Bible + Book Reviews
-Find the right Christian books for you-
The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God by D A Carson teaches the importance of understanding God's love from God's perspective.
The problem with this thinking is that it leads to assumptions, which leads to simplifying, which leads to missing the point of the whole definition. Do you see where I'm going with this? We've lost understanding of the love of God!
Thank God for wise men like D. A. Carson, whom God has used to write such beautiful work. By far, this is probably one of the best books I have read yet! (do I say that about all the books I read?)
D. A. Carson took the time to take Scripture and explain what the doctrine of the love of God really is. The best part about it is that he didn't have to water it down, or cut anything out, or use assumptions like we have the bad habit of doing today. Instead, he defined the love of God with the word of God in an understandable way.
If you haven't read any Christian literature before, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!!! It's less than 100 pages! I am sure you can do it! Carson definitely could have written a much longer in-depth book on this doctrine, but the reason for keeping it short was for all to be able to read and grasp about the doctrine of the love of God. I read this book in a week, and man, has my view changed for the better. I have grown so much by just having a better understanding of God's love.
You wanna know what my problem was? I use to take the love of God, and try to allow my human experiential love help define His love. THAT'S A BIG NO NO! We cannot try to describe and depict God, a sovereign, transcendent, and omniscient being, by putting Him on display next to a mortal, imperfect, ignorant human. That makes no sense at all! That's like trying to find the connections and similarities between a computer and a rock. You can't do something so silly! And that's what I found myself doing and see many others doing the same.
The cliches out there are "God loves everyone the same", "God hates the sin, not the sinner", and "God only loves". I am not saying any of these are false or true (you will have to study the love of God to find those answers), but I want to ask you a serious question: Can you prove any of these with Scripture? Does God ever say any of these word-for-word, or are these human assumptions that are easier to understand and grasp than diving into Scripture to really understand the doctrine of the love of God?
In The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, Carson helps us wrestle with the fact that our understanding of love is skewed in today's culture. Because of this, we have a rough time defining what love means, and how to explain it, and who to believe about it. Through D. A. Carson's small, four-chapter book, we can learn about God's love, the ways God magnifies His love, How we are effected by His love, how that collaborates with God's sovereignty, and how His love is in complete unity with His justice and wrath.
From learning these key points from the Bible, we then have a much fuller understanding of how God loves, why God loves, what a passage means when it says God loves, and so much more. I would recommend this book to anyone with a high-school reading level (it does have a few big words sprinkled in there that may be difficult to understand). I am sure if you don't understand it all, you will be able to read it again- remember, it's only 100 pages!
If you would like to get your own copy of The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God by D. A. Carson, click the link below or the image of the book at the top of the screen!
The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God by D. A. Carson - buy on Amazon!
Have you ever pondered the question of why the Bible is so important? I mean, for Christians, it might seem like a simple answer, but can you elaborate on it? Do you know all the answers? Kevin DeYoung takes us into the heart of the questions. Kevin DeYoung wrote this book for this sole reason: "Why The Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, And Enough, And What That Means For You And Me."
This book caused growth in my Christian walk, and it can do the same for you!
4 Reasons You Need To Read This Book If You're A Christian
1. To Know What The Truth Says About The Truth
Keving DeYoung breaks down different Scripture on the topic of the Bible proving itself. He gives valid points and arguments on how Scripture has enough to say about itself to prove the validity of itself.
One of the things I loved about the book is the contextual teaching of the Word. The writer did not rip verses out of context to mean what He wanted; he goes through and teaches what it means, why it means this, and how that applies to us. He did this with scriptures that spoke of God and His word.
A quote from the book states the following:
"We go the Bible to learn about the Bible because to judge the Bible by any other standard would be to make the Bible less than what it claims to be."
I learned from Kevin DeYoung that the word of God is the greatest defense for itself.
2. To Learn The Doctrine Of Inerrancy
I cannot believe I went so long without learning this. I knew the Bible had no flaws, but I couldn't prove it! The only proof I had was, "Because I believe God." It's not enough to go on a gut feeling. God gives plenty of proof in the scriptures proving the lack of flaws within it.
Kevin DeYoung took the time to go through many proofs of why we can believe the scriptures for what they say, showing us what Jesus had to say, what the Apostles had to say, and what Theologians have to say about it as well. With all of this knowledge I have received from this book, I have a much more confident faith than before. Not that I did not believe before, but my faith has grown stronger from the scripture and wisdom of this book!
