My Summer Reading List (And Tips on Reading More)

With the spring semester at seminary finished, I can put away the books and move on to my hobby: reading more books!

Here’s what is on my summer reading list:

Dear TimothyDear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry – Edited by Tom Ascol

As I hit the halfway mark in my seminary education, I am seeing how much I have yet to learn about pastoral ministry. Books like these are great resources for gaining insight from experienced pastors.

This collection of writings from seasoned pastors contains over 480 years of combined ministry experience. Old and new pastors alike will treasure this compilation of heartfelt advice and nuggets of truth that will guide them through the challenges and joys of their calling in Christ.

The Greatest FightThe Greatest Fight in the World: The Final Manifesto – CH Spurgeon

Regular readers of this blog will know that I like Spurgeon and write about him often (here, here, here…). This is a short book which came from his last address to his beloved Pastors’ College.
In this, Spurgeon’s final address at the Pastors’ College Conference in 1891, the last he attended, he extols the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, rallies a final call to his students and encourages them to fight the good fight of faith.

I WillI Will: Nine Traits of the Outwardly Focused Christian – Thomas Rainer

This book is all about what it means to be a member of a local church, and how believers must have a shift from approaching church from a self-centered point of view to an others-centered one.

Every day we see the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of those around us. But what are we to do about it? Best-selling author Rainer answers this question by offering nine simple traits that all believers can incorporate into their lives—no matter their background, stage of life, or sense of capability.

macarthur

The Long and Illustrious Career of General Douglas MacArthur – Bob Considine

I like to work in some history books as much as I can. Though I am somewhat of a student of WW2 history, I know very little about General Douglas MacArthur. This short biography should provide a good introduction to his life and military service.

The most brilliant officer ever to graduate from West Point, decorated thirteen times for bravery under fire, the youngest general in the A.E.F., youngest Chief of Staff in Army history, this was the man who was to become the architect of America’s victory in the Pacific, the ruler of Japan, and the epic tactician of the Korean War.

Preaching and Preachers BookPreaching & Preachers – Martyn Lloyd-Jones

I admit that I have had very little exposure to Martyn Lloyd-Jones, aside from others speaking on how much he has helped them to grow spiritually. This text is one of his most well known, and is particularly interesting to me as I have several opportunities to preach over the summer.

Lloyd-Jones defends the primacy of preaching, showing that there is no substitute, and he challenges preachers to take their calling seriously: ‘The most urgent need in the Christian Church today is true preaching.’ He also provides practical direction on the task of preparing a sermon, sharing insights on the shape and form of a message as well as covering such topics as the use of humor, giving invitations in a message and the preacher’s relationship to the congregation.

Shepherding a Childs HeartShepherding a Child’s Heart, Revised and Updated – Tedd Tripp

We have a five year old and a two year old, and our greatest desire is to raise them in a way that honors God and helps our kids to love and serve Him. This book is about how to do just that.

This book draws from Pastor Tripp’s seasoned experience as a father-and from God’s Holy Word. Grounded in the Bible’s divine plan for parenting, this guide defines your goals as a parent and provides the Scriptural methods for accomplishing them.

We Cannot Be SilentWe Cannot be Silent – Albert Mohler

Any Christian can see that we are living in turbulent times as a culture. How can we respond to the moral revolution that is taking place? How can we live out our faith in an increasingly hostile world?

Exploring the dramatic moral revolution of western culture in recent decades, Mohler explains the underlying shifts behind it—from the acceptance of divorce and the liberation of sex from reproduction to the normalization of homosexuality and the rise of the transgender movement. He then offers a biblical framework for Christians to live faithfully amid the change.

What Does the Bible TeachWhat Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? – Kevin DeYoung

Similar to the last selection, this book has been highly recommended as a resource for thinking Biblically about this controversial issue.

In this timely book, award-winning author Kevin DeYoung challenges each of us – the skeptic, the seeker, the certain, and the confused – to take a humble look at God’s Word regarding the issue of homosexuality.

Normally I would like to have at least one fiction book in the mix as well. Rather than squeezing one in this summer, I am listening to The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe right now (see my note on audiobooks below). I’ll also likely pick up a volume of Sherlock Holmes (my personal favorite) and reread a short story some evening.

I’ll also be reading some shorter works available for free online, including “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection” (by Puritan Thomas Chalmers) and George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language.”


How To Get More Books Read

Will I really finish all of this reading? Well, I hope so. Here’s how I plan to get more reading done over the summer. (These tips will help you get more reading done, too!)

Turn off the TV. The average American watches more than five hours of television every day. Meanwhile, The Red Badge of Courage takes less than 5 hours to read. J.I. Packer’s Knowing God can be read in just over 10. If you watch TV most evenings, you have more time to read than you think. Even if you are “below” average and watch just two hours a day, you could still polish off at least a book a week if you read instead.

Take a book with you. You can get a lot of reading done sitting in a waiting room, waiting on a train, or when you need a short break at work. Grab a small book and get a few pages read. It’s a lot better than scrolling through Facebook or Twitter on your phone (again).

Put reading on your to-do list. Be intentional about how many pages or chapters you would like to read each day. If you add it to your to-do list you are much more likely to get it done.

Audiobooks count, too! Well, I think they count at least. I’ve “read” a lot of books over the past few months by listening to audiobooks. Check with your library to see if they offer free access to Library Overdrive or Hoopla (this one has the best selection of Christian books). If they do, you’ll get free access to thousands of audiobooks. [If can’t get these, here are two free audiobooks from Audible]

Listen in the car, when you’re working out, or getting things done in the yard. My wife and I enjoy listening to an audiobook in the evenings, and we just recently finished Pilgrim’s Progress and Around the World in 80 Days this way.

What’s on your summer reading list? Share in the comments!

Written by Clayton Kraby
I'm a full-time M.Div. student and created ReasonableTheology.org to help make theology accessible for the everyday Christian. You can find me on Twitter @ClayKraby. Help me attend seminary.