Theology TBR List 2023

I hope you aren’t tired of TBR posts yet, because today I’m diving into a subset of my general TBR list for this year. In general, my TBR list on Goodreads is more of a suggestion to myself than something I intend to stick with entirely. However, there are some books that I am more determined to read in a set amount of time – in this case, sometime during 2023. The books I’m talking about today are mostly ones that I purchased or received last year with the intent to read them alongside my daily Bible study, but for one reason or another did not end up reading. There’s also a section at the end of books that I want to check out from the library to read this year after going through the ones I already own. They’re all theology or similar nonfiction titles, so if you’re looking to boost your own study time this year, or just curious about what is at the top of my list, read on!

Books I Own

📚 What Does It Mean to be Chosen by Amanda Jenkins

Published 2021; purchased 2022

This is the official companion study to season 1 of The Chosen, the groundbreaking television series about the life of Jesus.

Being chosen by Jesus has beautiful and far-reaching implications—although it says even more about the Chooser than the choosees. We are loved because He is love. We are saved because He is merciful. We belong to the family of God because Jesus invites us, making the Bible and all its promises as true for us today as it was for God’s chosen people.

What does it actually mean to be Chosen? To answer that question, we’re going Old school—Testament that is—which leads us back to the New. Which always leads us directly to Jesus.

📚 My Life in Him by Jeff Jenkins, et al.

Published 2020, received in 2023

My church handed out copies and is encouraging everyone to read through the book this year. The main preacher is tailoring his sermons to match the themes for each week as well. I can’t find a formal description/synopsis, but basically this is a study book with daily readings that reflect on a passage of scripture. Each week is written by a different person and focuses on a Biblical theme or spiritual discipline.

📚 The New Worship by Barry Wayne Liesch

First edition published 2001, the edition I have published 2012. Purchased in 2022.

Offers practical advice for centering worship styles on praise, fellowship, and evangelism. It helps pastors, worship leaders, and musicians guide the scope and direction of their worship program as they navigate changes, resolve conflicts, and use a blend of both traditional and nontraditional music in praise formats.

📚 Knowing the Psalms* by Douglas Sean O’Donnell

Published 2014; Purchased 2022

The Book of Psalms powerfully resonates with the whole spectrum of human emotions and experiences, resounding with heartfelt praise, humble confession, and honest lament. This 12-week study guide explains the biblical text with clarity and passion, exploring the Bible’s ability to transform our emotions and incline our hearts toward worship.

*links to instead of Goodreads

📚 The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel

Published 2005; received from a family member in 2022

During his academic years, Lee Strobel became convinced that God was outmoded, a belief that colored his ensuing career as an award-winning journalist at the Chicago Tribune. Science had made the idea of a Creator irrelevant – or so Strobel thought. But today science is pointing in a different direction. In recent years, a diverse and impressive body of research has increasingly supported the conclusion that the universe was intelligently designed. At the same time, Darwinism has faltered in the face of concrete facts and hard reason.Has science discovered God? At the very least, it’s giving faith an immense boost as new findings emerge about the incredible complexity of our universe. Join Strobel as he re-examines the theories that once led him away from God. Through his compelling and highly readable account, you’ll encounter the mind-stretching discoveries from cosmology, cellular biology, DNA research, astronomy, physics, and human consciousness that present astonishing evidence in The Case for a Creator.

Things to Check Out from the Library or Consider Purchasing

📚 Churches of Christ in Oklahoma: A History by W. David Baird

Published 2020

In the 1950s and 1960s, Churches of Christ were the fastest growing religious organization in the United States. The churches flourished especially in southern and western states, including Oklahoma. In this compelling history, historian W. David Baird examines the key characteristics, individuals, and debates that have shaped the Churches of Christ in Oklahoma from the early nineteenth century to the beginning of the twenty-first century.

📚 Baptists in America: A History by Thomas Kidd

Published 2015

The Puritans called Baptists “the troublers of churches in all places” and hounded them out of Massachusetts Bay Colony. Four hundred years later, Baptists are the second-largest religious group in America, and their influence matches their numbers. They have built strong institutions, from megachurches to publishing houses to charities to mission organizations, and have firmly established themselves in the mainstream of American culture. Yet the historical legacy of outsider status lingers, and the inherently fractured nature of their faith makes Baptists ever wary of threats from within as well as without.

In Baptists in America, Thomas S. Kidd and Barry Hankins explore the long-running tensions between church, state, and culture that Baptists have shaped and navigated. Despite the moment of unity that their early persecution provided, their history has been marked by internal battles and schisms that were microcosms of national events, from the conflict over slavery that divided North from South to the conservative revolution of the 1970s and 80s. Baptists have made an indelible impact on American religious and cultural history, from their early insistence that America should have no established church to their place in the modern-day culture wars, where they frequently advocate greater religious involvement in politics. Yet the more mainstream they have become, the more they have been pressured to conform to the mainstream, a paradox that defines–and is essential to understanding–the Baptist experience in America.

Kidd and Hankins, both practicing Baptists, weave the threads of Baptist history alongside those of American history. Baptists in America is a remarkable story of how one religious denomination was transformed from persecuted minority into a leading actor on the national stage, with profound implications for American society and culture.

📚 By His Grace & For His Glory: A Historical, Theological, and Practical Study of the Doctrines Of Grace in Baptist Life by Thomas Nettles

Originally published 1986, with a few editions since then. I don’t know which edition my library owns.

📚 On Getting Out of Bed by Dr. Alan Noble

Expected publication: April 2023

No synopsis shared yet, but this will be the third book by this author and professor from my alma mater of OBU. His first book, Disruptive Witness, is probably my favorite nonfiction book ever. The next, You Are Not Your Own, is denser and I haven’t been able to get all the way through it although I appreciate the idea behind it.

📚 Church History in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelley

Second Edition published 1996 (I think this is the edition my library has on shelf)

This latest edition of the book takes a close look at the rapid growth of evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity in the southern hemisphere, addresses the decline in traditional mainline denominations, examines the influence of technology on the spread of the gospel, and discusses how Christianity intersects with other religions in countries all over the world.

This concise book provides an easy-to-read guide to church history with intellectual substance. The new edition of Church History in Plain Language promises to be the new standard for readable church history.

📚 The God Who Stays by Matthew West

Published 2022

Through the dramatic events of 2020 and the ensuing uncertainty and anxiety ever since, people’s lives and illusions of security have been turned upside down. Whenever our plans, hopes, and dreams are put on hold—or worse, lost forever—we feel discouraged, lost, and isolated, and desperately praying, “God, where are You?”

Matthew West’s newest book, The God Who Stays, is an engaging and thoughtful exploration, balanced with his trademark wit and humor, that helps us reconnect to the biblical truth of Immanuel—“God with us”—a personal Savior who never leaves our side and who always answers when we cry out for help. 

What books do you hope to study with in 2023? Or, what nonfiction do you hope to read more generally?

Until the next chapter,


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