Archives For Lists

Realistically, this probably won’t happen. But, since noting the perils of reading too much, I have thought about ways to cut down. In that post I also pointed out Tim Challies Reading Challenge. After giving it a bit of thought, it seemed good to me and the Holy Spirit to give it a shot.

I need to prioritize reading in order to feed myself, but I need to prioritize other tasks more so that reading doesn’t become a gluttonous activity. I go back and forth about spending my morning doing other things and pushing reading into the afternoon. Ultimately, this might be best since I like reading enough to still do it in the afternoon, whereas making it to the gym can be put off once I’m tired. I may have to ease into adjusting my morning routine, so bear with me.

When it comes to the reading challenge, if I complete it in full, I’ll read 104 books. That’s a bit low for me, given my past history according to Goodreads. As you can see, I usually average around 150 a year:

Book stats

(Not pictured: 2012, which was a low year of 103 books)

Full disclosure, I didn’t read the NICOT Psalms volume cover to cover (I’m doing that this year). I did read enough of it to consider it “read” though. I do that with some longer works, usually commentaries, but not with the other two longest books pictured, which I did read cover to cover. Anyway, I digress…

This year, I thought I’d try to broaden my reading and get back to reading more for enjoyment than for busyness. I say that because I often I end up reading books that are ok for the most part (usually 4 stars given my rating system) but are not particularly enjoyable. I feel obligated to read these books for one reason or another, and so dutifully complete them. Often, this turns into a form of procrastination. Everyone only has so much time in the day, so if I’m reading 150-160 books a year that average 256 pages (last year at least), then I’m doing that instead of many other things. I feel obligated to read these books, but often I don’t really have to, and I’m putting off doing something else (like writing).

Instead, I’d like to read less but read better. Hopefully, this first leg of the Reading Challenge can help. The way it works is like a snowball. You begin with the Light Plan, which includes 13 books:

  • A book about Christian living
  • A biography
  • A classic novel
  • A book someone tells you “changed my life”
  • A commentary on a book of the Bible
  • A book about theology
  • A book with the word “gospel” in the title or subtitle
  • A book your pastor recommends
  • A book more than 100 years old
  • A book for children
  • A mystery or detective novel
  • A book published in 2016
  • A book about a current issue

Some of these are obviously in my wheelhouse. It does have quite a bit more fiction than I usually read, but I need to read more of that anyway. I put some thought into it and came up with this list for the first leg:

Some of these are still pretty typical reads for me, but I think it is a little bit broader than normal. I’m trying to utilize books for review where possible, but also trying to think outside the lines when I can. I’m still taking recommendations for a “book that changed my life,” I got a few on Twitter, but am still undecided. Feel free to lobby for something for me to add there.

In the meantime, I’ll get to reading and once I finish this set, I do another set of 13, then a set of 26, then a set of 52. Sounds like fun right?

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As is my custom, several weeks back I started a series on book recommendations and then promptly abandoned it. I gave some recommended readings in Reformed theology, promised some on systematic and biblical theology, and well here we are. It would be pointless to promise when those posts will arrive, but most likely it will be before Easter (ever the optimist I am).

In the meantime, this is a collection of previous posts with commentary recommendations. What is a biblical commentary you ask? It is a book designed to help you understand either a specific book of the Bible or a collection of books in the Bible. If you have a study Bible, the notes in it a usually a short version of what a full commentary is (although the ESV and NIVZSB are pretty commentaries in their own right). It is a book that should help you understand the literature, culture, and theology of a given book of the Bible. That last point is somewhat disputed when it comes to commentaries that are more technical. That is, those commentaries tend to go into extensive detail on the literary, cultural, and historical side of things, but do not always terminate in explaining the theological message of the book.

Commentaries come in many shapes and sizes. They also tend to get published in series. Some of these are specific to the Old or New Testament, and some are for the entire Bible. The website that I like to gather recommendations from categories commentaries as either devotional, pastoral, or technical. This is roughly a beginner, intermediate, advanced kind of categorization, although the difference has to do more with focus. The devotional commentary is more for the average person who just wants to understand the book of the Bible better as part of their own personal growth and study. The pastoral commentary is generally more for pastors and teachers of the Bible, and goes into more detail in places. The technical commentary is for pastors and professors and as you might imagine, goes into even more detail, often focusing more on literary and cultural dimensions and less on the theological ones.

