[NOTE: The post below was originally published on the Gospel Coalition website.]
Audio and video from the 2012 Gospel Coalition National Women’s Conference is now available.
A couple of friends mentioned that they are unaware of the sort of books that the women teaching at this conference would recommend for further reading. So I decided to ask the female plenary speakers what they’d recommend what women who went to the conference and wanted to go deeper and further.
Kathleen Nielsen provided a reading guide on the TGC website, which would be a wonderful place to start.
Here are some other recommendations I received.
Far as the Curse Is Found: The Covenant Story of Redemption by Michael Williams.
This book has really helped me to understand the big picture story of the Bible as well as the big themes of the Bible. I refer back to it again and again.
Bible Doctrine by Wayne Grudem
This reference book with its short explanations of major doctrines has been a great help to me when I want a sound summary of orthodox belief on a doctrine or need to figure out how to explain something concisely.
The Goldsworthy Trilogy (which includes Gospel and Kingdom, The Gospel in Revelation, and Gospel and Wisdom) by Graeme Goldsworthy.
The development of understanding the story of the Bible as “God’s people in God’s place under God’s authority” helps me understand passages again and again throughout the Bible.
The Israel of God by O. Palmer Robertson
This book has helped me a great deal in understanding God’s past, present, and future plans for Israel. (The audio sessions of O. Palmer Robertson teaching this available at The Gospel Coalition audio resources is also a help.) Similarly, I found another book that has really helped me with this: Whose Promised Land? Israel or Palestine by Colin Chapman.
These are the two books I started with to seek to understand how to see Christ in the Old Testament.
Guidance and the Voice of God by Phillip Jensen and Tony Payne.
So much wisdom here for a culture that longs to hear a supernatural word from God in the ordinary decisions of life.
The Most Misused Verses in the Bible by Eric Bargerhuff.
When I received a copy of this book recently, I wrote the author and told him this was a book I have always wanted to write. He works his way concisely and wisely through often misused scriptures—the ones people claim as a promise that aren’t a promise and such—and brings clarity to them.
The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung.
I was able to read an advance copy of this upcoming book, and it is definitely one to pre-order so you get it when it is released!
Knowing God, by J. I. Packer.
A book that helps the reader to focus on the attributes of God, and deserves to be read again and again.
Gospel and Kingdom, According to Plan, by Graeme Goldsworthy.
A Call to Spiritual Reformation, by D. A. Carson.
A thorough work on Paul’s prayers that challenges the reader about priorities in prayer.
Hudson Taylor: A Man in Christ, by Roger Steer.
Questioning Evangelism, by Randy Newman. A great book for everyone on day-to-day evangelism.
Redeeming Singleness, by Barry Danylak.
Commentaries by Dale Ralph Davis. Non-technical commentaries that help the reader to have a better understanding of OT books like Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings.
With a different audience, I might offer suggestions that would stimulate women to love the Lord with more of their mind. However, my observation of the TGCW audience is that many of these women are already engaged in that pursuit. Hence, my encouragement would be to read books that help them love the Lord with more of their heart. Of course, there is value in reading books to stimulate both the heart and the mind. However, as this young-ish crowd ages (particularly those who will have multiple children), their available time for reading will likely be curtailed for a season and they will have to be highly selective. That being the case, I would encourage them to be sure to include:
Reading, meditation, and memorization of Scripture.
I do not assume this is a given. I asked 500-600 women in a breakout session at TGCW how many would say they do not currently have a consistent devotional habit. As is the case anywhere/everywhere I have ever asked this question (including groups of Bible study leaders, pastors’ wives, etc.), some 90% of the women in the room raised a hand in response. I don’t think we can stress this enough. It is His Word that gives life, and far too many believers, even those in vocational ministry, are malnourished from want of sufficient intake of Scripture. If you don’t have time to read anything else, read this Book!
Quality devotional literature.
Some of my favorites:
These provide fuel to keep my heart warm; they make me more receptive and responsive to the Word and the Spirit.
Biographies of (mostly dead) people who loved and served Jesus with all their heart.
. . . to name a few. These have had (and continue to have) a huge impact on my life.
[Note: Noel Piper’s Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God is a great introduction to a number of these women.]
Sermons of anointed preachers/pastors who proclaim(ed) the Word with hearts aflame.
These help me meditate on and better understand Scripture, while “taking it home” to the heart and life. Recently, I have been blessed by reading many of Spurgeon’s collected sermons on the Song of Solomon (The Most Holy Place).
As I said in my message at TGCW, “Sound theology should always lead to doxology and transformation.” I try to have a steady diet of books that help cultivate sound, biblical thinking and press me to worship and life transformation.