Judging Books By Their Covers

I feel like I always have a to-be-read stack of books a mile high. The books listed here are only a small portion of what I’m planning to read within the next few months, but these will be the ones I read first. Inspired by other bloggers, I put together this list and share my first impressions and expectations of each based on their covers. If it appears as though I have positive impressions of all of them, that’s because I select books to review based on what I am interested in reading, so these have already been handpicked. Of course, first impressions aren’t always correct, so any opinion is subject to change! I’d encourage readers to check back for the reviews for a more developed opinion.

CSB World View Study Bible

First up is the Christian Standard Bible World View Study Bible. This opinion isn’t based solely on the cover since I’ve been using this Bible in personal study for a few weeks now. So far my impression is positive, I love the concept. Worldviews are competing with one another on the daily. Multiple contradictory ways of looking at the world are being shoved in our faces every time we turn on the T.V., log onto the computer, or read a book. So while the Christian’s worldview should always be shaped by the Bible, I love that this study Bible seeks to encourage that.

Plugged In by Daniel Strange

This is another one with that I’ve already started. My initial impression is that this would be a book about engaging with culture, perhaps how to watch television or scroll social media through a lens of faith, or how to turn a conversation about football into a conversation about Jesus. Not being totally familiar with the author, I wasn’t totally sure if I should expect it to be heavy on theology with little practicality or vice versa, though the cover made me expect it to maybe be more on the practicality side. I requested this book because I was interested in it, but I know a lot of books about culture tend to be incredibly detached from culture, so I wasn’t sure if I should expect that from this book as well. But looking in the notes, I see he quotes from Herman Bavinck, Abraham Kuyper, the Heidelberg Catechism and other solid sources. I look forward to finishing this book.

Bible Infographics for Kids Volume 2

I’m a little worried by the cover of Bible Infographics for Kids, the light and dark, heroes and villains dichotomy could easily go wrong. It just depends on how it is presented in the book, I hope it is presented in a way that does not make good and evil appear to be equals, in a sort of dualistic way. I do have high expectations, though. While briefly flipping through, I found a portion on the Trinity and on the two natures of Jesus. I saw it directly named christological heresies and explaining why popular illustrations of the Trinity like the sun, a shamrock, and water fail to communicate the concept. So I approach this book hesitant but expectant.

Above All by J. D. Greear

Not sure what to expect from this one. This will be my first time reading anything by Greear, the president of the Southern Baptist convention, but I’ve seen mixed opinions of him. I think that not being totally familiar with what he believes or teaches will be beneficial in that it will keep me from being too biased towards him. I’m not totally sure what direction the book will take, though I think it will focus on the seeker sensitive movement, the watering down of the gospel in order to get more people into churches. I have mediocre expectations, but high hopes! A lot of ways for this this book to be “meh” and a lot of ways for this book to be great!

Susie by Ray Rhodes Jr.

I already have a good opinion of this just because I know a little bit about the life of Susannah Spurgeon and greatly admire her. I’m so anticipating digging into this book, I’ve been waiting for it since March. I don’t really know what to expect from the author, though. Some biographies are really dry and plain, even when the person whom it is about lived an exciting life. Some biographies are packed full of wisdom or humour from the author or the subject. So I don’t know what to expect. I like Albert Mohler who writes the forward, so that also positively impacts my impression. We’ll see how it goes.

Hidden in Christ by James Bryan Smith

I’ve already read a few of the devotional readings on this. I honestly expect it to be like most other devotionals, sort of mystic, sort of lacking depth, but not totally wrong. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I realized after I’d requested this for review that it involves something called Spiritual Formation, which sounds innocent enough, and I don’t dislike it as much as some people do, but it’s something to look out for.

Doing Theology With the Reformers by Gerald L. Bray

I expect this one to feel kind of dry. I have no experience with the author, so I have no valid reason to think that, this is purely judging a book by its cover. It’s an academic title so while I expect the language to be dry, I expect to learn a good deal from Gerald Bray. I have high expectations regarding the information contained it. I believe this is a companion to the Reformation Commentary on Scripture, of which I have both commentaries on Romans (reviews to come) and I enjoy them a lot. I’m actually really excited to do theology with the Reformers.

How Reason Can Lead to God by Joshua Rasmussen

I’m going to be totally straightforward and say that I am a presuppositionalist. This is an apologetic methodology that I am biased towards. I don’t know what approach Joshua Rasmussen uses, but I look forward to reading what he has to say anyway. If I understand correctly, this book will sort of make a case using reason and common experience for the existence of God. I really hope this book stays within Christian apologetics and doesn’t argue for a generic theism. This is another one that I just don’t know what to expect, but I am interested.

The Glory of Grace

I love the writings of the Puritans — the ones I can understand that is. It takes some time to digest for me. I expect to really enjoy this one. I assume from the cover that it will contain actual excerpts from the Puritans it introduces. It’s pretty small, less than 200 pages, but I’m really excited about it and have a feeling it will make its way onto my recommended books list.

The Story of the Cosmos

I flipped through the pages briefly and saw the word “Silmarillion” which immediately gives it extra points in my opinion. Science and astronomy are topics I don’t normally engage in but find really awesome, so I suspect there will be plenty of new and exciting information to take in. If it’s anything like I suspect, it will use science and art to increase the reader’s awe of the Lord and knowledge of apologetics.

NIV Journal the Word

There really isn’t much to say about my first impressions of this NIV Journaling Bible without giving a whole review. It seems like a good Bible, wide margins for note taking, art journaling, or reflection. When I requested it for review, I was expecting the damask pattern to be printed on, but it’s actually raised. It’s a higher quality imitation leather too.

If you’ve read this far, I want to thank you! Tell me what you’ve got on your to-be-read list and what you expect!


Many thanks to the publishers for providing me with copies of these books in exchange for my fair and honest review.

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