A couple of years ago, I put together a series of posts with my recommend commentaries for each book of the Bible. Here are the Old Testament lists:

The post on Old Testament Backgrounds gives a good orientation to both the background of the Old Testament and how to select commentaries on it. After I finished the series, I collated my recommendations into a single post, which you can read here.

Here are the New Testament lists:

There isn’t a corresponding New Testament backgrounds post, but this is a similar type of post. Along with all of this, you can read my reviews of specific commentaries, although they are rarely very in depth.

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Every now and then I’ll read about book about reading other books. It’s kind of weird when you think about it like that, but some books are more about other books than they are about themselves. My favorite in this category is probably Tony Reinke’s Lit. While that’s a more comprehensive theology of reading with general tips about how to do it well, it still is a book about reading other books.

More recently I recommend a book called You Must Read, and did the write up for Christ and Pop Culture’s member offering, A Christian Guide to The Classics. Both of those books were aimed at making you want to set down the book you were reading and go read something better (no offense). In a very similar vein, Douglas Wilson takes the space in his most recent book to recommend 9 authors that you should read. Those authors are:

  • G. K. Chesterton
  • H. L. Mencken
  • P. G. Wodehouse
  • T. S. Eliot
  • J. R. R. Tolkien
  • C. S. Lewis
  • R. F. Capon
  • M. S. Robinson
  • N. D. Wilson

There’s a few things we could note about this list. One is that the last author listed is Doug’s son. The other is perhaps that Robert Farrar Capon and Marilynne Robinson don’t usually abbreviate their names. Another is that this is pretty exclusively a 20th century type of list. However, if we think of this as Wilson’s suggestion of people he personally enjoys reading, it’s not that big of a deal. He at least admits he contrived it to be all abbreviated names, and he makes no bones about presenting his son, who objectively speaking, is a pretty accomplished writer.

Wilson seems to be one of those kinds of pastors/writers that you either love or hate. I think Andy Naselli sums up well how I feel:

Doug Wilson is brilliant, and he communicates brilliantly. That’s a rare combination. I’ve saidbefore that when I read or hear Doug Wilson, he usually evokes one of three responses: (a) I strongly agree. Witty, pithy, insightful. I wish I would’ve written or said that. (b) I strongly agree, but an improved tone could win others over. (Think Tim Keller.) (c) I strongly disagree, and the tone is off-putting.

I think it’s healthy to have this kind of range of responses. It is probably unhealthy, for your opinion of any writer, to feel (a) all the time. On the other hand, Wilson, being someone who wrote a book defending sarcastic satire (see Frame’s review, and Wilson’s response), can very often rub people the wrong way. I’m not usually on the receiving end of that and so usually enjoy reading Wilson and find myself agreeing more often than not.

If one thinks of the book like the earlier ones I mentioned, then the take-away is in the conclusions to each chapter where Wilson offers his suggested path through the works of the authors he recommends. His brief biographical sketches in each chapter are entertaining, but ultimately, if this book doesn’t make you want to read at least some of the authors listed, it has failed to meet its own goals. I came away wanting to read more Wodehouse, who Wilson originally got me interested in back in seminary. I was also intrigued about Robert Farrar Capon and Mencken. I’ve read much of Lewis already, as well as the main works of Tolkien. I need to read Gilead at some point. And of course, I should give Chesterton a shot sometime soon.

While this was an enjoyable read for me, it’s not a book for everyone. If you like Wilson, you’ll like this book. If you don’t like Wilson, then you probably wouldn’t want to read this or anything else he writes and might be tempted to be overly critical of this book. That would be unfortunate since the focus of this book is one the other authors that Wilson wants us to read. As a road map to their writings, I think this book is worth checking out. But, since the meat is in the conclusions, you could almost just skim it in your local bookstore, and then go buy some Wodehouse, Lewis, or Robinson.


Douglas Wilson, Writers to Read: Nine Names That Belong on Your BookshelfWheaton: Crossway, 2015. 176 pp. Paperback, $16.99.

Buy itAmazon | Westminster

Read an excerpt

Visit the publisher’s page

Thanks to Crossway for the review copy!

Over at Lifehacker, I saw this image giving a rundown on logical fallacies (thanks to Visual.ly) and it seemed like the perfect post for philosophy Friday:

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I mentioned on Monday that I had withdrawn from Ph.D studies at SBTS. It wasn’t actually official until today when I received the e-mail from the registrar, but everything on my end was done back at the beginning of December. Rather than fully explain what I’m planning to do long term when it comes to Ph.D studies, I thought I’d explain more about what I’m doing now short term.

