NIV Essentials Study Bible

With a plethora of study Bibles available, here is another one to consider when looking for a Bible to help dig deeper into the Word of God.
One of the differences with this Bible
NIV Essentials Study Bible: Easily Grasp the Fundamentals of Scripture through Lenses from 6 Bestselling NIV Resources
is that it takes portions of 6 other study resources and combines them all into one Bible. With several different lenses to view Scripture, this Bible is a wealth of information for learning the Bible better and understanding what its truths are saying.

Book Introductions: Each book of the Bible has an introductory section with key concepts, verses, teachings and terms. It gives a summary of what the book is about and people to know. It also gives a timeline for where in history that particular book of the Bible occurs.

Throughout the Bible are Q&A lens to address questions that come up concerning that section. Historically significant, archaeological facts are included for better understanding. Character lens are included to better learn about the people of the Bible. Highlight lens draw out details that tend to be overlooked and a Reflect and Respond lens helps to see the bigger picture of the Bible, bringing it all together into one grand narrative.

The NIV translation is easily readable for the average person. This Bible is a great study tool for those wanting to better read and understand Scripture and apply it to their life. With a plethora of insights and study tools, the NIV Essentials Study Bible helps to bring the Bible alive to the reader. Reading plans are included – for reading the whole Bible or for going through key events. Color maps in the back show key aspects throughout the history of the Old and New Testaments.

*I received a copy of this Bible for review from the publisher

14 Books in 4 Categories for 2014

Kind of a take off the 999 challenge from several years ago (9 books in 9 categories in 2009).

4 categories – 14 books each – 56 books all together (my goal for 2014 is 75 books)
I don’t expect that I will actually read these exact books (I’m a mood reader so it depends what grabs my fancy at the time). So I reserve the right to substitute the below books for other books that fit the same category. 🙂

Category 1 – Missions
1. A Biblical Theology of Missions by George Peters
2. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement by Ralph Winter
3. Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper
4. Missions in the Third Millennium by Stan Guthrie
5. The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Missions by Lesslie Newbigin
6. Reformation in Foreign Missions by Bob Finley
7. Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannen
8. Toward a Theology of Missions by M. Thomas Starkes
9. Finish the Mission: Bringing the Gospel to the Unreached and Unengaged by John Piper
10. Run with the Vision by Bob Sjogren
11. The Quest: Changing a Church’s Culture from Missions-Minded to Missions-Active by David Herndon
12. Penetrating Missions’ Final Frontier by T. Mamamori
13. The Changing Face of World Missions: Engaging Contemporary Issues and Trends by Michael Pocock
14. The Reentry Team by Neal Pirolo
(Alternates)
4. When Missions Shapes the Mission by David Horner
5. The Great Omission by Robertson McQuilkin
6. To the Ends of the Earth: Calvin’s Missional Vision and Legacy by Michael Haykin and C. Jeffrey Robinson
7. Holding the Rope by Clint Archer
8. Introduction to Global Missions by Zane Pratt
9. A Concise History of the Christian World Mission by J. Herbert Kane
10. Today’s All-Star Missions Churches by Tom Telford
11.

Category 2 – Theology
1. Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem
2. Christian Thought Revisited: Three Types of Theology by Justo Gonzalez
3. Foundations of the Christian Faith by James Montgomery Boice
4. Housewife Theologian by Aimee Byrd
5. A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology by Kelly Kapic
6. Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church by Gregg Allison
7. God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics by C.S. Lewis
8. Always Reforming: Explorations in Systematic Theology by A.T.B. McGowan
9. Putting Amazing Back Into Grace by Michael Horton
10. Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church by Michael Lawrence
11. The Christian Theology Reader by Alister McGrath
12. Conviction without Compromise: Standing Strong in the Core Beliefs of the Christian Faith by Norman Geisler
13. The Faith: What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It, and Why It Matters by Charles Colson
14. From Scripture to Theology by Charles Scalise
(Alternates)
4. What Is Reformed Theology? by R.C. Sproul
5. God in the Whirlwind by David Wells
6. The Moody Handbook of Theology by Paul Enns
7. The Theology of the Westminster Standards by J.V. Fesko
8. Bible Doctrine by Wayne Grudem
9. Exploring Christian Theology, Vol. One by Nathan Holsteen and Michael Svigel
10.

