It’s that time of year again for top books of the year. Rather than give a list from 1-15 (I have 15 books on this list), I decided just to give you the fifteen books that I most benefited from reading this year. I encourage all of you to read these books in the next year (or two years as some as these are very long).
The Hole in our holiness by Kevin DeYoung (You can read my review here: http://servantsofgrace.org/2012/08/06/book-review-the-hole-in-our-holiness-filling-the-gap-between-gospel-passion-and-the-pursuit-of-godliness/)
Finish the mission by Dr. John Piper and David Mathis (You can read my review here: http://servantsofgrace.org/2012/11/06/book-review-finish-the-mission-bringing-the-gospel-to-the-unreached-and-unengaged/),
Shame interrupted by Dr. Ed Welch (my review of this book is forthcoming in the next few weeks)
Popologetics by Dr. Ted Turnau (You can read my review of this book here: (http://servantsofgrace.org/2012/10/26/book-review-popologetics/
The conviction to lead by Dr. Albert Mohler (my review is forthcoming in the next few months)
A Puritan Theology by Drs. Beeke and Jones (We are going to review this book here on Servants of Grace but it is going to take some time to read it and then write the review).
When your husband is addicted to pornography by Vicki Tiede (You can read my review here: http://servantsofgrace.org/2012/10/22/book-review-when-your-husband-is-addicted-to-pornography-healing-your-wounded-heart/)
Contend: Defending the Faith in a Fallen World by Aaron Armstrong. I wrote an endorsement of this book and said the following: “The Internet has brought with it online shopping at the click of your fingers, e-books, blogs, and podcasts, some of which are edifying for Christians to read and grow in their faith. Sadly, a great deal of the content on the Internet in addition to what is taught through movies, television, and radio today isn’t helpful but rather harmful to the daily walk of grace of the Christian. In Aaron’s new book he argues that in order for Christians to contend well to the glory of God they must love doctrine and people. This is precisely why I’m excited about this book, because it will help a generation of Christians to rightly understand from Scripture that to contend for the Gospel doesn’t mean compromising our doctrine or our concern for people, but in fact means loving God, His Word, and His people. I encourage you to pick up this book and learn from the Word of God and Aaron’s example about what it means to contend for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.”
Real: Owning Your Christian Faith by Dan Darling. I wrote a review of this book here: http://servantsofgrace.org/2012/07/02/book-review-real-owning-your-christian-faith/ I also endorsed the book and said, “Rarely does a book come along that combines faithfulness to the Bible, the Gospel, and practical suggestions that is as raw and creative as Real Owning Your Christian Faith is. Real: Owning Your Christian Faith written by my friend Dan Darling, a Pastor and seasoned Christian will not only help second generation Christians but every Christian to understand what it means to not play religious games, but to be an authentic and honest disciple of Jesus Christ. Reading Real: Owning Your Christian Faith will be a wakeup call not only to those who are apathetic but will also help those who minister to second generation Christians.”
Gospel Deeps by Jared Wilson. You can read my review of this book here: http://servantsofgrace.org/2012/11/21/book-review-gospel-deeps/
Everyday Church by Steve Timmis and Tim Chester. You can read my review of this book here: http://servantsofgrace.org/2012/10/07/book-review-everyday-church-gospel-communities-on-mission/
Dangerous Calling by Paul David Tripp. You can read my review of this book here: http://servantsofgrace.org/2012/10/31/book-review-dangerous-calling-confronting-the-unique-challenges-of-pastoral-ministry/
Every Good Endeavor Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by Dr. Tim Keller. My review of this book is forthcoming.
Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City by Dr. Tim Keller. You can read my review of this book here: http://servantsofgrace.org/2012/12/19/book-review-center-church/
Finally, The Two Fears: Tremble Before God Alone by Chris Poblete. I endorsed this book and said the following: “In this excellent and easy to read book, Chris Poblete tackles a topic that is often overlooked in contemporary Christian theology. As he examines an unhealthy fear of man and the fear of God, he leads his readers straight into the throne room of the One who is sovereign in and over all things—the One who is wisdom from God—the Lord Jesus Christ. Read this book, but beware—rather than you examining it, the Word of God will examine you and encourage you to consider that the God of the Bible is far more majestic and glorious than you ever dared to imagine.”
