As I’ve grown over the last 25 years as a Chrsitain, I’ve watched various doctrines or beliefs change how I see God, myself, and, well really everything. For instance, Learning of God’s sovereignty changed how I saw salvation, suffering, my marriage, and even my anxiety. God’s hospitality to outsiders edited how I evangelized, and prayed. Of all the shifts in my theology however, none created as much of a sea change as the centrality of the gospel for all of living.
Before 2009, I believed that the gospel was the power of God to save those who trusted themselves to it, but that was as far as it could reach. Once day 2 came, the same powerful gospel wasn’t useful for my marriage, anger, or financial giving - just evangelism. After 2009, God was kind to me in showing me more of the “length, depth, breadth and width” of the gospel for my every day. I now saw racism and sex through the eyes of the gospel. I saw sleep and work through the prism of the gospel. Even enjoying food and music was altered by the deep reach of the gospel.
Certainly, God used key passages to accomplish this. I’d read, meditate, and the Holy Spirit would quicken the truth in my heart of hearts. Passages like the Prodigal Son or Paul reminding the Corinthian church to re-centralize the gospel, and even Jesus telling the Ephesians to return to the gospel. I also had books by men who were ahead of me in the same path. I grew through their writing to see the various shades and hear the various chords of the same true and great story. I grew through this story applied to everything from evangelism to church planting.
I read and re-read these books and thought it helpful to line them out for you. If you were to build a small library, start with these books. Read them slowly, take notes, interact with them. When they cite passages, go the the Bible and follow along. When you finish, type up a book report (yup, just like in middle school). Develop a robust theology on how the gospel is the best story ever told - the story we’ve received, stand in, and carry with us.
In somewhat of a vague order...
- The Gospel Transformation Bible
- The Explicit Gospel, Chandler & Wilson
- Gospel Deeps, Wilson
- The Gospel, Ortlund
- Gospel Fluency, Vandersteldt
- The Transforming Power of the Gospel, Bridges
- The Unbelievable Gospel, Dodson
- The Jesus Storybook Bible, Lloyd-Jones
- Note to Self, Thorn
- The Gospel for Real Life, Bridges
- The Gospel as Center, Carson & Keller
- Fifty Reasons Jesus Came To Die, Piper
- The Return of The Prodigal Son, Nouwen
- The Pursuit of Holiness, Bridges
I hope these help. Feel free to leave a comment below regarding titles I may have missed. I’m still building my gospel library until Jesus comes to renew everything and bring home to us.