2 Peter 1:5 . . . giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, . . .
Why more books, when all we need is the Bible? First, this is NOT an anti intellectual Blog! Neither is it a pretense or substitute for true scholarship. Verify, verify, verify! Learning has a vital place in Christian life, believe it or not. It is not a fruitless pursuit to strive to develop what God has given us, to maximize our potential for His purpose. Secondly, because the Internet with all it’s glory can crash, be attacked, or come under “emergency” governmental manipulation; resources and materials in your physical possession make increasing sense to have access to and be able to share with others when that time comes.
Here is a list of informative, interesting books that I have included for you to enjoy. My comments are not intended as formal reviews, just brief notes. Many of these books will challenge your understanding and hopefully shake your comfort zone!
1. The Tanakh, the Jewish Bible, the Old Covenant Scripture, the Septuagint!
For some reason, both the RCC AND Protestant churches use the Masoretic Text that
excludes the Apocrypha (throwing the baby out with the bath water). The Masoretic Text was a redacted response to various Christian assertions, post destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus the Christ quotes the Septuagint. If it’s good enough for Him, it should be good enough for us! Google it, and also check the different comments on Amazon book reviews to get some helpful background info on the whole issue. For those who hold to the idea that emperor Constantine had all variant Christian Scriptures destroyed in order to deliver an “official” Canon of Scripture to the newly legalized Church; please note that there is a great abundance of fragments of pre-Nicene Scripture to refute any claim of that (see Metzger).
2. Which Christian Bible, or New Covenant Scriptures? Can you imagine people actually fighting over that? Oh well, here goes. For those of you who are in love with their KJV, see the above. In defense of the KJV, the scholars who worked on it were brilliant, and their work represents a truly monumental and beautiful foundation stone for the English language! The alternatives are interesting. When you consider how many translations there are that are based on the same Greek texts, it often come down to sectarian or personal agendas – beware! Google the history behind Hort/Westcott, and you will see what I mean. The history of English Bible translations is very revealing and very interesting, Google it. Among the many Christian Bibles that I possess, is something called The Restored New Testament, by W. Barnstone. There are many obvious points that his translation or footnotes miss or gloss over, and many times his commentary seems like he is unfamiliar with certain basic Christian doctrines or concepts! However, his work contains a wealth of refreshing meaning, a treasure of background info; and he reintroduces the Aramaic/Jewish/Greek pronouns and names back where they belong! His footnotes and appendices are worth the price of the book!
3. The Orthodox New Testament (New Covenant), published by The Holy Apostles Convent. This is a gem. It is translated from the very best Greek manuscripts (my opinion), and was approved by the Church at Constantinople, originally printed in 1904 and 1912. Go to Amazon and read the reviews, you won’t be bored! It’s textual strength is its fidelity, not its fluidity!
4. Shopping for a Concordance? That’s easy. Trying to find a faithful inter-linear Bible, lexicon, or word study that is relatively objective? Pray, research, and pray again! Those books are a mine-field of doctrinal agendas!
5. The Didache and the Epistle of Barnabas. Often published together, they represent an
amazing glimpse into the life, doctrine, and practice of the early Church. Much more could be easily said about these two great books re-discovered in a monastery archive by Metropolitan Philotheos Bryennios of Nikomedia, and published in 1883. The Didache is the more important of the two. It is most likely dates from 80 AD!
6. The pre-Nicene Early Church Fathers. It has been said that you can discover whatever
“church” you’re looking for within their writings! That should be sufficient warning. However, the Fathers are invaluable to uncovering important facts regarding linguistic, doctrinal, cultural, and early “praxis” of the Christian faith. You don’t have to blindly follow their conclusions. Their perceptions, their “world view” are priceless!
7. God’s Voice In the Stars. K. Flemming. This little book will change the way you view the stars AND the Gospels forever!
8. History of the Church by Eusebius. The first “official” Church history, very valuable, but proceed with caution. Eusebius was an early hierarch who claimed to be close to Emperor Constantine, hence, Eusebius casts people and events in a certain light.
9. Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul by R. Hays. The Jewish Bible’s influence on the Apostle Paul and his writings.
10. Bodily Healing and the Atonement by Dr. T.J. McCrossan. This small book has a huge
doctrinal and therefore, practical impact upon the practice of the Christian faith – a must read!
11. When Heaven Invades Earth by B. Johnson. This is not about Scientology! It’s a presentation about the miraculous, and how we interact with it. (I have received complaints about this book from Christians who seriously question Bill Johnson’s
doctrine “signs and wonders” etc. so, as with all the books on this list – use your
spiritual discretion and don’t be fooled by certain aspects of any authors!
12. The Walk of the Spirit, the Walk of Power by D. Roberson. A charismatic point of view.
13. The Text of the NT: It’s Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration by B. Metzger
14. God at War by Dr. Gregory Boyd. A must read, especially regarding the sovereignty of God doctrine that Augustine cooked up which had devastating results upon the Christian faith! Why do bad things happen to apparently good people? Read this!
15. Satan and the Problem of Evil by Dr. Gregory Boyd. This is a sort of continuation of the first book. Free will, and God’s love. You won’t be disappointed.
16. Against the Protestant Gnostics by J. Lee. The author explores the implications of gnostic thought as it expresses itself in today’s Protestantism via religious education, preaching.
17. The Cost of Discipleship, by D. Bonhoeffer. Pastor and martyr under the Nazi regime
shares his insights into the way of faith. His biography, if you can find it, is one of those
amazing accounts you’ll never forget.
18. The Essence of Christianity by L. Feuerbach. Examines the philosophy of religion and the central questions of Christianity. He’s brilliant, it’s a classic!
17. The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware (Bishop Kallistos). A detailed outline and historical explanation of the often over looked Christian Church of the East, its doctrines, practices, and ecclesiology.
18. The Philokalia volumes 1-4. This is the ultimate collection of texts on pray and the spiritual life of the eastern Church as recorded in the monastery manuscripts of Mt. Athos. This is recommended for very mature Christians who have both a highly developed spiritual life and a deep appreciation for the mystical elements of the faith. Traditionally read under the supervision of a seasoned spiritual teacher or “doctor” who understands how to prescribe appropriate guidance and insight – for good reason.
19. Divine Images by St. John of Damascus. Originally written as three treatises in “Against Those Who Attack Divine Images” during the mid 700’s as an apologetic work against the “Iconoclasts” – the RCC, for some strange reason considers him to be a second rate scholar! This booklet blows the lid off several misconceptions regarding the Second
Commandment. His work has many direct Christological implications, namely, the
Incarnation. This is a must read!
20. Unseen Warfare, edited by Nikodemos of Mt. Athos. Insights on spiritual combat collated during the 1500’s from earlier eastern Christian sources.
21. Sword of the Prophet by S. Trifkovic. The history, theology, and impact of, you guessed it, Islam. Several good books have been published about this topic. The general litmus test is wether they are of the fear mongering, sensationalist brand, or just source driven matter-of-fact reporting.
22. Why We Left Islam by S. Crimp and J. Richardson (I hope they used psuedonyms).
Various accounts of those who have left, and why they were lead away at tremendous
23. The Thirteenth Tribe by A. Koestler. The history of the Khazar empire that converted to Judaism, and how those people became a driving force in eastern European history.
This one might be banned somewhere.
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Anything you can get your hands on regarding ancient Near East, Hebrew, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman history for background info on Biblical texts, concepts, practices, ANYTHING that sheds light on, or influences the times of the Gospels/Epistles.
24. Everyday Life the of Greeks and Romans by E. Guhl and W. Koner.
25. The World of the Ancient Greeks by J. Comp and E. Fisher.
26. Christianity and Classical Culture by J. Pelikan. A great scholar who will never disappoint. A constant reminder that we can never remove Scripture from its cultural context!
27. The Two Babylons by Hislop. A classic anti RCC hit piece with lots of supporting research.
28. The Bad Popes by Chamberlin. The chronicle of papal excess, abuse, and intrigue.
29. The Great Pyramid by Piazzi Smith
30. The Great Pyramid Decoded by E. Raymond Capt. This has Scriptural references of special interest! The prophet Isaiah’s mention of the pyramid is an eye opener!
31. The Nephilim and the Pyramid of the Apocalypse by P. Heron. Take it with a grain of salt.
32. Apollyon Rising 2012 by T. Horn. This is one of your better 2012 conspiracy/disaster books!
33. The Mark of the Beast by T. Ravenscroft. What would a Christian reading list be without at least one reference to the MOTB! This is actually a continuation of an earlier work on the Infamous “spear of destiny” fascinating reading!
34. Sowing Atheism by R.B. Johnson Jr. This small book packs a punch. If you think it’s just about atheism and how the Academy of Sciences talks out of both sides of its mouth, think again! This is actually. An amazingly comprehensive book, check it out on Amazon!
35. Noah in Ancient Greek Art by R.B. Johnson Jr. This is a shocker for biblical students who know, or should I say, think they know their Greek mythology!
36. The Parthenon Code by R.B. Johnson Jr. This book is a perfect example of the principle of “Any discovery by an outsider to our field is totally unwelcome, thank you very much!” Biblical students take note! Bob shows how the Greeks not only knew the OC narrative, they totally perverted it to celebrate their own rebellion! If you know any Greeks, chances are pretty fair that they will literally hate you if you show them this stuff!
37. Forbidden Archeology by M. Cremo and R. Thompson. This is not some creationist attack piece. However, what the authors do is totally deconstruct the historical, technological time-line of humanity! Their evidence is compelling and well documented.
38. Worlds in Collision by I. Velikovsky. This is a scientific counter culture masterpiece – check it out on Amazon! Many biblical references and implications to consider i.e. Jericho!
39. Earth in Upheavel by I. Velikovsky. I don’t remember which one to read first, but Professor Velikovsky was a multi disciplinarian, holding several doctorates! He used his massive intellect to discern a “cataclysmic” prehistory instead of following the mainstream drumbeat of a “steady state” uniform universe! He’ll definitely rock your world with his geological, paleontological, and archeological evidence for some amazing conclusions about our past! (If it’s of any value, it is said that Einstein died with a copy of one of Velikovsky’s books on his desk.)
40. Pole Shift by J. White expands one of Dr. Velikovsky’s observations regarding the geologic record of the reversal of our poles, and the likelihood and consequences for us today.