered these stories throughout the year in our magazine, on our website, and on our podcast. Here are the Top 25 articles and columns that grabbed your attention the most.

6. Burying vs. burning

A preference and a proposal for Christians to choose burial instead of cremation

by John Piper 
July 8 | WORLD Digital | Saturday Series

5. Esther’s story

In a state known for legal assisted suicide, one terminally ill young woman instead chose to live each God-given day to its fullest

by Sophia Lee
Oct. 14 | WORLD Magazine | Features

4. Walt’s story

Walt Heyer is a man again, and he has a manly purpose: protect the vulnerable from the transgender movement

by Sophia Lee
April 15 | WORLD Magazine | Features

Source: WORLD’s Top 25 articles and columns for 2017

Most Expensive Book Sales in 2017 – Abe Books

As is their custom this time of year, the people at AbeBooks have posted their most expensive book sales for 2017. You might be surprised to see what led the way.

This is the introduction they give to their list:

Literary icon J.D. Salinger wears the crown as AbeBooks’s most expensive sale of the year. The American author scores extra points for appearing again at number 11. A signed poster – not a book – comes in at number two. Notable sales also included Dali and Picasso, three helpings of wizards and orcs, some vicious plants causing mayhem, ruins in the Middle East, a catcher (and not the baseball variety), and a book containing the first mention of ‘I think, therefore I am’. It was another great year for collectors.

And this is the first title – check out the rest at the link above!

1. Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger – $22,500
A unique edition of Salinger’s second work, this was Little Brown & Company’s only file copy. The publisher’s penciled word count calculations (61,823) and pasted label stating ‘Sample – return to manufacturing department’ can be seen on the rear free endpaper.

Publisher’s file copy of Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger

Do you have a rare edition of a classic lying around the house? Or maybe you are on the prowl at the local thrift stores? That unique item could catch you thousands!

Published in: on December 29, 2017 at 6:57 AM  Leave a Comment  

Best Christian Books of 2017 – Challies Collected Edition

TCB-BOOK-LISTSIt’s time for another list of the best Christian books of 2017, and this time we can turn to one of the best because Tim Challies’ list is a collected list – gathered from various Christian sources, such as The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, Kevin DeYoung, Christianity Today, – and pulled together in one place.

Here is his introduction with a few of the top books found on several lists; then be sure to visit his site and check out many more! And, yes, if you are still shopping for a family member or friend, these lists contain some excellent choices! But, of course, you may also shop for you and add to your personal library.

Happy browsing!

For the past couple of weeks my RSS feeder has been humming with list after list of the best books of 2017. It seems that just about every avid reader I follow is eager to share his or her picks for the year that was. I love these lists and decided I’d compile them to look for patterns and repeats. Here, then, are the collected best Christian books of 2017. Each one of these is from a blog or web site I read regularly.

We will begin with the titles that found their way onto at least 3 best-0f lists:

If you are looking for something to read or something to buy for a gift, you probably can’t go wrong with any of them!

And now here are each of lists of the best Christian books of 2017. You can visit the sites to read the rationales or to purchase the books. Alternatively, I’ve supplied links to Amazon.

Published in: on December 18, 2017 at 10:39 PM  Leave a Comment  

Best Books (Non-fiction) for 2017 – T. Reinke

It is indeed that time of year when we see postings on websites and blogs for the best books of the year. Over the weekend Tony Reinke of Desiring God posted his, so we will start with that one this week. In the weeks to come we will post more.

We do this so that you may see what other Christians suggest for the benefit of your own reading and library-building, but also so that you may have some gift ideas for your holiday shopping.

Below is Reinke’s introduction to this list, followed by a paragraph I think our readers will find of interest (note the reference to Abraham Kuyper). By the way, Reinke himself has a good one published this year – 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You.

Once again, I’m honored to choose my favorite nonfiction Christian books published in the last calendar year, my twelfth consecutive list. 2017 proved to be the most difficult year yet (and I’m sure I said the same thing last year), all driven by aggressive publishing momentum.

This year about 120 new titles caught my attention, and I set out to read the best of them until I could whittle down a list of my 17 favorite reads from the year. But before getting to the list, a few overall comments.

Female authors continue publishing new books at a swift pace, strong in 2014 and a little less prominent in 2015, but with more steam in 2016 and 2017. Women are now a mainstay and growing proportion of Christian publishing.

Christian publishing continues to deliver on aesthetics across the board, both on cover design and interior design, illustrated by projects like the ESV Illuminated Bible from Crossway and the beautiful Lost Sermons of C.H. Spurgeon series (volume 1 and volume 2) from B&H.

Once again, 2017 did not quite deliver biblical theology or commentaries like we saw in 2015, although we do continue to see solid contributions in two premier series: New Studies in Biblical Theology (IVP) and Short Studies in Biblical Theology (Crossway).

And here is the paragraph about some titles that will grab our readers’ attention:

Several significant books in 2017 again attempted to unknot the questions over how Christians best relate to politics and society (no small task). The most talked about book of the year was Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option, a strategy of withdrawal from culture in order to better engage with it. Also noteworthy was James K.A. Smith’s Awaiting the King: Reforming Public Theology, a call to return to a robust Augustinian and Kuyperian model in all its glory. Speaking of Abraham Kuyper, Craig Bartholomew wrote a captivating book, Contours of the Kuyperian Tradition: A Systematic Introduction (a book I reviewed for The Gospel Coalition). And 2017 marked the midpoint in Logos/Lexham Press’s ambitious English-translation work of the 12-volume Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology.

Published in: on December 5, 2017 at 6:49 AM  Leave a Comment