Christian books worth reading

Christian books worth reading

In my recent Sabbatical, I had the marvellous opportunity to read more than normal. While some of the books I read were disappointing, these ones made me think and encouraged me in worship of the true God.

The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs (Puritan Paperbacks)

I had been meaning to read this for ages, and I am very glad I did. It was first published in 1648. Now, for some people, that might mean that it is irrelevant. What would someone of that age know about contentment, when we are in a fast-paced technological world? A great deal, in fact. This is the kind of book with riches in every chapter, the kind of book that you should read a few pages at a time and think about. Burroughs is pastoral and well-illustrated and, despite the old English, quite easy to read.

One illustration that stuck with me from this book was the idea of going on a journey. If you are in your own house, you are bothered by a leaky roof or a less-than-comfortable bed. But if you are on a journey, you put up with a pillow that is less comfortable than you’d like and food that is not what you might have at home. You understand your stay is temporary and you will return home. Likewise, Christians are in exile in this world, people who belong in heaven. We can put up with a lot because this is not our permanent home. We can forgo some comforts we might ideally want as we look to a better home to come. What a great way of thinking about it! It certainly made me consider where I feel my true home to be.

This book is highly recommended; we all need to work on our contentment.


A brief theology of periods (yes, really) by Rachel Jones

This caught my eye as I have never seen a Christian book on this topic, yet periods are such a big part of the life of around half of the population. It is the kind of topic that is never discussed in polite company. Yet Rachel Jones has written a short and helpful book not only about biology (though there is a little of that in there), but on how to think about periods theologically.

She deals with passages that deal with periods in the law well, passages that are often confusing. She doesn’t shy away from discussions about discomfort, messiness and pain, but shows how this helps to remind her of important truths of the gospel. There is also an appendix that has a go at the difficult questions like periods and sex and whether there will be periods in heaven. (And you’ll need to read the book for the answers to those!)

Of course, this is a book intended for a female audience, but I appreciated it and would recommend it to men (especially husbands!).


From Every People and Nation: A Biblical Theology of Race by J. Daniel Hays

This is from the NSBT (New Studies in Biblical Theology) series which has produced a few volumes that I have found deep and thoughtful. I am always interested in issues of race, being a pastor of a multiethnic church, but admit I picked this up with trepidation. American books on race tend to focus only on the black-white divide in the USA (which is needed) and don’t go into some broader issues.

I was pleasantly surprised. Daniel Hays is interested in particular in the people of Cush, a major kingdom that was south of Egypt and turns up often in the Bible. As he unpacked a range of passages, there were all kinds of interesting observations. Black-skinned people would have been well known to Israel in the time of the kings and the Cushites were active in many ways. As the broad term “Ethiopian” was used for all kinds of black African peoples in the Biblical text, the people of Cush were often misunderstood.

He also investigated a range of references to race in the New Testament, including the presence of Simeon called Niger and the Ethiopian eunuch. He is unafraid to call out the racial division in churches for the ungodliness that it is, and I appreciated his emphasis on the multiethnic saved people of God.

This is a more academic read, but accessible for thoughtful believers. I am sure you will learn a lot if you read it.