Most Influential books in your personal life

Sounds good. Grace was the first topic I ever did a deep study on. Jacks book is on for 19 bucks. Here is a little look inside:


An important expression occurs at both the beginning and the end of Romans, in 1:5 and 16:26, not unlike bookends that encompass the entire work. It is the same Greek phrase in both verses: eis hupakoēn pisteōs, literally, “unto obedience of faith” (there is no “the” before “obedience”). It is important because with this phrase Paul sums up the overall purpose of his ministry as the Apostle to the Gentiles. He declares that he was “called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God(Rom 1:1). To what end was he called? In 1:5 he says he received his apostleship “to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles.” This is his “mission statement,” as it were, and could well function as the mission statement of the church in any era. The very goal of the gospel is to bring sinners to “obedience of faith.”

The concept of mission or goal or purpose is found in the preposition eis, which precedes “obedience of faith.” In such a context it means “unto, for the purpose of, toward the goal of, in order to bring about.” The NASB translates it “to bring about” in 1:5 and “leading to” in 16:26. The ESV has “to bring about” in both verses. The point is that this is the result any of us, not just Paul, should be looking for when we share the gospel with the lost: we are seeking to bring them to “obedience of faith.”

If this is the case, then it would seem that this is a very important concept. This is why it is rather surprising to see such widespread disagreement as to what it means. One reason for such a variety of interpretations may be that there are so many variables to consider in the exegesis of this expression. First of all, does the word “faith” refer to subjective or objective faith? Subjective faith is the inward act of believing, the faith by which one believes (represented by the Latin expression, fides quae). Objective faith is the body of doctrine which one believes, or the content of what one believes (represented by the Latin fides qua). Most views opt for the former.

Another issue is the scope of the obedience resulting from the gospel. Does this refer to the entire life of Christian obedience? Or is it obedience to a specific, limited set of commands, such as the sinner’s “initial obedience” to the “plan of salvation” or to the gospel?
This is an excellent taste of the precision in exegesis that Jack applies to every passage he considers. There are multiple meanings that can be taken by an expression, in any language, and Jack explores all of the possible meanings before arriving on what he believes the correct one is. That really does wonders for helping your ability to think critically about biblical texts and your determination to get down to what it really means. And by "critically" here I mean in the literary sense not in the polemic sense.
That sounds way cool. I love the book of Ephesians. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Here are my top 10 off the top of my head that greatly impacted my life. I thought it might give some insight with background, ideas, influence and make for a fun or interesting topic of discussion in our group.

1) The Pursuit of God by AW Tozer
2) The Knowledge of the Holy by AW Tozer
3) Knowing God by Packer
4) The Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer
5) How to read the Bible for all its worth by Fee and Stuart
6) The Gospel according to Jesus by MacArthur
7) Pilgrims Progress by Bunyan
8) Fox's Book of Martyrs by Fox
9) Kingdom of the Cults by Martin
10) Evidence that demands a verdict by McDowell

What are your favorites ?
Theology and Sanity by Frank Sheed.
Summa Theologica by Aquinas
Confessions by Augustine.
Against Heresies by Ireneaus
The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen.
Glory of the Lord by Hans Urs von Balthazar.
Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla.
Theology of the Body by Pipe John Paul II
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