Category 3 – Christian Growth – specifically Discipleship or Bible Study
1. The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
2. Learn to Study the Bible by Andy Deane
3. Following the Master: A Biblical Theology of Discipleship by Michael Wilkins
4. Applying the Bible by Jack Kuhatschek
5. Reading the Bible with Understanding by Lane Burgland
6. Real-Life Discipleship by Jim Putman
7. Understanding and Applying the Bible by Robertson McQuilken
8. Choose the Life: Exploring a Faith that Embraces Discipleship by Bill Hull
9. The Contemporary Christian: Applying God’s Word to Today’s World by John Stott
10. Bible Study That Works by David Thompson
11. Grasping God’s Word by Scott Duvall
12. Methodical Bible Study by Robert Traina
13. The Master Plan of Discipleship by Robert Coleman
14. A Better Way: Making Disciples Wherever Life Happens by Dale Losch
(Alternates)
5. Understanding Scripture by Mickelsen
6. Knowable Word by Peter Krol
7. Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin
8. His Word in My Heart by Janet Pope
9. Bible Study: Following the Ways of the Word by Kathleen Nielson
10. Make Mature Multiply: Becoming Fully-Formed Disciples of Jesus by Brandon Smith
11. Lord, Teach Me to Study the Bible in 28 Days by Kay Arthur
13. The Disciple Making Church by Glenn McDonald
14.

Category 4 – Church History
1. Turning Points by Mark Noll
2. Church History: A Crash Course for the Curious by Christopher Catherwood
3. Exploring Church History: A Guide to History, World Religions, and Ethics by James Eckman
4. A Short History of Christian Thought by Linwood Urban
5. A History of Christian Thought, Vol. 1: From the Beginnings to the Council of Chalcedon by Justo Gonzalez
6. The 40 Most Influential Christians: Who Shaped What We Believe Today by Daryl Aaron
7. Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley
8. Church History: An Essential Guide by Justo Gonzalez
9. A Concise History of Christian Doctrine by Justo Gonzalez
10. History of the Reformation in the Sixteenth Century by Jean Henri Merle D’Aubigne
11. A History of Christian Thought, Vol. 2: From Augustine to the Eve of the Reformation by Justo Gonzalez
12. A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada by Mark Noll
13. History of the Christian Church in the First Century by Edward Burton
14. A History of Christian Thought, Vol. 3: From the Protestant Reformation to the Twentieth Century by Justo Gonzalez
(Alternates)
4. A Short History of Christianity by Stephen Tomkins
5. Know the Creeds and Councils by Justin Holcomb
6. Know the Heretics by Justin Holcomb
7. Why Church History Matters by Robert Rea
9.

Books on Theology on My Reading List

So many books out there that I want to read! Here are some that are theology-related.
*-means I own

