New Year and Reading Lists

I love this time of the year, when the old year ends and the new begins. While it is an arbitrary point on a calendar, I like the idea of a fresh start, a new beginning and the start of a new year lends itself to this thinking.

I also love to make lists. So making a reading list for the new year is something I enjoy. Whether I actually stick to that list is another story. But the making of the list is fun, so I continue to do it, even if I don’t actually stick to it. Tim Challies’ 2017 Reading Challenge also provides an opportunity to make book lists.

I also find that the new year is a great time to make goals. I’ve learned to be more realistic in my goal-setting, yet still trying to stretch myself. But never accomplishing goals can be discouraging so I try to make goals that are somewhat attainable. However I do have some ambitious book goals for 2017. The last few years I have had the goal of reading 100 books. Once again I hope to read 100 books in 2017. But this year I have added the goal of trying to not buy any books during 2017. This is mostly to work on reading my own books and getting my to-be-read mountain lowered. I’m not sure I can go a whole year without buying any books. This should be interesting.

One of my other goals includes reading Michael Horton’s The Christian Faith. I love theology and have several monstrous tomes to read. Picking one to read each year should help me wade through them. Because I read so much and I love trying different Bible reading plans, in 2017 I plan to start an annual goal of reading through the Bible twice each year. For 2017 I plan to read through the NKJV Chronological Bible (which I’ve already started) and also read the Bible along with Thomas Schreiner’s The King in His Beauty book (there is a reading plan for reading the book along with the Bible).

I also have a Scripture memory goal that I’m working on and a health goal. Do you make goals for the new year? What about reading goals or lists?

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No Little Women by Aimee Byrd

No Little Women: Equipping All Women in the Household of GodNo Little Women: Equipping All Women in the Household of God by Aimee Byrd

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was “preaching to the choir” as they say, for it echoes much of what I have seen in the last several years. We are all theologians, but not necessarily good theologians. The “fluff” that is often published for women’s ministries has not helped Christian women to grow in their knowledge of God and His Word. And women are not being equipped to properly discern what is truth and what is error. Aimee tackles this difficult and often emotional topic in this book, challenging women not to be the “little women” that Paul warns about in 2 Timothy 3:6-7: “For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.”
While first defining the problem, this book doesn’t just leave us frustrated at what seems to be an insurmountable problem of Biblical illiteracy and lack of discernment. Aimee gives practical advice for how to combat this and equip women in how to be better discerners and studiers of God’s Word. Each chapter has discussion questions at the end for further reflection and thought. She encourages us to read critically and thoughtfully. In the last section she provides excerpts from popular women’s books and asks thoughtful questions to think about what these women are saying compared to God’s Word. In order to better detect error, we must be firmly grounded in the Bible. She also talks about theological triage and what is considered primary or first-order doctrine and is thus heresy, versus secondary doctrines that we might disagree on but still be within orthodoxy. Doctrines like the Trinity, Christ being both fully God and fully man, these are doctrines we cannot compromise on.
A lot of this book resonated with me. I get angry when I see the lack of discernment among Christians and their seemingly whole-hearted acceptance of false doctrine because it makes them feel good. It saddens me to see a lack of Bible knowledge and verses ripped out of context for their warm, fuzzy appeal. It encourages me to see books like this, that others see what I see and want to equip women to know their Bibles and thus know God, having their lives transformed by His truth. It thrills me that I’m not alone in my desire to learn theology and that there are other women out there that want to grow and learn together. I would love to join other women and have theology reading groups. The need is great!
I didn’t agree with everything in this book, but I think its overall message is much needed. I highly recommend that church leaders, women’s ministry teams, and the lay person in the pew read this book. Be aware of the need and see solutions for how to make needed changes. Let’s be passionate for truth – the truth found in God’s Word!

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher P&R Publishing in exchange for my review.