Must-Have Resources for Bible Lands Study

I've boiled down an essential list for you.

Not everybody can travel to Israel. But everyone can benefit from including Bible lands in their personal Bible study. You just need some good tools.

Tabernacle model and courtyard

(Photo: Tabernacle Model. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

I have discovered that including Bible lands in my study has given me more understanding of the Bible than I ever imagined. The benefits of including Bible lands in the study of Scripture are available to everyone.

Many people have asked what resources I recommend. So I’ve created what I consider a must-have list. These are the tools I reach for first when I study—those resources that have proven most helpful to me for years.

I’ll give you the full list, and then I’ll suggest which ones to get first.

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Resolved

Resolved: 10 Ways to Stand Strong and Live What You Believe (Baker Books, 2016)

Resolutions are easy to make. But the Christian life challenges our resolve to stay committed to God by testing our commitments against fear, rejection, and expectations.

Dr. Lina Abujamra has given us the blessing of another book, Resolved, written in her inimitable style and with her characteristic passion. Lina has seen life in all its raw reality—where it’s from the perspective of an ER doc, a missionary, or a single who wrestles with the church’s expectations of singles.

Lina tackles ten issues that demand our absolute resolve and offers “resolutions,” much as Jonathan Edwards did centuries ago. These chapters urge us to adopt personal resolutions about our lives and believe, love, obey, yield, speak up, have joy, be in community, give, hope, and rest—all with Jesus Christ as a center.

Rescuing the Gospel- The Story and Significance of the Reformation

Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation (Baker Books, 2016)

The issues of the past will always be the issues of today, because they are the issues of life. History is doomed to repeat itself when we fail to learn from it.

In Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation, Erwin Lutzer offers an excellent introduction to the Reformation by asking and answering questions essential to every generation of believers.

Entitlement Cure

The Entitlement Cure: Finding Success in Doing Hard Things the Right Way (Zondervan, 2015)

Reading The Entitlement Cure was like sitting in a counseling office with a wise mentor who offered the odd combination of rebukes that encourage. So much of what Dr. Townsend writes connects to our everyday lives and struggles, since he identifies those problem-proned, entitled people we know (including the one in the mirror), as well as identifying the solutions deeply rooted in Scripture.

Whether the issue is a person who fears conflict, or refuses to admit “I was wrong,” or simply is lazy—The Entitlement Cure helps us take the next hard step toward true success, joy, and growth instead of continuing to chase easy choices that dump consequences that are anything but easy.

The book is worth every penny. And then some. I’ll read it again.

How You Can Read More Books Than Ever Before

5 Ways I've Found to Make Reading Easier and Faster

Most us would love to read more books if we could. Our problem, of course, is that precious commodity: TIME. To my surprise, however, I have found ways around that limitation.

How You Can Read More Books Than Ever Before

(Photo: Reading on my day off)

For the past three years, I’ve done my best to read 50 books by the end of each year. Though I never meant to surpass that goal this year, to my surprise, I did.

Your life is busy—just like mine. So I’d like to share with you the 5 ways I use to read more books—and how you can too. I’ll even suggest 5 ways you can find some free books.

(If you’re curious, I’ll also share the books I read this year—all 65 of them—and tell you my favorites.)

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Short Answers to Big Questions

Short Answers to Big Questions about God, the Bible, and Christianity (Baker Books, 2015)

Good questions deserve good answers. They’re even better answers if they’re short ones. Clinton E. Arnold and Jeff Arnold have given us the best of both—short and good.

Their volume, Short Answers to Big Questions about God, the Bible, and Christianity, begins where it must if we are to answer questions related to God, Christianity, and the Christian life. Questions about the Bible must first find good answers. Otherwise, we have no basis of authority for answering other questions.

Each of the 50 chapters in this excellent volume uses a question as its title—and a subject as it subtitle by way of a topical overview.

Sacred Marriage

Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? (Zondervan, 2000, 2015)

I have literally read dozens of books on marriage, and Gary Thomas has written the best. Why? Because Sacred Marriage is not about marriage but about how marriage is merely the context for married people to love and serve God.

Thomas’ classic quote says it best:

We also have to rid ourselves of the notion that the difficulties of marriage can be overcome if we simply pray harder or learn a few simple principles. Most of us have discovered that these ‘simple steps’ work only on a superficial level. Why is this? Because there’s a deeper question that needs to be addressed beyond how we can ‘improve’ our marriage: What if God didn’t design marriage to be ‘easier’? What if God had an end in mind that went beyond our happiness, our comfort, and our desire to be infatuated and happy as if the world were a perfect place? What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?

Dealing with topics such as romance, learning to love, honoring one another, marriage as God’s tool of sanctification, developing perseverance, learning to forgive, each chapter focuses on God and God alone as the point of marriage (and life). Even the chapter on sex drills down to the glory of God.

After 15 years of publication, this book continues to be one I read over and over. I need this book. And if you’re married, YOU need it too. Sacred Marriage is a gift to your spiritual life.