Ever since I was at Dallas, Ph.D work has been the plan, but in a kind of abstract sense. I’ve had general aspirations, but no actual plans until my final year at Dallas when I first started an application to SBTS. When that remained unfinished, Ph.D work became a kind of “sometime, someday” sort of thing.

This of course all changed last fall when I re-applied to SBTS, took the entrance exams, and got accepted. Because of how quickly that process came together, I didn’t have time to really reflect on what I was getting into until this past summer. I think part of the outcome of doing that was realizing I ultimately wanted to do a theology Ph.D, and I explained last post where that led.

Because actually doing Ph.D work was now on my radar, I started doing some reading about it to look for guidance. Very helpfully, I was able to get several of the books that entering Ph.D students at SBTS are required to read:

The take-away from the first one is that you need to have set time to write in your schedule, which is part of what I’m doing right now. I’m still working through the second but am finding it very helpful and possibly something to use in a critical-thinking/creative problem solving class I’m helping put together. As for the latter, it’s just a good general overview that I had originally read at Dallas. I re-scanned the newest edition and you can read my thoughts on it here.

In addition, I am hoping to read the following two titles soon, which would also be required reading if I were starting SBTS

The former I skimmed at Dallas. It is helpful as far as providing a framework for organizing your research in a paper format. The latter I’ve only heard good things about. I imagine that is similar to the recent book by Steven Pinker, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. The chapters are a bit on the long side, but the insights into clear grammar and style are worth it.

Though not required at SBTS, I recently read this trio of books:

The first has some good general advice for submitting papers to journals but is mainly helpful if you’re writing psychology articles. The second is a good overview of the dissertation process, though I’m not sure how applicable it is for humanities Ph.D’s. The advice on choosing an adviser and topic I found particularly helpful.

The last book was particularly informative, even if it is geared more toward students looking to do a Ph.D in biblical studies rather than theology. A point that Witherington made that was helpful for me personally is that teaching the Bible really requires you to be a generalist while getting a Ph.D requires choosing a specialty. I latently realized that my dissertation topic doesn’t pin me down to a certain specialty for the rest of my teaching career. But it was helpful to have Witherington expound on it and explain that I didn’t have to lose my love for generality in order to pursue a career in teaching. In fact, I’ll probably need it if I want to teach theology well.

I have some titles that I’ll be working through, but I’ve found that generally, I’m looking at titles about researching and writing better since that’s the bulk of the dissertation. In addition, I’m looking at titles that give an overview of the process and then I’m putting together a general reading plan to nail down potential topics. I’ll have more to say about that Friday.

If you have any advice on this, I’d love to hear it. Anybody else preparing for Ph.D work or even in the middle of it? What did you find helpful?

Top Links

Together For The Gospel Main Sessions

All the audio for the main sessions of Together For The Gospel are online now. I’d really recommend Kevin DeYoung’s and John Piper’s messages.

Holy Week Day 1: Palm Sunday (Justin Taylor)

This series of videos will run all week corresponding with the book The Final Days of Jesus (see my review Tuesday)

Hollywood, Movies, and The Bible: Should We Rewind on How We View? (Darrell Bock)

I have watched with great interest the thumbs up or thumbs down on the host of recent Hollywood movies. I have seen those opinions raised often with a sense that if you think otherwise, the Holy Spirit must have departed your soul while you were at the movie or departed from it before you made the decision to go.

As one tasked to discuss cultural engagement at a seminary, I’m interested to see how church leaders respond to these films. And I am worried we are missing the boat on Noahand other movies, whether made by those inside or outside of the church. The questions we are asking about their content are important, but the tone and how we are reacting may be missing the mark. We may need to push rewind and rethink how we review what Hollywood produces for us.

Is Mental Illness Actually Biblical? (Stephen Altrogge)

I recently read two articles by a well known Christian author who is also closely connected to a Christian counseling foundation. The articles essentially argued that mental illness was a social construct created by secular doctors and psychiatrists, and therefore, is not biblical. So, when a person is depressed, he is really just experiencing sadness, and to try to treat it medically is to short circuit the power of God. When a person is anxious, she is really just experiencing worry, and to treat it medically is a secular answer to a spiritual problem. You get the idea.

