Essential Books

books-1655783_1920“If you were stranded on an island…” It’s every book lover’s toughest question. With such a world of literature and knowledge available, how do you possibly distill the choices into an essential three…or five…or fifteen?

By far the hardest aspect of preparing to move has been choosing books. I wish it were easier to ship my library but such a feat is not financially practical, however much UPS may desire my business.

I am aware that e-books exist and I make use of them as I can. Yet, in my book (pun intended), nothing beats a physical copy for studying, soaking, digesting, and retention. I am limiting myself to what will fit among everything else in my luggage. As such, choices have to be made. Apart from non-negotiables such as my Bible along with Greek and Hebrew texts, I am forcing myself to be very intentional about the selections.

I am following these guidelines:

  1. What has nourished my soul most in the midst of trials?
  2. What subjects of theology keeps coming up in evangelism and apologetics?
  3. What other apologetic issues does Ukraine present?

Missions is a hard calling. I know this from my voracious study of missionary biographies and first hand accounts of missionary friends. You are on the field for the glory of God and the souls of men and Satan will do everything he can to multiply your sorrows, leverage your temptations, and capitalize every notion of doubt in order to render you fruitless. I believe the first criteria is critical to ensure I have the full armor readily at hand. Accordingly, my list is weighted toward this consideration. Additionally, I have Adoniram Judson’s biography; one which has been a challenge and inspiration to me since 6th Grade.

The second consideration came from my preparation for teaching in Ukraine back in March 2017. Even though I was teaching a course on answering Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, two central doctrines continued to appear: Christology and the Trinity. Along with a manual of broad theological considerations (as well as the Three Forms of Unity), I have selected two books that have proven most fruitful in these areas.

Finally, I gave thought to what I know of Ukraine and some of the potential opportunities that may present themselves once I am in Kyiv. True, Ukraine faces challenges with Eastern Orthodoxy, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Mormons, but given their proximity to Turkey, Islam is beginning to rear its head. There is no one I trust more on this issue than Dr. James White as he has consistently demonstrated the utmost care and gospel oriented interactions with Islam.

Here are the books I believe best fit those parameters:

  1. The Crook in the Lot – Thomas Boston
  2. A Lifting Up for the Downcast – William Bridge
  3. Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices – Thomas Brooks
  4. The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment – Jeremiah Burroughs
  5. The Mystery of Providence – John Flavel
  6. To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson – Courtney Anderson
  7. Manual of Reformed Doctrine – Prof. Louis Berkhof
  8. The Person & Work of Christ – BB Warfield
  9. The Forgotten Trinity – Dr. James White
  10. What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an – Dr. James White

If you were in my shoes, what books would you want to take with you? Comment below!

Pressing on in downsizing,



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