By Joel Gilbert
It’s been a little while since we’ve pulled together a blog post/book review. While we all as elders have been continuing to read a variety of books, I’ve been remiss in encouraging us to put some things together. Here in this first post of the new year, I thought I’d share with you some of the things that I’ve read recently or am currently reading in hopes that these resources might be helpful as you seek to grow in the Lord.
The Five Solas Series
In the month of January, we considered the five solas of the reformation – Scripture Alone, Christ Alone, Faith Alone, Grace Alone, and the Glory of God Alone. In addition to scouring scripture for each sermon, I was helped greatly by five books in a series published by Zondervan. These books provided a helpful understanding of the biblical foundation, historical context, and contemporary application for each of the five solas. Written by scholars and pastors, the books can be a bit heavy and academic at times – though I did find them quite readable and able to be understood. In case you’d like to dive a little deeper into any or all of the Solas, I encourage you to check out the series. The books are available from a variety of bookstores individually and as a set. Here is the link to the set on Amazon’s Website.
Over the last few years, I’ve tried to do a variety of things for my personal devotional time. For a couple of years, I paired the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan with reflections on that plan from Don Carson in his For the Love of God Volume 1 and Volume 2 books. I found those books to be theologically rich and encouraging.
This year, I’m using the same Bible Reading Plan, but I’m pairing that with a book entitled Be Thou My Vision by Johnny Gibson. This book is a bit more of a formal liturgy for personal worship that is structured like a worship service (albeit, a bit more formal than our normal liturgy). The typical daily liturgy includes:
- Call to Worship
- Assurance of Pardon
- Reading from an historical creed (Apostle’s, Nicene, Athanasian)
- Catechism (Heidelburg, Westminster)
- The Gloria Patri or Doxology
- a prayer of illumination
- Bible reading
- Intercessory prayer
- Lord’s Prayer
While the pattern and some of the readings can be a bit repetitive, I have found the liturgy to be quite encouraging and uplifting. I am drawn to praise our holy God, reflect on my own sinfulness, reminded of the forgiveness that I have through Jesus Christ, instructed by the catechism reading, and informed by the Word. In addition to that, I’ve found some of the prayers that have been included to be instructive. Gibson has pulled from a variety of liturgies and historical figures – like Luther, Calvin, Murray, and Augustine (just to name a few) – in assembling the prayers and confessions.
The main portion of the book comprises 31 days of liturgies. As of February 1, I’m beginning my second time through the liturgy and am gradually working my way through the Heidelberg Catechism (which has 52 days of readings).
The PBC bookstore
Finally, last year, we entered into a partnership with 10ofThose – a Christian bookstore and publisher. Their website allows us to curate a customized book store. What’s more, they keep the shipping costs quite low (on $1) for most orders. We recently updated that with some new recommendations. Feel free to check that out on our website: poolesvillebaptist.com (click on “we grow” and “book store”). I hope you find these books and resources helpful as you continue to grow in your knowledge of God and His Word.
Categories: Blog Posts