The desire behind the article was good: the author was trying to demonstrate that Jesus is sufficient for every facet of life. However, I believe that treating mental illness as only (or even primarily) a spiritual problem is both profoundly unbiblical and incredibly hurtful to those who struggle with mental illness.

This List Reveals The Heartbleed Affected Passwords to Change Now (Lifehacker)

By now you’ve probably heard about the massive Heartbleed security bug that may have compromised the majority of the world’s web sites. Everyone should change their passwords on the affected sites—but only after those sites have patched the issue. Mashable is maintaining and updating a list of the most popular sites you should change your passwords for ASAP.

Random Thoughts

  • I had a great time in Louisville last week. It was good to actually hang out in person with several friends I know through blogging and Twitter. Also, I was able to meet my Ph.D adviser and talk with the director of doctoral studies about some independent study options. It more less sealed the deal since I found out I could have my cake and eat it too (more on that later).
  • I will probably have some book giveaways in the near future. For one, I need to reduce, but also, I got about 30 free books at Together For The Gospel and now I have duplicates. Some of those I have reviewed, so I’m thinking I’ll add a giveaway to the existing review and then post about it on Twitter/Facebook.
  • With the prospect of doctoral studies on the horizon, I’m trying to decide how to spend my free time the next few months. Do I get a head start? Do I just pleasure read? Do I start working on French/Latin/German? Do I just not read at all for a while? (No). Probably will do some planning this next week since, because of testing, functions like a second spring break.
  • They just opened a new Panera literally across the street from our neighborhood. Though I am Starbucks loyalist, I am more of a “nice outdoor patio” loyalist, so I think I found a new hang out and study spot. Also, I see many discipleship meetings on the horizon, and potentially an apologetics or theology group. We’ll see.

From My YouTube History

A History of Pizza

Nan’s First Roller Coaster Ride

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Yesterday, I posted this picture of Matt Perman’s just released book, What’s Best Next: How The Gospel Transforms The Way You Get Things Done. I’ve been looking forward to reading it for a while, and now it’s finally arrived (You can read a sample here).

In the preface of the book, Matt lays out 12 myths about productivity that many of us may have unwittingly bought into (13-16). Originally, I thought I’d list these out for you followed by the corresponding truths that Matt explains in his book.

Instead, I thought it would be interesting to quiz yourself and see how God/gospel centered your view of getting things done is. At the end I’ll list the myths and truths in total. Let’s see how you do:

Quiz

  1. Productivity is about getting more done faster
  2. The way to be productive is to have the right techniques and tools
  3. It is not essential to give consideration to what God has to say about productivity
  4. It is not essential to make the gospel central in our view of productivity
  5. The way to be productive is to tightly manage yourself (and others!)
  6. The aim of time management should be our peace of mind
  7. The way to succeed is to put yourself first
  8. We will have peace of mind if we can get everything under control
  9. To-do lists are enough
  10. Productivity is best defined by tangible outcomes
  11. The time we spend working is a good measure of our productivity
  12. Having to work really hard or even suffer in our work means our priorities are screwed up or we are doing something wrong.

Results

Think you did pretty good? I’m hoping you guessed that #3, #4, and #7 are definitely myths. The truth is though that these are all productivity myths in one way or another. Matt sheds light on this by presenting the corresponding truth for each of the above myths:

  1. Productivity is about effectiveness first, not efficiency
  2. Productivity comes first from character, not techniques
  3. We cannot be truly productive unless all our activity stems from love for God and the acknowledgment that he is sovereign over all our plans
  4. The only way to be productive is to realize that you don’t have to be productive
  5. Productivity comes from engagement, not tight control; when we are motivated, we don’t need to tightly control ourselves (or others)
  6. Productivity is first about doing good for others to the glory of God
  7. We become most productive by putting others first, not ourselves
  8. Basing our peace of mind on our ability to control everything will never work
  9. Time is like space, and we need to see lists as support material for our activity zones, not as sufficient in themselves to keep track of what we have to do
  10. The greatest evidence of productivity comes from intangibles, not tangibles
  11. We need to measure productivity by results, not by time spent working
  12. We will (sometimes) suffer from our work, and it is not sin

If some of these truths seem counter-intuitive, or liberating to the way you approach your daily work, you should probably check out What’s Best Next. You should probably read this post by Matt explaining more about why he wrote the book. If you’re interested in trying to secure a free copy, there are other bloggers offering giveaways, here, here, and here. As always, Justin Taylor has a good write-up too.