Another year is coming to a close, which means book lists are slowly but surely coming out. One of our contributors Aaron Armstrong posted his top books for 2011 list on Wed. You can access his top books for 2011 here: http://www.bloggingtheologically.com/2011/12/14/my-favorite-books-of-2011/
This year I read well over a hundred books between reading for seminary, publishers, personal reading, and research papers. Truthfully I stop keeping track after I read one hundred books, which was around September of this year. I have always enjoyed reading since I was a child but most of my reading these days is academic in nature. My wife and I joke that my “hobby” of reading has become an addiction, and I think she may be onto something as the pile of books in my office continues to grow so much that I have to put more and more of my books from my office in the garage where I store books I don’t read very often in large covered storage tubs.
Here’s my “top eleven” list of books I read in 2011. At the bottom of this post, I have also included a list of ”honorable mention” books I think deserve to be read by every Christian.
#11- Marriage Matters: Extraordinary Change Through Ordinary Moments (New Growth Press, 2010) by Dr. Winston Smith. Many marriage books major on providing self-help advice but do not explain how the Gospel ought to affect believers’ marriages. In Marriage Matters Dr. Smith takes biblical principles and applies them to daily life so that ordinary marriages can become extraordinary. Every married couple should read this book in order to learn how to communicate with one another in a God-honoring way. Here is my review of Marriage Matters: http://servantsofgrace.org/2010/12/15/review-of-marriage-matters/ Dr. Smith blogs at http://www.ccef.org/authors/winston-smith
#10- Getting Back in the Race: The Cure for Backsliding (Cruciform Press, 2011) by Dr. Joel Beeke. This is an important book that will help believers diagnose not only where they struggle in their walk with God but how to address backsliding in their lives. This book is thoroughly biblical, written purposeful with a pastoral tone and is Gospel-saturated. Here is my review of Getting Back in the Race: The Cure for Backsliding: http://servantsofgrace.org/2011/11/17/book-review-getting-back-in-the-race-the-cure-for-backsliding/
#9– Servanthood as Worship: The Privilege of Life in a Local Church (Cruciform Press, 2010) by Nate Palmer offers Christians a biblical understanding of Servanthood that is grounded in the Word of God and the Gospel of God. This book will help churches and or long-established congregations to understand and live out the Truth of the Gospel in their local context. I recommend every Christian read this book to get a better understanding of what biblical Servanthood is. Here is my review of Servanthood as Worship: http://servantsofgrace.org/2011/10/19/book-review-servanthood-as-worship-the-privilege-of-life-in-a-local-church/ Nate contributes weekly to Servants of Grace.
#8- Jesus + Nothing= Everything (Crossway, 2011) by Pastor Tullian Tchividjian contains the story of how God rocked Pastor Tullian’s life by reading, studying and preaching though the book of Colossians. This is a very good book that will help the reader understand the sufficiency of Christ, and the relationship between justification and sanctification. I recommend every Christian read this book. Here is my review of Jesus + Nothing = Everything: http://servantsofgrace.org/2011/10/31/book-review-jesus-nothing-everything/ Pastor Tullian blogs at http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian/
#7- The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything (Crossway, 2011) by Dr. Fred Sanders. In this book Dr. Sanders explores how the Trinity should be the central concern of evangelical theology by demonstrating with passion, and conviction how the Trinity is grounded in the Gospel itself. This book will help the reader to understand how a robust doctrine of the Trinity has massive implications for their lives in the area of prayer, worship, Bible study, missions and fundamental Christian doctrine. I recommend this book for Pastors, Professors, Bible college, seminary students and those interested in theology. Here is my review of The Deep Things of God: http://servantsofgrace.org/2010/09/19/the-deep-things-of-god-how-the-trinity-changes-everything/ Dr. Fred Sanders blogs at: http://www.scriptoriumdaily.com/author/fred-sanders/
#6- God’s Glory In Salvation Through Judgment (Crossway, 2011) by Dr. Jim Hamilton. This is an important contribution to the field of biblical theology that seeks to demonstrate how Exodus 34 unites the metanarrative of Scripture under one theme God’s glory in salvation through judgment. I recommend this book for Pastors, Professors, Bible College, seminary students and those interested in biblical theology. Here is my review of God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment: http://servantsofgrace.org/2011/01/20/review-of-gods-glory-in-salvation-through-judgment/ Dr. Hamilton blogs at: http://jimhamilton.info/
