On April 20-21, Bethlehem College & Seminary and Crossway cohosted the Theologians on the Christian Life Conference.
John Piper kicked off the conference by answering questions given to him by Justin Taylor. I found the interaction both inspiring and enjoyable as Piper helps listeners understand the important role of biography in the Christian life.
Piper addresses a similar struggle many people have in reading biography—it can be hard to persevere. I'm convinced this is because many biographies are just poorly written. Therefore, choosing a well written biography is actually more important than choosing any biography of your favorite historical figure at random.
Here is a short list of biographies I have read and recommend:
If you are just beginning to read Christian biography, I recommend you start with the Theologians on the Christian Life series. I have found each of the books to be helpful in understanding the personal life & ministry of the theologian while also offering insights into how their view of the Christian life can impact our own. Tolle lege!
I recently received an advanced copy of Matt Perman's forthcoming book How to Get Unstuck: Breaking Free from Barriers to Your Productivity. The book releases on Amazon May 1, 2018.
Here is an endorsement from Todd Wilson, Senior Pastor at Calvary Memorial Church:
I'm a big fan of Matt Perman's work. If you can imagine a cross between theologian Jonathan Edwards and Getting Things Done guru David Allen, then you have in your head a picture of Matt Perman. No one combines theological substance with practical and transformative self-management insights like Matt. His What's Best Next was hugely helpful--and I couldn't be more excited about his thoughtful and imminently practical new book How to Get Unstuck. Nothing faddish or superficial here. This is God-centered and gospel-driven wisdom--the best of self-management insights set within a genuinely Christian framework of flourishing in Christ. Highly recommended!
Every year I have some sort of plan for reading through the Bible. Last year I took it slow and digested particular books of the Bible through inductive study and meditation (Philippians, John, Psalms). A few years ago I read through the entire Bible accompanied with a reading plan for Jim Hamilton's God's Glory in Salvation Through Judgment (highly recommend) and really enjoyed it.
This year I am reading through the entire Bible accompanied by Tom Schreiner's The King in His Beauty. Schreiner is one of my favorite theologians for the reason being that he does Biblical Theology so well in all of his writings (E.g. His book on covenants). The King in His Beauty is a beautiful culmination of deep theological reflection coupled with a cohesive thread Schreiner masterfully weaves through each book of the Bible.
The book is broken into nine parts:
Each "part" groups books of the Bible together to give the reader a well-rounded, cohesive view of the entire canon. Schreiner's goal is that the reader would leave the book with a greater understanding of the "major themes in the narrative" (p. xii, TKIHB). I believe that a careful reading of Schreiner's book, accompanied with focused Bible reading, will help you see the broader story line of the Bible in each book of the Old and New Testament.
I commend you to read through the Bible this year with TKIHB as an aid for helping you grow in your knowledge and love of God. You can find one-year and two-year reading plans here. May the Lord bless you and keep you as you read His Word this year!
Early in 2016 I was presented with an opportunity to put the material I had used for a short lecture I gave on mentoring into a book that would be published by Warner Press Publishing. I gladly accepted and began the joyful (yet grueling) process of researching, writing, and editing a book I titled, Mentoring Like Jesus: Making Discipleship A Part of Everyday Life.
The book was recently published and I couldn't be happier. In the book, I attempt to answer three questions:
I am especially grateful for friends Dr. Donald Whitney & Dr. Josh Moody for their kind endorsements of the book:
"Helpful, practical, biblical, insightful. You will want to read Brad Merchant's grace-filled, resourceful guide to discipling. And buy it for friends at your church to encourage them to make disciples too."
Josh Moody, Senior Pastor, College Church, Wheaton, IL. Author of John 1-12 For You and Jonathan Edwards and Justification.
"Unsure of what it means to disciple another believer in Christ? Unsure of where to start or what to do? Then this little book by Brad Merchant will help you with the very first steps, and show you how doable the Great Commission of Jesus is for every Christian."
Donald S. Whitney, Professor of Biblical Spirituality and Associate Dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. Author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life and Praying the Bible.
The book is a 4x7, 56-page book (pictured below) that can easily be read in one sitting.
The book can be purchased on Amazon, Christianbook.com, and the Warner Press Publishing website. Christianbook.com currently has the book at a discount cost of $3.99. If you purchase the book, snap a picture and tag me on social media (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter)—I'd love to know what you think after you've read it!
“God is the perfect quintessence of good. He is sweetness in the flower. God is a satisfying good. The soul cries out, I have enough, I shall be satisfied with your likeness. Let a man who is thirsty be brought to an ocean of pure water, and he has enough. If there be enough in God to satisfy the angels, then sure there is enough to satisfy us. The soul is but finite, but God is infinite. Though God be a good that satisfies, yet he does not surfeit. Fresh joys spring continually from his face; and he is as much to be desired after millions of years by glorified souls and bodies as at the first moment. There is a fulness in God that satisfies, and yet so much sweetness that the soul still desires. God is a delicious good.”
A Body of Divinity (Banner of Truth) by Thomas Watson
Purchase it here: