In January I introduced ten new Christian books that were coming out in the first half of 2021 (here). It’s now July and I’ve been digging around publishers websites for more upcoming book releases. Browsing books is definitely more satisfying than clothes shopping. Obviously there are a lot more Christian books coming out in the second half of the year than what’re listed here. These are just ten that caught my fancy. (The blurb is taken from each of the publishers’ websites.)
Firstly, two Bible Commentaries.
#1 Tim Chester is one of the most prolific Christian writers, and he knows it. On his website, he’s introduced briefly as ‘a senior faculty member of Crosslands Training and the author of too many books.’ But I’m glad he’s the author of Isaiah For You in this series: Isaiah is probably the most intimidating book for me and Tim Chester is an excellent teacher.
Isaiah For You by Tim Chester
This expository guide by pastor and author Tim Chester takes you verse by verse through the text in a digestible and applied way. Each chapter focuses on a key text and shows how its themes play out in the surrounding passages, helping you to drill down into the details while also seeing the big picture. You’ll find ideas and challenges for application throughout, plus a helpful glossary at the back.
It is less academic than a traditional commentary and includes lots of application. It can be read from cover to cover, used in personal devotions, used to lead small group studies, or used for sermon preparation.
The Good Book Company | Available November 2021 | Paperback, 240 pages | More info here
#2 Christopher Ash is another author that I enjoy reading. A few of his books are focused on Psalms. I found Teaching Psalms particularly helpful so I’m delighted to discover a new book dedicated wholly to the wonderful Psalm 119.
Bible Delight by Christopher Ash
Christian Focus | Available November 2021 | Paperback, 208 pages | More info here
Before we move on, the orange / yellow Bible Speaks Today commentaries just had a makeover and their covers are quite modern and elegant now. If you’ve been holding off buying them because of their covers, now it’s the time (no one avoids buying books because of their covers except you!).
Next, a few books on topical issues: gender and sexuality, women and feminism, abortion, artificial intelligence, crime and prison.
#3 Sam Allberry’s Is God Anti-Gay is a concise, faithful and gentle book on homosexuality and it was probably my first read on the topic of God and same-sex attraction. I said in my brief review that I’d be glad to read more on this subject from Allberry. And here it is.
What God Has to Say about Our Bodies by Sam Allberry
There’s a danger in focusing too much on the body. There’s also a danger in not valuing it enough. In fact, the Bible has lots to say about the body. With the coming of Jesus, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us”—flesh that was pierced and crushed for the sins of the world.
In this book, Sam Allberry explains that all of us are fearfully and wonderfully made, and should regard our physicality as a gift. He offers biblical guidance for living, including understanding gender, sexuality, and identity; dealing with aging, illness, and death; and considering the physical future hope that we have in Christ.
In this powerfully written book, you’ll gain a new understanding for the immeasurable value of our bodies and God’s ultimate plan to redeem them.
Crossway | Available August 2021 | Paperback, 208 pages | More info here
#4 I just read an excellent chapter on the topic of Christianity and women in Confronting Christianity by Rebecca McLaughlin. Here’s another book if you want to look a bit deeper into Bible’s view on this issue.
Liberated by Karen Soole
Equality for all people is a foundational principle in our culture and embedded in our law. The consensus is clear: all people are equally valuable. However, religion is seen as a stronghold that promotes inequality. There is a widespread belief that the Bible is sexist. Women fear that God does not want their good and instead, he wants to box them in and clip their wings. Our culture believes that they need to forget religion to achieve equality.
This, however, is not the case. The principle of equality is established in the first pages of the Bible, and its message exalts and dignifies both men and women. Bible teacher, conference speaker and author Karen Soole shares what she has discovered as she has read the Bible and grappled with it over many years.
She takes us through the Bible story from Genesis to Revelation and challenges the reader to decide whether God is offering life and liberation, or suffocation and oppression. It is an invitation to meet and know the God of the Bible, and to view his Word through the lens of his character.
Christian Focus | Available November 2021 | Paperback, 192 pages | More info here
Drum roll! Here’s the first book written by our good friends, husband and wife team, Ben and Valentina! I haven’t had a sneak preview so I don’t know exactly what’s in it. But I’m confident to say the book is the fruit of the authors carefully listening to the voices in our culture, diligently examining the Scriptures and honest and generous sharing of their own experience.
Thinking About Abortion by Ben & Valentina Cadoux-Hudson and Dr Chris Richards
Abortion is one of those words that can send Christians scurrying for cover. We can be reluctant to engage with the topic because we feel unqualified and underprepared. We may hear the clamour of voices on the news, and wonder what the Bible says about when life begins. We may come with our arguments at the ready, but struggle to respond to real life ethical dilemmas. Even if we feel like we have a good grasp of what culture and the Bible have to say, we may feel out of our depth applying a biblical perspective to such a sensitive subject.
This book encourages us to carefully reflect on the topic of abortion as a whole and consider how Christians should approach this issue in a divided world. With wisdom and sensitivity, the authors help us to engage thoughtfully with our society, listen obediently to what the Bible has to say, and apply God’s unchanging word to our ever-changing culture.
Evangelical Press | Available October 2021 | Paperback, 160 pages | More info here
A topic I know next to nothing but would like to educate myself on.
The Robot Will See You Now by John Wyatt & Stephen Williams
The last decade has seen dramatic advances in artificial intelligence and robotics technology, raising tough questions that need to be addressed. The Robot Will See You Now considers how Christians can respond to these issues – and flourish – in the years ahead.
Contributions from a number of international experts, including editors John Wyatt and Stephen Williams, explore a range of social and ethical issues raised by recent advances in AI and robotics. Considering the role of artificial intelligence in areas such as medicine, employment and security, the book looks at how AI is perceived as well as its actual impact on human interactions and relationships.
Alongside are theological responses from an orthodox Christian perspective. Looking at how artificial intelligence and robotics may be considered in the light of Christian doctrine, This book offers a measured, thoughtful view on how Christians can understand and prepare for the challenges posted by the development of AI.
This is a book for anyone who is interested in learning more about how AI and robots have advanced in recent years, and anyone who has wondered how Christian teaching relates to artificial intelligence. Whatever your level of technical knowledge, This book will give you a thorough understanding of AI and equip you to respond to the challenges it poses with confidence and faith
SPCK | Available July 2021 | Paperback, 256 pages | More info here
Another topic I know next to nothing but would like to educate myself on.
40 Years Behind Bars by Prison Fellowship Scotland
There are around 8,000 people incarcerated in Scotland. For 40 years, Prison Fellowship Scotland has been working with prisoners and their families, providing practical help and care, and sharing the good news about Jesus. This book tells the stories of the work of Prison Fellowship Scotland, from the perspective of the people closest to the work – prisoners, volunteers and prison workers, amongst others.
These uplifting first–hand accounts give voices to many who are unheard, and an insight into the real difference God makes in the lives of those trapped in cycles of addiction and abuse. From weekly groups where anyone and everyone is welcomed, to the Sycamore Tree course, encouraging victim awareness and restorative justice Prison Fellowship Scotland, and other Prison Fellowships around the world, show the love of God in a tangible way to prisoners and their families.
Christian Focus | Available November 2021 | Paperback, 192 pages | More info here
#8 This might sound super random to you. It would have been for me too if Sophie’s World hasn’t opened my eyes to the connection between ancient Greek philosophers and Christianity, especially the many parallels between Socrates and Jesus. I’ve no idea if this book is any good but just throw it in the mix for your discernment.
From Plato to Christ by Louis Markos
What does Plato have to do with the Christian faith? Quite a bit, it turns out. In ways that might surprise us, Christians throughout the history of the church and even today have inherited aspects of the ancient Greek philosophy of Plato, who was both Socrates’s student and Aristotle’s teacher.
To help us understand the influence of Platonic thought on the Christian faith, Louis Markos offers careful readings of some of Plato’s best-known texts and then traces the ways that his work shaped the faith of some of Christianity’s most beloved theologians, including Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, Dante, and C. S. Lewis. With Markos’s guidance, readers can ascend to a true understanding of Plato’s influence on the faith.
IVP Academic | Available August 2021 | Paperback, 254 pages | More info here
Lastly, just in case you haven’t thought of Christmas, here are two Advent devotionals:
Ferguson’s last advent devotional Love Came Down at Christmas was one of the best-selling devotionals in our church bookstall. Here’s another one on Matthew’s Gospel.
The Dawn of Redeeming Grace by Sinclair Ferguson
As dawn broke on that first Christmas morning, the sun rose on a new era: God’s king had come to earth to bring about his kingdom.
Join Sinclair Ferguson as he opens up the first two chapters of Matthew’s Gospel in these daily devotions for Advent. Each day’s reflection is full of insight and application, and will help you to arrive at Christmas Day awed by God’s redeeming grace and refreshed by the hope of God’s promised king.
The Good Book Company | Available October 2021 | Paperback, 160 pages | More info here
#0 John Piper is another VERY prolific Christian writer. He has been pumping out books every few months and they are usually substantial books as well. The Dawning of Indestructible Joy was his last advent devotional which was published in 2014.
Good News of Great Joy by John Piper
In these twenty-five short devotional readings, John Piper invites readers to refocus their hearts on Jesus during the Advent season as they contemplate the magnificence of the promise of salvation through his miraculous birth. Each of the 25 daily readings highlights a Bible passage and gives a short reflection. Perfect for personal reading and family devotions.
Crossway | Available September 2021 | Paperback, 144 pages | More info here
Which one would you like to pick up first?
The feature photo is the beautiful Lit & Phil Library in my very own Newcastle, by Michael D Beckwith on Unsplash. All book covers are from publishers’ websites. Thank you.