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Written by Adrian Reynolds on Thursday 13th July 2017
The three weeks of the Keswick Convention begin on Saturday. Adrian Reynolds has been asked to curate a pop-up bookshop of 20 key Christian titles which will be on sale there. We asked him to share his choices as we look ahead to this year’s Keswick.
Like many in ministry, I have lots of books. Not too many – though that is not a view shared by family members – but still, lots. And I like a lot of them too. So when I was asked to curate a pop-up bookshop with my top 20 handpicked titles, I found the idea rather daunting, an essentially impossible task.
There would always be titles I would regret excluding. So, I tried to choose a range based on subject matter, reading level and depth, with a few left field suggestions thrown in. It was an interesting exercise in terms of thinking how to get a church reading.
Here’s what I came up with in no particular order.
Zondervan NIV Study Bible (Zondervan). This excellent study Bible edited by Don Carson gives you a Bible commentary plus articles and help on how the Bible fits together.
True Friendship by Vaughan Roberts (10ofThose) tackles, in a short and punchy way, the importance of an under-valued subject using the book of Proverbs.
You Can Change by Tim Chester (IVP). There are lots of books holding out the hope of the transformation the gospel can bring. This is the best.
Strengthening your Marriage by Wayne Mack (P&R). Quite an old book now, but full of practical exercises for couples to work through. Read it before it is too late.
The Heart of Singleness by Andrea Trevenna (The Good Book Company). For those who are not married, Andrea’s excellent book provides some really helpful input.
Operation World (Biblica). Now in its seventh edition and one of the most used books on my shelf.
Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung (IVP). All Christians need to be confident in God’s word and there are lots of resources out there to help. This is one of the strongest.
Newton on the Christian Life by Tony Reinke (Crossway). Mixing biography and practical application, this delightful book is a challenge and an encouragement.
5 Things to Pray (for your church, your world, the people you love) by Rachel Jones (The Good Book Company). These three books have really made a difference to my praying.
Is God Anti-Gay? by Sam Allberry (The Good Book Company). This touchstone issue needs to be thought through carefully and Sam helps us to do that clearly and concisely.
Evangelistic Bundle (10ofThose). Bought in bulk these work out at £1 each so you can choose one to fit your situation. A real breakthrough to have substantial, carefully written evangelistic books to give away to others.
Through the British Museum with the Bible by Clive Anderson and Brian Edwards (DayOne). I’m on my tenth copy as I keep giving them away. Even if you can’t visit the museum, this is a superb resource.
Job by Christopher Ash (Crossway). Possibly my favourite Christian book of the moment – a model of careful, Christ-centred, warm-hearted exegesis.
The Secret of Contentment by William Barclay (P&R). This book addresses an issue (using old Puritan writings) that nearly every Christian struggles against at some level.
Bible Answers by Derek Prime (Christian Focus). There are lots of theology books, but I love Derek’s simple Q&A style approach with bullet point answers. It means you can pack a lot in!
Knowing God and Ourselves by David Calhoun (to be used alongside the new translation of 1541 edition of Institutes of the Christian Religion) (Banner of Truth). A deeper read for serious students, but the new 1541 translation is accessible and David Calhoun’s guided reading programme is referenced through. Top quality!
The Essence of the Reformation by Kirsten Birkett (Matthias Media). Simple and clear, Kirsten is excellent at getting to the heart of the matter for those who know nothing about the subject.
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi (Zondervan). A moving testimony that gives hope to Christians who think the hold of Islam is unbreakable.
Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges (NavPress). An important book for self-righteous Westerners (that’s all of us!).
The First Chapters of Everything by Alasdair Paine (Christian Focus). This book is based on a series of sermons from the early chapters of Genesis and helps readers understand what those chapters are there for, without getting bogged down in controversy.
What would be in your top 20? And have you told anybody? It’s a great idea for a church bookstall.
Adrian has been our Training Director since April 2017. He previously served as one of the leaders of The Proclamation Trust and as Associate Minister of East London Tabernacle. He is married to Celia, they have two married daughters and another at home.