Hopefully, I’ll have a fully review of my own by next week. So far, it’s a very beneficial read that I’m hoping will reshape the way I approach juggling my current schedule. I’m definitely tempted to believe that efficiency is more important than it is and that tangible results are most important. I expect to have a better understand of why that’s not the case as I continue reading and applying the wisdom in this book.

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I recently finished reading Peter Kreeft’s The Philosophy of Tolkien. It is an excellent book if you like Tolkien and are interested in his ideas. Even if you are not, it is still excellent. As the framework for his book, Kreeft highlights 11 areas of philosophy and 50 questions that Lord of The Rings deals with. Though he notes that this list is far from a complete introduction, it is nonetheless a “representative sample of the most important of them [the questions to be asked],” and specifically, “the ones that make the greatest difference in our lives” (27). So, if you could highlight 50 questions to spend the rest of your life answering, here they are (and you can read Kreeft’s book to see how Tolkien, and Lewis would answer them):

Metaphysics

  • How big is reality?
  • Is the supernatural real?
  • Are Platonic Ideas real?

Philosophical Theology

  • Does God exist?
  • Is life subject to divine providence?
  • Are we both fated and free?
  • Can we relate to God by “religion”?

Angelology

  • Are angels real?
  • Do we have guardian angels?
  • Could there be creatures between men and angels, such as Elves?

Cosmology

  • Is nature really beautiful?
  • Do things have personalities?
  • Is there real magic?

Anthropology

  • Is death good or bad?
  • Is romance more thrilling than sex?
  • Why do humans have identity crises?
  • What do we most deeply desire?

Epistemology

  • Is knowledge always good?
  • Is intuition a form of knowledge?
  • Is faith (trust) wisdom or ignorance?
  • What is truth?

Philosophy of History

  • Is history a story?
  • Is the past (tradition) a prison or a lighthouse?
  • Is history predictable?
  • Is there devolution as well as evolution?
  • Is human life a tragedy or a comedy?

Aesthetics

  • Why do we no longer lover glory or splendor?
  • Is beauty always good?

Philosophy of Language

  • How can words be alive?
  • The metaphysics of words: Can words have real power?
  • Are there right and wrong words?
  • Is there an original, universal, natural language?
  • Why is music so powerful?

Political Philosophy

  • Is small beautiful?
  • Can war be noble?

Ethics: The War of Good and Evil

  • Is evil real?
  • How powerful is evil?
  • How weak is evil?
  • How does evil work?

Ethics: The “Hard” Virtues

  • Do principles or consequences make an act good?
  • Why must we be heroes?
  • Can one go on without hope?
  • Is authority oppressive and obedience demeaning?
  • Are promises sacred?

Ethics: The “Soft” Virtues

  • What is the power of friendship?
  • Is humility humiliating?
  • What should you give away?
  • Does mercy trump justice?
  • Is charity a waste?

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I’m very overdue for a post on reading and reviewing books. I spent most of December reviewing books, so that’s probably why. If you’re keeping score at home, the last post was on the bibliographic details. Before that, I explained the three types of book reviews I typically do. For other posts, you can check back with the table of contents.

This post goes more in tandem with the post about how Goodreads meddles with my reading habits. The question left unanswered was “Just what are those reading habits?” Goodreads will tell you what I’m currently reading, but this is how I track what I plan on reading (rather than using Goodreads “To-Read” section).

I’ve tried many different things, but the basic way I keep track of what I want to read is through the Clear App (pictured above). I’ve found since I’ve started doing this I have a better focus for my reading and it helps keep curiosity in check (an issue I’ll talk about in another post soon). There is some consistency in the above outline and the current setup of the book review page. There the categories are:

  • Apologetics
  • Biblical Theology
  • Christian Worldview
  • Christian Living
  • Commentaries
  • Historical Theology
  • Hermeneutics
  • Old Testament
  • New Testament
  • Philosophy
  • Practical Theology
  • Systematic Theology

For actual reading purposes, I’ve simplified it, and here’s what that entails

Biblical Studies

This includes almost everything Bible related. I don’t differentiate between Old and New Testament like I do in reviews, which is more to help you find things. Biblical theology falls under this category, as does any commentaries I might be working on. Typically though, I don’t just read commentaries. If I am, it is because I’m working toward a review, or because I’m doing research for a pastor’s sermon. Sometimes, it is for my own class prep, but if that’s the case, I’m using the introduction not necessarily planning on reading the entire book.

