When I am asked about my discipleship as a young Christian, I always end up talking about Jerry Bridges.
I was in my early twenties when I made my decision to follow Jesus. David—a man in my church who took discipleship seriously—quickly took me under his wing. He gave me a dog-eared copy of Bridges’ The Pursuit of Holiness and asked me to meet him on the following morning to go over the first chapter.
We met nearly every Monday morning for the next three years. After wrapping up The Pursuit of Holiness, we went on to read The Practice of Godliness. Jerry Bridges became such a big part of those early years that when I think back, it is almost as if Bridges was with us—counseling, instructing, and convicting.
I recently read through the notes I had scrawled in the margins of those books, and I was struck by their action-oriented nature, things like: “Make this my prayer,” “Memorize this verse,” and “Resolve this!” These weren’t just theoretical meditations on theological principles (although it was that too), they were the nuts and bolts of applied discipleship.
Ten years later I was the one discipling college students, and I was leading them through Bridges’ books. I can honestly say, I have read every book in the 15 volume Jerry Bridges Collection with a student at one time or another.
One of my favorites in this collection—and one I have used more than a couple times—is Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate. In Respectable Sins, Bridges reminds us to be mindful of our internal posture and outlook. It may be the overt sins that will trip us up, but it’s the deep-seated conditions of the heart which can poison and blind us over time. In a real and vulnerable way, Bridges reveals how he has identified sins like envy, selfishness, and pride in his own heart, and offers practical solutions to combating those conditions we tend to ignore or explain away in ourselves. In this book full of conviction and encouragement, we are reminded that, although we all fall short, there is no excuse to grow complacent in our attitude towards sin.
The strength of these books lie in their ability to be simple without being simplistic. I have found them to be powerful tools for deep, reflective discussions more times than I can count. If you do your own discipleship, have a Bible study or home group, or even want to get back to the practical aspects of your own personal faith, this collection is a must.
Six of the fifteen volumes in the Jerry Bridges Collection are study/discussion guides. By reflecting on, discussing, and responding to these guides you can compound on Bridges’ already practical content and really delve into its personal application—whether you are using them alone or in a group.
Three of the study guides are for books which have been available from Logos for some time but are not in this collection. If you already have a copy of The Pursuit of Holiness (only $6.00 on Logos.com!), The Practice of Godliness, or Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts for Logos 4 then you’ll want to add the Jerry Bridges Collection (15 vols.) to your resources. Otherwise you can get the collection while it is at its discounted Pre-Pub price, and pick up the other books at your leisure.
Have you led any one through one of Jerry Bridges books, or used it in your own spiritual formation? Leave us a comment and tell us about it!