3. To Learn What Christ Had To Say
I never really studied how much Christ had to say about the Scriptures. I knew He fulfilled them and taught them, but I never really studied what He had to say about them.
Kevin DeYoung goes passage by passage to teach readers what Christ had to say about the Word of God. This gives it much more authority than just some old history book. These are God's Words, intended to bring salvation. You can learn so much from what Christ had to say about it, and you can especially see how important the Bible truly is!
4. To Read Other Resources
If a Christian writes a book, there's a good chance they wrote it because God laid something on their heart they felt they had to share. I am not saying this is always the case, but this is definitely true when it comes to Kevin DeYoung! Just by reading the way he writes, you can hear in His words the weight and passion behind the message he's preaching. He wants His readers to grow! He wants them to learn from the wisdom God's given Him.
Throughout the book there are quotes of scripture and other wise men who have studied the scriptures. In the back of the book, Kevin DeYoung leaves a long list of all the resources he cited and what reading level you need to be to understand these writings. I am so thankful for this list! Not only did Kevin DeYoung quote great writings of other men, but he left me a list of resources I can go find out more from. The list is 4 pages long, and packed with books for all ages to read!
This book is a great choice for all ages! It was an easy read and fairly short (under 150 pages). I would recommend this book to any who are seeking to learn the importance of God's word and how that applies to you and me.
You can find Taking God At His Word: Why The Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, And Enough, And What That Means For You And Me by Kevin DeYoung on Amazon here!
Did you know you don't need to go to seminary to learn the Greek???
Okay... you probably do need to go to seminary to learn the Greek...
BUT What if I told you there was a Bible that can help you learn Greek words? Would you be interested?
Have you ever wanted to see some words in the original Greek so that you could get a better hold of a passage? This is the Bible for you!
Quick story, and then I will get on with the review.
Two weeks ago I stumbled upon this Bible at an Ollie's in Scranton (if you are ever looking for "good stuff cheap", Ollie's is the place to go). It was appealing to me, but I decided to hide it and buy it next time because I didn't want to spend money that day.
I went back today to find that my hiding place wasn't good enough! NO! IT'S GONE!
It was the only one there that I've ever seen, and I just lost my chance of buying it. I frantically started digging through their unorganized book shelves in the religious section, hoping that somehow, someway the Bible would appear to me.
After about ten minutes of searching... Behold! The Bible was found hidden behind other white books causing it to blend in. I made sure to check out with it today so I wouldn't lose my opportunity next time, and I am so glad I brought it home.
This Bible is AWESOME. If you're like me, and like to dive a little deeper than the surface of a verse you will also love this Bible. It helps you do just that.
Why key words are so important-
Maybe you are wondering, "Why's this Bible so great? Why are key words so important to study."
Have you ever heard or even spoken a sentence that could mean two things. Here's a good example that many English teachers in high-school would use.
We saw her duck.
This could mean any of the following:
We looked at a duck that belonged to her.
We looked at her quickly squat down to avoid something.
We use a saw to cut her duck.
I know that sounds ridiculous, but you get the point. Some words in English can have multiple meanings. This is the same for many languages. For example, my girlfriend's mom told me there are multiple ways to say "pig" in Spanish. It depends on where the origin of that Spanish is from, what kind of pig you are speaking of, and the context of the sentence.
In saying all of that, don't you think it'd be important to really understand a verse in the Bible that may be confusing or understood multiple ways?
Here's an example of how our English may be misleading at times:
I stood upon the deck.
I stood above the deck.
I stood among the deck.
Here are three prepositions that at times can be used in a sentence and the sentence will mean the same thing, but there are other times that they cannot. What if I wasn't standing directly on the deck? Then the word upon could be misleading. Among would make more sense. See the difference?
Some words have a much more specific meaning, while other words have a much broader meaning. I could say someone is prideful, but you can be prideful in many ways. If I said they were boastful, now you have a more specific version of prideful. See the difference? I could also say someone is proud, and that could mean two things. May I mean they are satisfied; maybe I mean they are arrogant. The word proud, without seeing the context, can be misleading.
This is why this Bible is so handy!
Instead of just assuming we know what the scriptures mean, we can read the word in Greek with a definition. Assuming what the Bible says is very ignorant; the right response is to study and to work at understanding God's word. We don't want to put words into God's mouth.
I don't think God ever meant to be confusing, but that also doesn't mean we shouldn't have to put work into our studies. I don't think God wants us to read a verse, assume we understand it, and then move on. God gave us a great book of His word to study and to learn from.
