When each of my children enters adulthood, I like to try to provide them with a small personal library. Even though we have attempted to teach them a variety of useful things, some subjects become amazingly more interesting when one enters the fray. These books provide refreshing truths and facts amid the cacophony of foolish wise men and manipulative slogans:
“The person who labors, labors for himself, for his hungry mouth drives him on.” Proverbs 16:26. Everyone likes to get paid. Strangely, however, there is a tendency to label other people who like to get paid as greedy. Facts and history about economics, which are presented very well in this book, are indispensable in preparing an individual for everything from personal finances to evaluating politics. It’s not complicated. Personal freedom generates personal responsibility and vice versa. Reading and discussing this book with your children is invaluable. My 13 year old understands it.
Admittedly there are numerous equations in this book that would have taken me hours to study, but the bulk of the prose is easily verifiable and builds on the average reader’s base of knowledge about the world. The photographs and diagrams are good, too. When mathematics is studied, it reveals God. Then people are faced with the age old choice of turning away or embracing him. The heavens declare the glory of God – with precision.
The Kingdom of the Cults by Dr. Walter Martin
One of the best ways to try to confuse people is to give them a multitude of choices based on human wisdom and desires. Voila! How could there be one truth with so many options? Just knowing the truth goes a long way, but sometimes it is valuable to research just how false other claims are. Also, all the fakes aren’t so different when you take a closer look. They are all based on the idea of man doing things to better himself. The irony is often that the goal is to be “god-like.”
Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies by Sizer and Whitney
I studied this book for nursing school, although this is a later edition. The authors sift through many fads and misconceptions that seem to cycle through our food culture in various forms. There are also great charts in the back to use when evaluating any food or your personal dietary habits. Just looking at those for a few meals is quite educational.
Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell
The goal here is not to generalize. The goal is to understand how culture past has affected culture present. Culture influences how people make decisions. Some parts can be beautiful, while other parts can be tyrannical due to such things as ignorance or peer pressure. Bring the world around you into much clearer focus by reading this book.
So you think you know what that meant in the original Greek? Unfortunately, the meaning of a sentence can hinge and swing on a word. Whether it be occasional assistance in your own reading of the Bible, or evaluating what someone else has been telling you about it, you might find yourself refreshingly freed of wrong understandings when you use this dictionary.
Many Infallible Proofs by Henry Morris
For those who humbly want to know the truth, it’s out there and extremely evident. If you want a jump start in sifting through the false, and often angry or arrogant, claims of many a non-believer, read this book. The “wisdom” of man is full of holes.
additional suggestions for further reading:
Josephus: The Complete Works by William Whiston
There is nothing quite like an eyewitness account. Sure, it is told from his perspective. He was there for some of it. The language might seem thick at first, but the story is worth it. Intrigue, strategy, and survival. One gets an intense sense of the times of the Roman government in which Josephus lived. I’ve only read the personal history section and a part that mentions Jesus.
John Adams by David McCullough
I read this book out loud to my kids and learned early American history on a much deeper, enjoyable level. The vivid details draw you into people’s lives and experiences, even as the author is careful never to assume he knows what is going on inside people’s heads. Every American should read this book.
The Path Between the Seas by David McCullough
My husband read this while he was sick with a fever and had hallucinations about digging the canal, but aside from that, it is an excellent way to travel in time, visiting both historical Panama and our own country a hundred or so years ago. It took me some time to read, but I think that’s because one can only travel so fast.
Tithing: Low Realm, Obsolete, and Defunct by Matthew Narramore
Based on the idea of complete commitment under the New Covenant, this book carefully evaluates all references in the Bible to tithing. You can guess from the title what the conclusions are. A plethora of people teach wrong things about tithing and this author graciously exposes them.
Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola
What is a “church” and what in the world is a “church service?!” If you are the slightest bit interested in what is accepted as and practiced as Christianity, this book asks and answers many pertinent questions, both historical and current. You might be surprised at the origins of rituals that purport to be honoring God. While it might not be absolutely wrong to engage in them, it might not be healthy for the real church, either.
Followers of The Way have been persecuted and misrepresented throughout history…. by their enemies. There were no “dark ages,” there has just been the ongoing darkness of men’s hearts as the powers of this world try to blot out any vestiges of truth and faithfulness in Christ. There have always been true, mature believers.
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
My parents read this book to me when I was a child. I remember being taken aback by how ordinary the main characters were, having lead completely normal lives until their 40s; and how suddenly their lives changed in the face of tyranny when they must choose between right and wrong. There was hope, but there was no fairy tale ending. It made me think and still does.