Here are the top ten books that I have read this year. I broke the list down by genre categories of my own choosing without placing them in order of importance.
1. Discipleship: The Imperfect Disciple, by Jared Wilson – deeply practical, easy to read, very helpful use of non-insider theological jargon, and a confident recommendation for anyone in our church.
2. Christian Living: Liturgy of the Ordinary, by Tish Harris Warren – again, very practical and easy to recommend to everyone, while being a challenging word of encouragement for people to think through how our faith impacts our daily life.
3. Biblical Theology: Paul and the Law, by Brian Rosner. Simply put, this book was paradigm shifting for my way of understanding Paul’s use of the Old Testament law. Absolutely brilliant. (his three categories are: 1) polemical repudiation, 2) radical replacement, 3) whole-hearted reappropriation in two ways: the Law as prophecy and wisdom)
4. Sort of obscure church history: In Darkest London, by Donald Lewis. This chronicles the mission work of Joseph Oppenheimer to the urban poor of London from 1858-1862, including a reproduction of Oppenheimer’s own journal entries. Super interesting.
5. Historical biography: Martin Luther, Eric Metaxas. This is a big book that I really, really enjoyed. Typical deep-dive from Metaxas.
6. Historical biblical biography: Paul: a Biography, by N.T. Wright – wonderful, robust, and full of a few little Wrightian idiosyncrasies that will make you groan, but overall this is 98% amazing. There are several illuminating points in this book and those gems are well worth the little oddities of Wright.
7. Managerial Time Management: 18 Minutes, by Peter Bregman. It’s always good to mix in a little help in this increasingly busy, time-demanding world. Excellent bits of help and anecdotes herein.
8. Living in a World Dominated by Narrative (probably not a real genre): Do Story, by Bobette Buster. In a world where the greatest storyteller wins, those of us with the Greatest Story should work on telling it in a compelling way. Highly recommend for preachers and anyone who is crafting narratives and casting vision.
9. Christianity and Culture: The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, by Lesslie Newbigin. A classic I hadn’t read. This book was published in 1989 and holds up really well. Vintage Newbigin.
10. Christian Philosophical Brain-Stretching: He is There and He is not Silent, by Francis Schaeffer. Another classic I had not read. Helpful categorizations for how to think about existential issues and the truth we need to ground them in.
BONUS: in 2018 we preached through Ruth, a Lenten series called “Comfort from the Cross,” Daniel, some Psalms, and the first three and a bit chapters of Galatians.
Favourite commentary in each series:
- Ruth: BST, The Message of Ruth, by David Atkinson
- Cross: too many books to list, but Salvation by Crucifixion, by Philip Ryken was good
- Daniel: Hearing the Message of Daniel, Christopher J. H. Wright
- Psalms: TOTC, Psalms (two volume), by Derek Kidner
- Galatians: NICNT, The Letter to the Galatians, David A. DeSilva