2 Timothy 2:15(NKJV) Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
God wants us to read His word with discernment. This Bible will help you do just that. If you are looking for a way to dig deeper into God's word, check this Bible out! It is really fascinating to read some of the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic words that are in this Word Study Bible. Here is an example of one of the words from John 3:16.
Do you wish you had more time to read? I sure do! I've spent so much money on books that have been sitting on the shelf collecting dust. "Maybe one day I'll read them," I tell myself.
I found a solution to this problem about four months ago... Audible!
Did you know if you sign up for audible you get free books? It's true! Every single month that you renew your subscription, you get a credit to choose any book you want! So instead of having to buy books, I just pay the monthly subscription ($14.99), and wait for a new credit each month. I have paid for audible for three months now (I've had it for four, but first month is free), and out of the $45.00 I have obtained four books with four credits. One of these book was priced at over $20 for a copy, and the other books were between $10-15. I actually spent less paying monthly to obtain the audio copies then to buy paperbacks.
If you're a heavy reader, Audible might be a good choice for you as well. More often then not the audio version is the same price or cheaper then the book copy. If you are trying to save on books, maybe get an audio copy to listen to for now. Sometimes the author is the one who reads the book to you; this is super cool if you always wondered what your favorite author's voice sounded like.
Now, personally, when I hear an audio book and it's really good, I plan to go and buy a copy to keep. I like having a collection of books, even if they are sitting on a shelf. That's just me. But audible has become so useful! I was able to finish a 600 page book by listening to 1-2 hours of reading a day for two weeks. It was a fantastic audio! And after listening to an audio of a book, you don't lose the book. You get to keep it forever on your account so that you can listen to it anytime.
It's super useful having all of your books saved on the Audible cloud to listen to on any device. This way I am able to share my books with my girlfriend just by letting her sign in. I also haven't used it personally, but I know there is a family sharing feature for books that you want to share. I haven't tried it (because I haven't needed to), but I am sure it would be a good option for multiple listeners in the house. With this feature, if another family member is also paying the monthly subscription, you can be getting two books by sharing with each other and you only had to pay the price of one!
They have a wide variety of book selections and many speakers. The readers are usually trained for this kind of stuff, so you don't have to worry about getting a boring voice. They also have five minute samples of books to listen to the reader. This comes in handy if you are pretty picky with speakers.
So for me, to get the most out of Audible, I usually try to listen to one book a month (I also aim to read at least one book a month as well). This way, when the month is up, I pay for my next subscription and receive another credit. I can then search for authors or keywords that I want the book to be about and find what I am interested in. I use my one credit for that book, and now I own another book in my library. There have been very few times I have searched for a book and they didn't have it. I can only think of one book at the top of my head that they didn't have an audio for, and I have searched for many books.
I usually search in advance for books on Audible. When I hear a friend talk about a good book, or I find out about a book an author wrote, I will go on Audible and add it to my wish-list. This way, when my new credit rolls around, I don't have to worry about searching for a book; I already have 10-15 books in my wish-list I can choose from.
When using Audible, you simply just download your book to your device to listen to it. The nice thing about this is that you do not have to worry about needing internet access to listen to your books. You just download it from the library. Any books you finish you can simply uninstall from the device so that they don't take up too much space. They will be waiting in your cloud library for the next time you or a family member want to download and listen to it.
As a Christian, this is a great tool for sermons and heavy theology studies. For example, right now I am listening to the exegetical preaching of the book of Hebrews by John Piper on Audible (if you are interested you can buy this message series by clicking here). John Piper took all of his messages on Hebrews and compiled them into a library. He then uploaded the large library of sermons onto Audible as an audio book. For me, I am studying Hebrews in my devotions right now so this book was perfect! I can listen to messages on each and every verse as I go through the book to help me grasp Hebrews more.
The next book I plan to by is Systematic Theology. The reason I plan to buy the audio version is because this is a HARD read. It is not something that is easily grasped. The audio will come in handy because I can listen to a chapter one, two, even three times to get a better understanding of what is being spoken about. With an audio version, it also helps to listen and read along if you have a copy of a book. This will help you comprehend what the writer is saying much easier.
Listen, even if you do not want pay the $14.99 a month, you can easily opt out whenever you want and opt right back in at any time. This is awesome! If you don't want to spend the money right now, no problem. Simply opt out. You can still listen to books you already own, and whenever you want to opt back in, you will receive another credit to get another book. Think of it this way: "Anytime I want a book it will cost me $14.99." That's not a bad deal; and if you're not a good reader, this will help you finish books a whole lot faster. Average book lengths is about a 4-hour read (150-200 pages).
Honestly, my plan was to sign up for the 30-day free trial, get one free book, and then opt out. You can actually do that! But then I saw the potential and how worth it this could be. I could listen to a book while at work, or at the gym, or doing whatever. I can learn, hear a story, or contemplate the writer's words while going about my day. I'd encourage you to give it a try. I mean, you might as well since you can get one free book!
-Can Become A Little Pricey If You Buy Multiple Books A Month
-Some Books Are Not Found On Audible
-Downloads Can Take Up A Lot Of Space If You Have Multiple Books Downloaded On One Device
-30 Free Trial Includes A Free Book
-One Credit A Month
-Lifetime Account (Never Lose Your Books Even If You Opt Out Of Paying Monthly)
-Most Books Are Half The Price Of Physical Copies
-Professional Readers And Voices Keep You Interactively Listening To Books
-Audio Books Make Multitasking Easy
These are the four books I have so far:
If that still doesn't make sense, I have picture examples below of my personal Bible. In the beginning pages of the Bible, they have examples and guides on how to use the Bible. Some of the guides are attached below. Hopefully from the photos you can get a sense and understanding of how useful this Bible truly is!
Like I said above, the Thompson Chain Reference Bible takes verses and puts them into a topic of what the verse is speaking about. There are over 4,000 chains to see in the topic finder page. The two ways to use the chains is either by looking up a topic to find verses on or by reading a passage and see what topic it is tied to. For example, you can go to the topic finder and look up verses on "courage". This is a good way to find verses for a study. This can also help immensely with tying the old testament and new testament together. The other way to use the topic finder would be, for example, if you are reading the book of John and want to see what topics the passage consists of, you can easily see the topics in the margin.
Another great tool this Bible includes is character studies. Character studies are very helpful for understanding the life of a one whom lived in the Bible. You can see below, I have attached their example of Moses. There are many character studies throughout the Bible that help show where this name comes up in the Bible, you can see an outline of what they did, and it gives a small summary of how God used them.
Lastly, The Thompson Chain Reference Bible includes category studies. Again, I have a photo below for you to see what this is like. The Bible takes very common categories, like attitudes for prayer, and will take you to different passages to help you study that subject. Like the topic chain, this is very useful when it comes to trying to find specific passages speaking upon one topic.
Overall, I love the Thompson Chain Reference Bible. It's easy to use, and a really great study tool! I like to personally use the character and category studies for devotions. I can take a week of time and read through a character study for devotions with their outline guiding me.
I would highly recommend this Bible to anyone who is looking for a useful study tool for devotions. It would also come in handy if you are teaching. If you have a topic you are teaching on, this Bible would be very useful for finding verses that are tied together talking on the same point. Below the photos are a few links to where you can pick up your very own Thompson Chain Reference Bible. You won't regret it!
The Journal Bible is a Bible style produced by both Thomas Nelson and Zondervan that has a unique squarish look and feel. Unlike most Bibles (and books for that matter), these Bibles are not as narrow and tall. Instead they are a little wider in the pages to give room for notepad margins and single column reading. As you can see in the photo I shared, these Bibles leave PLENTY of space for writing notes. This is a photo of my personal NKJV Journal Bible. (They also have other available translations such as NIV, ESV, and KJV)
I am someone who likes to see proof that a Bible is in use. You probably have that one friend who has a Bible that looks brand new still sitting on the shelf that it has sat on the past five years, right? Or maybe that's you... Personally, I think a good looking Bible, is a well used Bible. I like the Bibles that have signs of war, sorrow, joy, and growth all over them. That is one of the reasons this is my daily use Bible.
It fits comfortably in the Bible case I bought for it so the spine and cover are not ruined while I can still use the inside almost daily. Taking notes on passages is fairly easy with this Bible, and the margins make note-taking great as the columns are not too wide or too thin. I have just enough room to fit five small words or one-two large words on each line. Also, because of the wider page size, the Bible is easy to lay flat on a table or my lap. I have no problem taking notes during church with this Bible.