  1. Against Calvinism by Roger Olson*
  2. Always Reforming: Explorations in Systematic Theology by A.T.B. McGowan*
  3. The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink*
  4. A Basic Christian Theology by A.J. Conyers*
  5. Basic Christianity by John Stott*
  6. The Battle Is the Lord’s by Tony Evans*
  7. The Best Is Yet to Come by Tony Evans*
  8. Bible Doctrine by Wayne Grudem*
  9. Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church by Michael Lawrence*
  10. A Biblical Theology of Missions by George Peters*
  11. Blood Work: How the Blood of Christ Accomplishes Our Salvation by Anthony Carter*
  12. Can I Be Sure I’m Saved? by R.C. Sproul*
  13. Can I Have Joy in My Life? by R.C. Sproul*
  14. Can I Know God’s Will? by R.C. Sproul*
  15. Can I Trust the Bible? by R.C. Sproul*
  16. The Canon of Scripture by F.F. Bruce*
  17. Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul
  18. Christ and Him Crucified by Jon Cardwell*
  19. Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem*
  20. The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way by Michael Horton*
  21. Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification by Gerhard Forde
  22. Christian Theology by Millard Erickson*
  23. Christian Theology in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley*
  24. The Christian Theology Reader by Alister McGrath*
  25. Christian Thought Revisited: Three Types of Theology by Justo Gonzalez*
  26. The Church Before the Watching World: A Practical Ecclesiology by Francis Schaeffer*
  27. Classic Christianity: A Systematic Theology by Thomas Oden*
  28. A Concise History of Christian Doctrine by Justo Gonzalez*
  29. A Concise History of Christian Thought by Tony Lane
  30. Concise Theology by J.I. Packer*
  31. Conviction without Compromise: Standing Strong in the Core Beliefs of the Christian Faith by Norman Geisler and Ron Rhodes*
  32. Covenant Theology by Peter Golding*
  33. Covenant Theology: A Reformed and Baptistic Perspective on God’s Covenants by Greg Nichols*
  34. Doctrine Matters: Ten Theological Trademarks from a Lifetime of Preaching by John Piper*
  35. Does God Control Everything? by R.C. Sproul*
  36. Does Prayer Change Things? by R.C. Sproul*
  37. The End Times in Chronological Order by Ron Rhodes*
  38. Essential Truths of the Christian Faith by R.C. Sproul
  39. Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer*
  40. The Faith: What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It, and Why It Matters by Charles Colson*
  41. The Five Dilemmas of Calvinism by Craig Brown*
  42. The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, and Documented by David Steele*
  43. Five Views on Sanctification by Melvin Dieter
  44. Following the Master: A Biblical Theology of Discipleship by Michael Wilkins*
  45. Foundations of the Christian Faith by James Montgomery Boice*
  46. Four Views on Moving Beyond the Bible to Theology by Stanley Gundry*
  47. From Scripture to Theology by Charles Scalise*
  48. God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics by C.S. Lewis*
  49. God’s Glorious Church: The Mystery and Mission of the Body of Christ by Tony Evans*
  50. Gospel Church and Kingdom: Comparative Studies in World Mission Theology by James Scherer*
  51. Historical Theology by Gregg Allison*
  52. A History of Christian Thought, Vols. 1-3 by Justo Gonzalez*
  53. The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul*
  54. Housewife Theologian: How the Gospel Interrupts the Ordinary by Aimee Byrd*
  55. How Can I Develop a Christian Conscience? by R.C. Sproul*
  56. How Should I Live in This World? by R.C. Sproul*
  57. Humble Orthodoxy: Holding the Truth High Without Putting People Down by Joshua Harris*
  58. In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life by Sinclair Ferguson*
  59. Introducing Covenant Theology by Michael Horton*
  60. Kingdom through Covenant by Peter Gentry*
  61. Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief by Bruce Milne*
  62. Lectures on Calvinism by Abraham Kuyper*
  63. A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology by Kelly Kapic*
  64. Living the Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing by C.J. Mahaney
  65. The Mosaic of Christian Belief by Roger Olson*
  66. The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? by F.F. Bruce*
  67. New Testament Theology by Leon Morris*
  68. Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples by Michael Horton*
  69. The Portable Seminary by David Horton*
  70. Progressive Dispensationalism by Craig Blaising*
  71. The Promise-Plan of God: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments by Walter Kaiser
  72. The Promise: Experiencing God’s Greatest Gift – the Holy Spirit by Tony Evans*
  73. A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life by Joel Beeke*
  74. Putting Amazing Back into Grace: Embracing the Heart of the Gospel by Michael Horton*
  75. Returning to Your First Love: Putting God Back in First Place by Tony Evans*
  76. Saved Without a Doubt by John MacArthur*
  77. A Short History of Christian Thought by Urban Linwood*
  78. Sojourners and Strangers by Gregg Allison*
  79. Standing Strong: How to Resist the Enemy of Your Soul by John MacArthur*
  80. Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved by J.D. Greear*
  81. A Survey of Bible Doctrine by Charles Ryrie*
  82. Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof
  83. Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem*
  84. Systematic Theology by Norman Geisler*
  85. Theology Drives Methodology by Karl Dahlfred*
  86. Theology for Ordinary People by Bruce Shelley*
  87. Theology in the Context of World Christianity by Timothy Tennent
  88. Totally Saved: Understanding, Experiencing and Enjoying the Greatness of Your Salvation by Tony Evans*
  89. Toward a Theology of Missions by Thomas Starkes*
  90. The Transforming Power of the Gospel by Jerry Bridges*
  91. The Truth of the Lordship of Christ by John MacArthur*
  92. The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul*
  93. The Unshakable Truth: How You Can Experience the 12 Essentials of a Relevant Faith by Josh McDowell*
  94. Wading in the Deep End: Difficulties in Scripture and Theology by Travis Rogers*
  95. What Can I Do With My Guilt? by R.C. Sproul*
  96. What Does It Mean to be Born Again? by R.C. Sproul*
  97. What Is Baptism? by R.C. Sproul*
  98. What Is Faith? by R.C. Sproul*
  99. What Is the Church? by R.C. Sproul*
  100. What Is the Lord’s Supper? by R.C. Sproul*
  101. What Is the Trinity? by R.C. Sproul*
  102. What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace? by Richard Phillips*
  103. Who Is Jesus? by R.C. Sproul*
  104. Who Is the Holy Spirit? by R.C. Sproul*
  105. Will the Real Christianity Please Stand Up by Donald James Parker*