Christian Living

This is my list for all things practical when it comes to the spiritual realm. I distinguish Christian living and practical theology by seeing the former as more directly application based, and the latter being more on the theoretical side. Paul Tripp might be an example of someone who bridges the gap, but on this scheme, his books would more readily fall under Christian living. If it is more theological, even though it is about the Christian life, I would probably file it under the theology list.

Hermeneutics

This gets its own list primarily because it is of special interest. I could file this under Biblical Studies, but I’m reading on the more philosophical side. Anything on the theological interpretation of Scripture falls under here, but so does the recent collection of essays by Anthony Thiselton which are more philosophical than theological (though there is both). This probably qualifies as my special research interest, and I’m gathering a general idea of what I might like to write a dissertation on. Hence, separate list from other reading.

Philosophy

Though my review habits don’t include a lot of philosophy, it has its own list on here because it is something I enjoy reading, and may potentially be reading much more of it in the coming days (I’ll explain later). So far this year, I’ve read 3 books with the word philosophy in the title, and used my Amazon Gift Card to get several more. Also, given the nature of much of the apologetic reading that I do, most of it would be filed here.

Theology

Theology on this breakdown is all theology except for biblical. I consider that more a part of biblical studies, but it could just as easily be put here. Instead, I put titles here that are more overtly theological. Mostly it books dealing with the topics of systematic theology, but I also include heavier practical theology titles, as well as historical theology. Given the way the lists are setup, it is pretty easy to distinguish between what falls under this heading and what fits under a different one.

Worldview

This is kind of catch-all category. On the book review page I call it Christian worldview because the books that I review come from Christian publishers. Here, anything that is aimed at shaping the way you look at the world falls here. So this would include psychology books, leadership books, literature books, as well as some how-to books that don’t fit under Christian living (like a book on writing better or dieting). The idea is that these books are not primarily drawing on Scripture and are not primarily theological or philosophical. That makes it a kind of non-fiction grab bag, but so far it works well.

Review

Now, what you cannot see in the screenshot above is that I have a separate list called “Review,” which is just what it sounds like: all the books that I have to read and review. Because you’re curious, currently the number is 18. Regardless of what type of book it is, if I’m reading it for review purposes, it goes on that list. I tend to order the books in priority, but there is generally no set due date, so I do some shuffling (almost every day to be exact).

Overall, I found this system a good way to keep running lists of my reading intentions. This keeps it organized somewhere outside my mind, so I really don’t fret or worry about when I’m gonna read what or whether or not I’ll finish a book in time. If there is a set due date, I’ll make it a to-do item in my 2Do app. If not, I’ll just read what I see fit in the spare time that I have (which is usually before most people wake up). If you’re really interested in reading and reviewing books, you need some kind of system to keep track of what to read and when. This is what works for me. If you give it a try, let me know how it works for you!

According to my back-end stats page, here are the top 10 posts on the blog this year:

  1. Why I Dropped The Horner Bible Reading Plan
  2. 4 Steps To Better Bible Study
  3. Inception Within Inception
  4. How To Worship When You Think The Songs Suck
  5. How To Be More Productive In College
  6. Why The Spinning Top in Inception Doesn’t Matter
  7. My Adjustments To Prof. Horner’s Bible Reading Plan
  8. Faith That Moves Mountains: A Prosperity Gospel Blunder
  9. A Flexible Bible Reading Plan For 2013
  10. Christ Centered Biblical Counseling

It is interesting to me, but not all that surprising that only one book review made it into the top 10. Part of that is the transient nature of book reviews. The other part of that is for some reason I do really well in SEO when it comes to a) Inception and b) Prof. Horner’s Bible reading plan. The other posts that have done well have been because they were shared on other blogs, something that doesn’t happen too often with book reviews, and when it does, doesn’t necessarily generate many clicks.

I realize all this of course, and part of that is why I pushed so many reviews into the last month. I’d like to start reviewing less and less (for reasons I’ll explain later), and refocus on actually writing original material more. I know I’ve said that before, but hey, it’s almost a new year, so things like that come with the territory.

