I am delighted that Lisa, one of my church members is going to Russia for about 3 years. She will be extending the mission of Christ Baptist half way across the world. We can't wait to see all that God does.
Lisa is packing and preparing for this trip and send me an e-mail with this question: "I'm still wresting with book choices. If you only had five non-scholarly/non-commentary books with you during the next three years what would you choose?"
My mouth salivates at questions like this. This question is like lobbing a huge beach ball to Albert Pujols and saying, "Hit it."
At first, I thought about answering with a complicated formula with several, "It depends" scenarios. But, I finally decided to answer as straighforwardly as I could. I pressed myself with this more specific question: "Justin, if you were leaving for 3 years this afternoon, which 5 books would you actually take? Only 5!"
Here was my answer:
Assuming you can access the ESV Study Bible and all Piper books online:
Personally, I would take:
1. A Gospel Primer for Christians by Vincent
2. The Great Exchange by Bridges
3. Bible Doctrine by Grudem
4. John G Paton Autobiography
5. Communion with the Triune God by Owen
I couldn't just leave it at that, so I included a bit of an explanation:
1. A Gospel Primer for Christians by Vincent (as a means of preaching the gospel to myself daily)
Or, something a little deeper that could help me grow in my knowledge of the gospel:
The Apostle’s Doctrine of the Atonement by Smeaton
The Message of the Cross by Tidball
Redemption Accomplished and Applied by Murray
2. Something that God has used to stir my affections for Christ. Something that I could go to at any time and find refreshment.
One Thing by Sam Storms
Living the Cross-centered Life by Mahaney
Bookends of the Christian Life by Bridges
The Great Exchange by Bridges
Knowing God by Packer
3. Bible Doctrine by Wayne Grudem (as a resource for a variety of theological issues as well as devotional material).
4. John G Paton autobiography (in order to challenge my soul to take risks for Christ).
5. Communion with the Triune God by John Owen (I would make it a goal to master a classic like this over the next three years).