#5- Awaiting a Savior (Cruciform Press, 2011) by Aaron Armstrong is a very important book on a topic that frankly needs to be taught on more. In this book Aaron explains how poverty at root is a sin issue. As he explains the nature of sin, he also applies the Gospel to the issue of poverty. This is a book I strongly recommend you read especially if you minister to the down and out, and homeless. Here is my review of Awaiting a Savior: http://servantsofgrace.org/2011/09/29/book-review-awaiting-a-savior-the-gospel-the-new-creation-and-the-end-of-poverty/ Aaron contributes here at Servants of Grace, at The Gospel Coalition blog, and daily at http://bloggingtheologically.com/
#4- Tempted and Tried (Crossway, 2011) by Dr. Russell Moore. In this book Dr. Moore uses his considerable knowledge of theology, popular culture and the Bible and writes in my opinion a classic on the temptation of Christ. This book will help you understand and overcome temptation. Not only does Dr. Moore provide a good treatment on temptation, but he encourages Christians to understand temptation in terms of warfare through encouraging them with the truth that victory has already been secured through the triumph of Christ. I recommend this book for every Christian. Here is my review of Tempted and Tried: http://servantsofgrace.org/2011/04/15/review-of-tempted-and-tried/ Dr. Moore blogs at: http://www.russellmoore.com/
#3- Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?: Who They Were and Why You Should Care (Crossway, 2011) by Dr. C. John Collins is one of the most important books of the year on an issue that touches at the heart of the authority of the Bible, and the Gospel. I recommend every Christian to get a copy of this book as it will be a good introduction for you on an issue that is affecting the Church. Here is my review of Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?: http://servantsofgrace.org/2011/07/07/review-of-did-adam-and-eve-really-exist-who-they-were-and-why-you-should-care/
#2- Practicing Affirmation (Crossway, 2011) by Pastor Sam Crabtree is another very good book written with a warm pastoral tone. Pastor Crabtree in this book shows how to engage in robust “God-centered affirmation. In my opinion this is one of the most important books I’ve read in awhile and one that I’ve recommended to many others. I recommend every Christian read this and learn how to encourage and affirm others. Here is my review of Practicing Affirmation: http://servantsofgrace.org/2011/03/17/review-of-practicing-affirmation/ Pastor Crabtree blogs at: http://hopeingod.org/news-events/news/pastor-sams-blog
#1- Note to Self The Discipline of Preaching To Yourself (Crossway, 2011) is written by Pastor Joe Thorn. Note to Self is one of the most important books published this year and perhaps in the last several years in my opinion. I say this because it addresses a topic that is currently undergoing much discussion in the blogosphere. This book will lead that conversation on preaching the Gospel forward in significant ways by causing the discussion to not just be theoretical but now to be aimed primarily on application. Joe Thorn has written the definitive book on “preaching the Gospel to oneself.” I recommend every believer read this book and learn from Joe on how to preach the Gospel to yourself. Here is my review of Note To Self: http://servantsofgrace.org/2011/05/26/review-of-note-to-self-the-disciple-of-preaching-to-yourself/ Pastor Thorn blogs at: http://www.joethorn.net/
Licensed to Kill (Cruciform Press, 2011) by Pastor Brian Hedges is a very helpful book that will help believers to understand how to put sin to death in the power of the Gospel and dependence on the Holy Spirit. I recommend every Christian read this book to understand how to put sin to death and depend on the Holy Spirit. Here is my review of Licensed to Kill: http://servantsofgrace.org/2011/09/12/book-review-licensed-to-kill/ Pastor Hedges blogs at http://www.brianghedges.com/
Gospel Wakefulness (Crossway, 2011) by Pastor Jared Wilson will help awaken readers to the power of the Gospel by challenging believers to live out the power of the Gospel with a fervent, genuine zeal. I recommend every Christian read this book to grab hold of the brilliance of the Gospel. A review of Gospel Wakefulness will be coming in the next few weeks. Pastor Wilson blogs at http://gospeldrivenchurch.blogspot.com/
The Next Story (Zondervan, 2011) by Pastor Tim Challies will help believers’ understand the intersection between faith and technology. I recommend every Christian read this book to understand how to use digital technology from a biblical worldview. Pastor Tim blogs at http://www.challies.com/
What Is the Mission of the Church? (Crossway, 2011) by Pastors Greg Gilbert and Kevin DeYoung is a few helpful introductory treatment on an issue currently being discussed in the Body of Christ. Here is my review of The Mission of the Church http://servantsofgrace.org/2011/10/10/book-review-what-is-the-mission-of-the-church-making-sense-of-social-justice-shalom-and-the-great-commission/ Pastor DeYoung blogs at: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/ Pastor Gilbert blogs at http://www.9marks.org/blog/by-author/greg-gilbert
What are the top ten books you read this year?