Looking back though, because of the end of the year push, I actually out-did last year’s total of 72, and got up to a nice round 80 (it’ll actually be 81 New Year’s Eve and almost doubles 2011’s 41 total). To be fair, not all are full-scale reviews, and not all are of equal quality. Some are rather extensive, others not so much. But, here they are, broken up by the old category system I had on the review page (click here to see the new more easy to use one):

Biblical Studies

  1. Proverbs: Wisdom That Works
  2. Paul’s Missionary Methods: In His Time and Ours
  3. God’s Saving Grace: A Pauline Theology
  4. Paul’s Letter to The Romans (PNTC)
  5. Exploring The Religion of Ancient Israel
  6. The Book of Judges (NICOT)
  7. Song of Solomon: An Invitation to Intimacy
  8. Ephesians (ZECNT)
  9. Simon Peter: In Scripture and Memory
  10. Jesus The Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel’s King
  11. The Unfolding Mystery of The Divine Name
  12. The Invention of The Biblical Scholar
  13. Charts on The Book of Hebrews
  14. Romans (Teach The Text)
  15. Charts on Paul’s Letters
  16. 40 Questions About Interpreting The Bible
  17. Between Babel and Beast: America and Empire in Biblical Perspective
  18. Jesus Is Lord: Caesar Is Not
  19. The Epistle to The Hebrews (NICNT)
  20. Interpreting The Pauline Letters: An Exegetical Handbook
  21. Preaching The New Testament
  22. Jesus On Every Page
  23. Matthew (ZECNT)
  24. What The Old Testament Authors Really Cared About
  25. The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ In The Old Testament
  26. In The Beginning We Misunderstood: Interpreting Genesis 1 in Its Original Context
  27. Horizons in Hermeneutics and The Future of Biblical Interpretation
  28. Galatians (ZECNT)
  29. Colossians/Philemon (ZECNT)
  30. 1 & 2 Thessalonians (ZECNT)
  31. A Theology of Luke and Acts: God’s Promised Program, Realized For All Nations
  32. Luke (ZECNT)
  33. Acts (ZECNT)
  34. The Basics of Ancient Ugaritic: A Concise Grammar, Workbook, and Lexicon
  35. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentaries
  36. A Mouth Full of Fire: The Word of God in The Words of Jeremiah (NSBT)
  37. The Sermon on The Mount (The Story of God Bible Commentary)
  38. Job (Teach The Text)
  39. Jesus Is The Christ: The Messianic Testimony of The Gospels

Culture

  1. The End of Our Exploring
  2. Words For Readers and Writers
  3. Popcultured: Thinking Christianly About Style, Media, and Entertainment
  4. Echoes of Eden: Reflections on Christianity, Literature, and The Arts
  5. Renewing The Evangelical Mission
  6. The New Calvinism Considered: A Personal and Pastoral Assessment
  7. Gray Matters: Navigating The Space Between Legalism and Liberty

Historical Theology

  1. The Quest For The Trinity
  2. Calvin and The Reformed Tradition
  3. The Unrelieved Paradox
  4. Scripture and Tradition: What The Bible Really Says
  5. Classical Christian Doctrine
  6. Church History Volume 2: From Pre-Reformation to Present Day

Practical Theology

  1. Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in Christ
  2. Center Church & Gospel Treason
  3. Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling
  4. Father Hunger: Why God Calls Men To Love and Lead Their Families
  5. Understanding Spiritual Warfare: Four Views
  6. Sex & Money: Pleasures That Leave You Empty and Grace That Satisfies
  7. Outreach and The Artist: Sharing The Gospel With The Arts
  8. Prepared By Grace, For Grace
  9. The Big Story: How The Bible Makes Sense Out of Life
  10. Saving Eutychus: How To Preach God’s Word and Keep People Awake
  11. Formed For The Glory of God
  12. Is God Anti-Gay?
  13. Death By Living: Life Is Meant To Be Spent
  14. A Neglected Grace: Family Worship In The Christian Home
  15. Finally Free: Fighting For Purity With The Power of Grace
  16. Reading The Christian Spiritual Classic: A Guide for Evangelicals
  17. Awakening Faith: Daily Devotions From The Early Church
  18. Preaching? Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching
  19. Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret: Why Serial Innovators Succeed Where Others Fail
  20. Risky Gospel: Abandon Fear and Build Something Awesome

Systematic Theology

  1. Sojourner and Strangers: The Doctrine of The Church
  2. The Mystery of God: Theology For Knowing the Unknowable
  3. Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples
  4. Rethinking The Trinity and Religious Pluralism
  5. Justification By Grace Through Faith
  6. Four Views on The Role of Works At The Final Judgment
  7. The God of The Gospel: Robert Jenson’s Trinitarian Theology
  8. Five Points: Toward A Deeper Experience of God’s Grace