It was in college that I was first bit with the bug of bibliomania. I read for leisure in high school, for class requirements in college, and then gradually for devotional purposes. It was in college that I realized how little I knew of God due to my own negligence. I became increasingly hungry for knowledge of the scriptures and experience of the love and grace of Jesus Christ in my everyday life.
I frequented the campus bookstore trying to acquaint myself with the vast array of Christian literature, and bought a few inexpensive classics like Pilgrim's Progress, Of the Imitation of Christ and a few by E. M. Bounds and Andrew Murray. I eventually found a shelf for second-hand books which were being sold at discounted prices. I bought and resold a handful of books there.
By my final year of college I had located a couple of used bookstores in town and frequented them whether or not I had spending money. If I wasn't purchasing books, I was learning authors and titles. After graduating I began to travel back and forth visiting family and I began to break up my trips by searching out used bookstores and antique malls along the way. To this day, I still practice this method of searching for bargains along the way.
During the Thanksgiving holiday this year we traveled northeast to Virginia Beach to visit with my family. Along the way we stopped in a few places where we found great deals on good books. Here's a list of the books and places we found. (With respect to brick-and-mortar book shops selling new and used Christian/Theology books I will forgo the normal hyperlinks to online retailers for this post. Please visit your local brick-and-mortar bookseller to discover what they are able to offer in person!)
The Christian Bookstore & Coffee House, Commerce, GA
There used to be a Christian bookstore located in one of the corners of the Tanger Outlet Mall, but it has since been closed. However, we found The Christian Bookstore & Coffee House next to Five Guys Burgers and Fries. We had an awesome lunch at Five Guys and purchased the following discounted titles at the bookstore:
- Quo Vadis, Evangelicalism? edited by Andreas Köstenberger
- Christ and Culture Revisited by D. A. Carson
- A Long Obedience in the Same Direction Eugene Peterson - This is a second copy for me, but it is such a good book, I couldn't pass it up. I'll give it away to someone.
- Girl Talk by Carolyn Mahaney & Nicole Mahaney Whitacre - I bought this one for my wife.
Ollie's Bargain Outlet
Once we crossed into North Carolina I began to check my GPS for the nearest Ollie's along I-85 North. We stopped in Gastonia at the first of many Ollie's stores during our trip. We missed one along the way, but visited two more in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, and then a final stop in Rocky Mt., NC on the way home. If you are wondering why a visit to one would not be enough, my answer is that you normally find different books at each store, especially when it comes to major commentaries.
My dealings with Ollie's is bitter-sweet. Bitter because I have to be reminded that another Christian bookstore probably went under. Sweet because the discounts are huge on brand new books. Here's what I found:
- Moral Choices: An Introduction to Ethics (second edition) by Scott B. Rae
- Fire Someone Today by Bob Pritchett (President and CEO of Logos Research Systems, Inc.) - I began reading this book and it is excellent. I recommend this for employers and employees alike. Pritchett has provided me with a much needed perspective on business.
- A Guide to Christian Ambition by Hugh Hewitt
- The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life by Os Guiness - This is excellent. I've seen it recommended and had it on my Amazon wish list until now. This is a must read.
- Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages by Ammon Shea - A few years ago I read two fascinating books about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary. I'm looking forward to reading this one too.
- The Invitation: A Simple Guide to the Bible by Eugene Peterson - This, too, is a great entry level introduction to the Bible. I'm hoping that it is something we can use in a small group or Sunday School class. (I bought two copies.)
- Fasting by Scot McKnight
- After You Believe by N. T. Wright
- Enthroned On Our Praise: An Old Testament Theology of Worship by Timothy M. Pierce
- Understanding Four Views on the Lord's Supper by Russell D. Moore, I. John Hesselink, David S Scaer and Thomas A Baima
- Understanding Four Views on Baptism by Thomas J. Nettles, Richard L. Pratt, Jr., Robert Kolb, and John D. Castelein
- Mark: Gospel of the Servant King by David E. Garland and Karen Lee-Thorp - This is a great looking study guide.
- 2 Chronicles by Raymond B. Dillard in the Word Biblical Commentary series - $10
- 1, 2, 3 John (revised) by Stephen Smalley in the Word Biblical Commentary series - $6
- Hebrews by George H. Guthrie in The NIV Application Commentary series - $6
- James by David P. Nystrom in The NIV Application Commentary series - $6
- 1 Peter by Scot McKnight in The NIV Application Commentary series - $6
- 2 Peter, Jude by Douglas J. Moo in The NIV Application Commentary series - $6
- Joshua by Robert L. Hubbard, Jr. in The NIV Application Commentary series - $12
Our final stop along the way was in Hogansville, GA. This was our first visit here. I thought there was a used bookshop in Newnan, GA, but this store came up in my GPS search results. We were not disappointed. Hogansville is a beautiful little town and Clemens & Co. is an equally beautiful antique, art, and book shop. I learned that they price their books by section. So, the Religion/Theology section was $6.50 for hardbacks and $3.00 for paperbacks. This system was nice, but you have to be careful how you buy. Here's what I found:
- Interpreting the Gospels edited by James L. Mays - The table of contents includes authors such as J. A. Fitzmyer, Robert Morgan, Paul J. Achtemeier, Howard C. Kee, Eduard Schweizer, Charles Talbert, Ralph Martin, D. Moody Smith, and Raymond E. Brown.
- I & II Samuel by Hans Wilhelm Hertzberg in The Old Testament Library series (a series I've found to be critical but helfpul)
- I & II Kings by John Gray in The Old Testament Library series
- Isaiah 40-66 by Claus Westermann in The Old Testament Library series
- Hosea by James L. Mays in The Old Testament Library series
- Amos by James L. Mays in The Old Testament Library series
(Part One - IVP Book Club)
(Part Two - Review Copies)