I wrote a list of my favorite books from last year, and enjoyed the process of going back over what I had read. This led me to do the same this year. These books are not necessarily books that were newly published this year. Some, in fact, are quite old. But these are all books that I have found to be either edifying, encouraging, or entertaining. This list does not include the Bible, which does not belong on a list like this. The Word of God transcends all books.
Here they are:
10. A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World -Paul E. Miller
This is a nuts and bolts book on prayer. Miller uses his own personal life and family experiences to drive home the power and priority in daily life. This book encourages you to pray better and with more purpose. I loved the idea of having sloppy prayers. In that way, our prayers model the Gospel. Our prayers are not accepted based on how we pray, but because of the One we are praying through, Jesus.
9. Steve Jobs -Walter Isaacson
Not always a good example to follow, but Steve Jobs certainly was an interesting man. This biography, while quite lengthy, was hard to put down. I have a great appreciation for Jobs and the products he has produced at Apple, and it is fun to get a look behind the curtain to see how many of these innovations were birthed.
8. The Holiness of God -R.C. Sproul
I had never read this classic work from Sproul before, but I am very glad that I took the time to work through it. It is well written and tremendously important. Our God is a holy God. He is completely set apart and transcendent above anything else. If we are ever going to wrestle with the big issues of life on earth, an understanding of God’s holiness is essential.
If you have never had the privilege of listening to, or reading anything that Tim Keller has taught about idolatry, this is a must-read book for you. Keller does a great job of exposing the common idols that are worshipped in our culture today. He then rightly applies the Gospel to our idolatry and shows how only Jesus satisfies. Our men’s group at church just began walking through this book together.
6. Preach: Theology Meets Practice -Mark Dever & Greg Gilbert
I love preaching and I love reading good books about preaching. This book fits the bill. Both Dever and Gilbert take time to explain why preaching is important. Specifically, they show why expository preaching is important. They also give very practical counsel and sage advice for the preacher who is engaged in the sermon preparation process. This was a very edifying and encouraging read.
5. The Mortification of Sin -John Owen
While not quite all the way through this book, this work by Owen easily makes my list. I was a little bit intimidated to read John Owen (based on his reputation), but I have been pleasantly surprised by this book. Filled with great amounts of pastoral wisdom, Owen seeks to help Christians to daily (hourly) put to death the deeds of the body by the power of the Holy Spirit. If anybody is engaged with battling the flesh (which is all of us), I highly commend this book to you.
4. This Momentary Marriage -John Piper
What can I say about this book? This is, hands down, the best book on marriage that I have come across. Piper labors to show how the ultimate purpose of marriage is to represent and show forth the love of Jesus for His bride the church. I read this one with my wife and we both benefited immensely from it.
3. Gospel Wakefulness -Jared C. Wilson
I loved this book. This is a book on gospel revival of the soul that Wilson, and others, have personally experienced. Having had a similar experience, this book was very sweet to read. It is highly quotable and induces a sense of wonder and praise within your heart for the Good News of Jesus Christ over and over again.
2. Delighting in the Trinity -Michael Reeves
I was surprised by this book. Reeves delves into the joys that come from worshipping a God who is triune. He makes such a convincing case for the joy of knowing a God who is One God in three persons, that you walk away thankful that God has not revealed Himself in any other way. In fact, he shows the insufficiencies of any god who is not triune. The book’s title is apt because you walk away delighting that the divine community of the Trinity has invited us to join with them in perfect love and fellowship. I will be re-reading this again.
1. Lectures to my Students -C. H. Spurgeon
This book should be required reading for all pastors and for all who are thinking about becoming pastors. Spurgeon does not hold back delivering these lectures to his preaching students many years ago. This book is powerful, winsome, and filled with pastoral wisdom. With a great sense of humor, and a healthy respect for the pastoral calling, Spurgeon gives timeless council to all who would preach.
That’s my list. I’m always open to other suggestions and recommendations. These books (except Steve Jobs) can all be found at a great price at Westminster Bookstore. Check them out!