I would say that one thing I wish this Bible had was a small loop on the cover to hold a pen. If it had one, I would not have bought the Bible case. When I first used this Bible, I realized I would forget a pen often when I went to and fro with it, which was very annoying as it is for note-taking. Buying a Bible case that had a pen-holder inside was an easy solution, but the issue could have been avoided if there was one included on the Bible. All that to say, if you buy this Bible and you're as forgetful as me, I'd recommend buying a case that can hold a pen and highlighter or this Bible won't get the use it deserves.
One of the things I love about this Bible (other than the note-taking) is the color of my pages! It's hard to tell in the picture I took, but they are a bland yellow color, close to something like an off white with a yellow tint to it. It really gives you that notepad feel when writing. It is very nice for anytime you decide to write outside; you won't have to worry about the sun's reflection on white paper blinding you. It is also not a problem with any pen color I have used. Most of my writing is in purple or black, but I have also used a pretty light blue and have no problem reading it on the yellow background. I am pretty sure that some of these Bibles do come with white pages also so make sure you read the description before purchasing if that is something important to you.
Overall, I recommend this Bible to anyone that wants to take notes during sermons or devotions. It can be used for note-taking like I do, or more of a sketch Bible where you do some creative art on the sides writing verses in calligraphy, or even a diary/journal Bible where you can write dates and about your life at the time of reading certain pages.
If you're like me, this is one of the best Bibles for someone who likes to write down doctrines/principals in their Bible. I have pages where I can highlight verses and then write (for example) "sanctification..." giving the definition. This way I know this passage teaches this term. I also really like that in the very back of the Bible, there are a few extra pages with the header "Notes". I use these pages for when I want to quote someone.
Here are some of the Bible cover styles they have. Just click on a cover you like!
The Bible has many routes you can take with it. Bibles like these leave the use up to the user, so get creative! I have used my personal Journal Bible for two years now; it's almost time for a new one! They come in leather, hardcover, and even some really nice hard cloth covers. I will leave a link below if you want to check them out. I hope you enjoy our new Journal Bible as much as I enjoy mine!
If you do not already know, Ted Dekker is a very well known author in the Christian world of books today. A quote from his about section on his website states the following: "Ted Dekker is an multiple award-winning, New York Times and international bestselling author of over 40 novels. His work has reached tens of millions worldwide and has been translated into numerous languages and adapted into major feature films."
Impressive, right? He is truly blessed with a gift.
I picked up this book at a local library that had books for sale for my mom's past birthday. She has only a few chapters left in her reading. The main reason I chose this book is because of the author. Not knowing what to expect, it is actually a great book choice for Christians and nonchristians as well. Ted Dekker has this talent where the way he conveys his words causes your emotions and imagination to run rampant with the story. Though the book is about Jesus, I would not say that it comes off in a "preachy" sense. The author took a much more historical perspective when writing, using the Bible as one of the main sources. Personally, I like that the author has used the integrity of the Bible in His beliefs as his main point of reference but still wrote in the sense of a universal perspective. This makes the book not seem too "preachy" or as if the "Bible is being shoved down my throat" to a nonbeliever. (That's totally my subjective opinion.)
As a Christian fiction book based on the time of Jesus, you would think Jesus would be the main character. Wrong... The main character is actually part of the fiction added to the story. The story is written from the first person point of view of Maviah. Maviah makes an epic escape from her home, that is under affliction from an enemy. She journeys through the desert to speak to the king of the Jews, Herod, in hopes of forming an alliance in attempts to save her people. In her travels she ends up encountering with a man, Yeshua, whose words begin to impact her plan of salvation for her people.
Will Maviah finish what she started and meet with Herod, or will Yeshua cause a change in the entire plan?
A.D. 30 speaks of the time of Jesus walking the earth. The subtitle says it all: "Experience the Way of Jesus as you never have." The book is based on the Biblical account of the Gospels, but has fictional characters with dialogue that walk with you, Maviah, along side of Jesus throughout mainly the second portion of the book.
The book is full of description on culture and environment of the day. The animals, the weather, and the interactions between the different ethic groups is witnessed first hand. Have you ever wondered what kind of tension was in the air when Jesus spoke to the Scribes and Pharisees? Ever try to picture what it was like for Jesus to perform miracles before a crowd of people? Have you ever envisioned the mixture of love and hatred Jesus received around Him for calling Himself the Messiah? Ted Dekker brings all this to life for you.
Get an experiential view of who Jesus really was through Ted Dekker's A.D. 30. Click the link below to see the book online, read the summary, and see what other readers think of the book.