The Vanishing Evangelical by Calvin Miller

The Vanishing Evangelical: Saving the Church from Its Own Success by Restoring What Really MattersThe Vanishing Evangelical: Saving the Church from Its Own Success by Restoring What Really Matters by Calvin Miller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was rather depressing, but I think quite realistic in its portrayal of the state of evangelicalism in America. The premise of the book is how evangelicalism in the US is declining. Some of the reasons were cited, including the church adapting to the culture in an effort to bring people in, instead of bringing Christ to the culture. Thus the church becomes more like the culture rather than helping the culture to become more like the church.
“the core issue that could most hasten our decline is that fewer and fewer people find the church a place of community.”
While I didn’t necessarily agree with everything the author had to say, I think overall this book is accurate in its portrayal of the state that evangelicalism is in throughout the US. The author doesn’t pull any punches in his estimation that the pendulum is not necessarily going to swing the other way and evangelicalism is not going to start improving and be on the upswing. Yet his suggestions regarding how as individuals we can work on improving our own growth and going back to the truth of Scripture ourselves is helpful. Though we might not be able to change the state of evangelicalism as a whole, we can change as individuals.

This book would be a good read for those who are already cognizant of the state of Christianity in America and thus won’t be additionally depressed by the realistic outcome this book portrays. It is a wake-up call, though we may already be past the point of no return. Yet the challenge remains that we as individual Christians can go back to the truth of Scripture and stand up for what is right rather than capitulating to the culture around us and thus continuing the moral decay.

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for my review.

Missions Books I Want To Read

There are a lot more missions books out there (!) -and this list will continue to grow as I learn and research this topic.

  1. And Bees Make Honey – anthology compiled by Jill and Roger Dyer*
  2. Anthropological Insights for Missionaries by Paul Hiebert*
  3. Ask a Missionary by John McVay*
  4. A Biblical Theology of Missions by George Peters*
  5. Communication Theory for Christian Witness by Charles Kraft*
  6. A Concise History of the Christian World Mission by Herbert Kane
  7. Daktar by Viggo Olsen*
  8. Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper
  9. Finish the Mission by John Piper and David Mathis*
  10. Foreign to Familiar by Sarah Lanier*
  11. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya by Ruth Tucker*
  12. Gospel Church and Kingdom: Comparative Studies in World Mission Theology by James Scherer*
  13. History of the World Christian Movement, Vol. I: Earliest Christianity to 1453 by Dale Irvin
  14. History of the World Christian Movement, Vol. II: Modern Christianity from 1454-1800 by Dale Irvin
  15. If God Should Choose by Kristen Stagg*
  16. A Guide to Cross-Cultural Living by Steven Caliguiri*
  17. A History of Christian Missions by Stephen Neill
  18. In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham*
  19. Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper*
  20. A Mind for Missions by Paul Borthwick
  21. Ministering Cross-Culturally by Sherwood Lingenfelter*
  22. Missiology: An Introduction by Justice Anderson
  23. Missionary Administration in the Local Church by Reginald Matthews*
  24. Missions in the Third Millenium by Stan Guthrie
  25. MK2MK compiled by Kristen Stagg*
  26. On Duty in Bangladesh by Jeannie Lockerbie*
  27. The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission by Leslie Newbigin* – Gave Up On
  28. Paradigms in Conflict by David Hesselgrave
  29. Penetrating Missions’ Final Frontier by T. Mamamori*
  30. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement*
  31. The Quest: Changing a Church’s Culture from Missions-Minded to Missions-Active by David Herndon*
  32. The Reentry Team by Neal Pirolo*
  33. Reformation in Foreign Missions by Bob Finley*
  34. Revolution in World Missions by KP Yohannen*
  35. Run with the Vision by Bob Sjogren*
  36. Strangers at Home by Carolyn Smith*
  37. Through Open Doors by Mildred Morehouse*
  38. Toward a Theology of Missions by M. Thomas Starkes*
  39. Unto Death: Martyrdom, Missions and the Maturity of the Church by Dalton Thomas*

Read before – re-read
Children of the Call by Charlene Gray*
Cross-Cultural Re-Entry by Clyde Austin*
Letters Never Sent by Ruth Van Reken*
Notes from a Traveling Childhood by Karen McCluskey*
Scamps, Scholars and Saints – anthology by MKs*
Serving as Senders by Neal Pirolo*
Third Culture Kids by David Pollock*

* – means I own it