Thursday, December 31, 2020

Top 10 - Um - Just Books I read in 2020

When I thought of this blog post, I wanted to do a top 10 books that I read in 2020, but the fact is that I read slowly, and this year was one of the busiest work years of my life! In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our team simply didn't have enough time to complete our project. And, in the midst of this, I needed to find time to read. 

Another reason that I finish books so slow, is that I read several books at the same time. And when I say "several," I do not mean 2, 3, or 4 at a time. More like triple that at any one given moment.

Since this is not a top 10 post, they are numbered in the order that I finished reading them.

  1. How to Study Your Bible (Kay Arthur), This book teaches the Inductive Bible Study Method. HSYB is certainly a very useful book. The Bible student can use this book to go as deep as he wants to go. However, there are some caveats to some of the tips the author provides. To read about the book and about the caveats in the book, follow the link in the title of the book to read my review on the book.
  2. Kingdom Come: The Amillennial Alternative (Sam Storms), This was my 2nd time reading Kingdom Come by Sam Storms. The first time was in 2013. I actually enjoyed the book now more than then. Storms has a clear way of explaining eschatological concepts through Scripture. Anybody who really wants to learn about amillennialism should read this book. In fact, anyone who is interested in eschatology, teaching of the end-times, should read this book! 
  3. The Oracle: The Jubilean Mysteries Unveiled (Jonathan Cahn), Fictional speculation at its best worst! I simply could not get into this book. 
  4. The Book of Revelation (Robert H. Mounce), This is a fair commentary on the book of Revelation, but there are better commentaries on Revelation. This commentary is part of The New International Commentary on the New Testament series of commentaries.
  5. Revelation (Joel Beeke), This is not a very in-depth commentary on Revelation, but it does aim in the right direction. This commentary is part of the Lectio Continua Expository Commentary on the New Testament series.
  6. The Basic Steps of Bible Study: Getting Started (Kay Arthur), This is simply a subset of HSYB above. Skip this one and to straight to HSYB.
  7. Revelation (Gordon D. Fee), This is a worthwhile commentary, but in my opinion, he still doesn't handle the symbolism, and imagery of Revelation well enough.
  8. 1, 2, 3 John, Revelation (Earl F. Palmer), The Revelation commentary in this set is average. At times it seems good, but at other times it leaves the reader feeling that there is just not enough. It is part of The Communicator's Commentary series.
  9. Revelation: The Spirit Speaks to the Churches (James M. Hamilton Jr.), This is not a technical commentary, and those who want to find a more devotional commentary with application sections, will find this one to their taste. I enjoyed this commentary, and is worthwhile purchasing.
  10. How to Study the Bible (Richard L. Mayhue), This is a fine book to start learning to do Bible Study, and there is much to learn from it.
  11. Hebrews through Revelation (Frank E. Gaebelein, general editor; Alan F. Johnson, author on the Revelation commentary), Of the non-technical commentaries, this one is fairly well done. It is perhaps a bit dated, but still fine as a commentary. It is volume #12 of The Expositor's Bible Commentary series.
  12. Christianity Through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church (Earle E. Cairns), I think it is very important for Christians to know the history of the church. The original edition was my Church History textbook in Bible College. I decided to read it again. This is the 3rd edition, and it takes church history into the 1990s. It is a worthwhile church history book to have on your shelves.
  13. A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times (Kim Riddlebarger), It took me a while to get into this book. However, once I got past all the plugging that the author did for Covenant Theology, the book became what the title promised. The author seems to think that Amillenialism cannot stand on its own two feet without it being propped up by Covenant Theology. This is simply not true. A better book to read would be Kingdom Come by Sam Storms.
  14. Progressive Covenantalism: Charting a Course between Dispensational and Covenantal Theologies (editors: Stephen J. Wellum, Brent E. Parker), I enjoyed this book very much, and if you have read Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants by Peter J. Gentry and Stephen J. Wellum, then you will enjoy this one too. Both these books are break-aways from Dispensational Theology (7 Dispensations, rapture, and other fairy tales), and also from Covenant Theology. It is very similar to New Covenant Theology with a few differences.
  15. An Introduction to the Greek New Testament, Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge (Dirk Jongkind), This is a short book on subjects such as textual criticism, and how Tyndale made their textual choices in order to come to what they believe is the best Greek NT text. It is an easy book to read, and I think that most people will understand it. I have a copy of the Tyndale House Greek New Testament (THGNT), and it is very close to the Nestle-Aland 28th edition (NA28) of the Greek NT, and the United Bible Societies 5th edition (UBS5) of the Greek NT.
  16. How to Study the Bible (Robert M. West), This is a very short book on the subject of Bible study, and is good for someone new to Bible study.
  17. The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (G. K. Beale), This is a fairly technical commentary based on the Greek text of the book of Revelation. It handles textual variants where necessary. This is by far the best commentary that I used through 2020 in the study of Revelation. Throughout the year I made use of 10 commentaries on Revelation, and Beale's commentary is completely above the rest. He goes into the symbolism of Revelation, and handles myriads of allusions that John made to the Old Testament to bring his message across. One thing that I learnt from Beale, is that without a good knowledge of the OT and its prophetic symbolism, one's interpretation will end up skewed by preconceived ideas about the end-times. Beale's commentary is a book of 1245 pages; so, as a commentary, it is not for the faint-hearted. However, if you do the hard work of working through this commentary, you will definitely be blessed and educated on Revelation.
  18. New Testament Textual Criticism: A Concise Guide (David Alan Black), I think Black did an excellent job introducing the reader to textual criticism. If you have no idea concerning the subject, this is the place start! Definitely recommended to those interested in the subject, but do not know where to start.
That is the end of my list. As you can see, there are many commentaries on this list, and one does not read a commentary like an ordinary book.

I hope that you are encouraged by getting one or more of these books. Whatever the case, Tolle Lege! Take up and Read!

May you all have a wonderful New Year, and that your hearts draw ever closer to our great, and wonderful Saviour, Jesus Christ!

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