2016 has come and gone and here is the list of books I plodded through along the way. Maybe there is something in here you can add to your 2017 list.
*disclaimer: just because a book is in my list does NOT mean I endorse the content contained in the book. For your benefit, I have highlighted the books containing content that may have points of view that are in opposition to a biblical worldview by making the font bold.
1. The Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis (7 book series). I try to reread these books every few years.
2. Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry. An excellent book about a barber in Port William written by an masterful story teller.
3. The Faith of Christopher Hitchens by Larry Taunton. A biographical account of the private Hitchens, his interest in Christianity & his friendship with Taunton.
4. Hitch 22 by Christopher Hitchens. An autobiographical account of Hitchen’s life. It is, at times, crude and vulgar, but insightful and enlightening regarding Hitchens & his anti-theist worldview.
5. Redeeming Singleness: How the Story line of Scripture Affirms the Single Life by Barry Danylak. The last two chapters of this book are worth the entire price of the book. This is a book that develops a theology of singleness for those called to this fruitful lifestyle. Danylak takes you on a historical and theological journey that requires work on your part, but is well worth the effort.
6. Pursuing Peace: A Christian Guide to Handling our Conflicts by Dr. Robert D. Jones. This is one of the more helpful books I read this year and I believe every church member should read it. Everyone deals with conflict. Few of us deal with conflict in a way that honors the Lord. This book equips you to honor God and love those you are in conflict with. Don’t buy it for someone else. Buy it for yourself.
7. How to Write A lot by Paul J. Silvas. This is simply a book on the discipline of writing. It is witty and direct. If you want to learn how to dedicate yourself to writing for the benefit of others, read this book and apply it.
8. God, Marriage & Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation by Dr. Andreas Kostenberger and David Jones. This is a broad and thorough work on marriage, divorce, remarriage, singleness, homosexuality, parenting and family worship (and that is just scratching the surface).
9. Get Outta My Face: How to Reach Angry, Unmotivated Teens with Biblical Counsel by Rick Horne. The title gives a lot away. If you minister to teenagers, counsel teenagers or parent a teenager, this book can equip you on how to shepherd a teenager’s heart.
10. When Good Kids Make Bad Choices: Help and Hope for Hurting Parents by Jim Newheiser and Elyse Fitzpatrick and Laura Hendrickson. The authors of this book will quickly tell you that there is no such thing as a “good” kid. This is a practical book aimed to encourage the parents of wayward teens. There is an excellent chapter written by a medical doctor and psychiatrist with a special needs kid regarding parenting children with special needs. In addition to that there is a helpful chapter on what is considered brain disease, what isn’t and an evaluation of many of the common medications that are prescribed for children.
11. Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp. This is my first Tedd Tripp book. I have read lots of things from his brother, Paul. I enjoyed this book thoroughly and found it to answer many questions that I had personally about parenting. He deals a lot with how we as parents are God’s agent for our children. It covers disciplining your children for the glory of God and the sake of their souls.
12. Holiness by J.C. Ryle. It is no exaggeration to say that in my opinion this is the best work on the doctrine of sanctification I have read (and I have read a lot and have a lot of favorites). I found myself cherishing the gospel more with every chapter and longing more and more to be conformed into the image of Christ.
13. A Covenant Feast: Reflections on the Lord’s Table. This book was written by my good friend, Ryan Davidson. It is a collection of three sermons he gave to his congregation on the Lord’s Supper. It is conversational and very easy to understand. He was intentional about that. I know I may sound bias, but I believe this is one of the best and most helpful books I have read on the sacrament of communion. Please buy this book, read it, understand it and be edified by faithfully coming to the Lord’s table.
14. True Friendship: Walking Shoulder to Shoulder by Vaughan Roberts. Excellent short book on developing a theology of friendship. This is a biblical approach about our need for intimate friendships that point us to the gospel of grace.
15. Psalms: A Geneva Commentary Series by W.S. Plummer. I try to keep a steady diet of reading through commentaries from cover to cover. I am not quite finished with this one, but it is by far the best commentary I have read on the book of the Psalms. Very soul nourishing.
16. Writers to Read: Nine Names that Belong on Your Bookshelf by Douglas Wilson. Why not read a book about books you should be reading? This is a fun book about what you’re missing out on. A couple of notables from it- Lewis & Tolkien.
17. A Hobbit, A Wardrobe & A Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18 by Joseph Loconte. This is an excellent biographical account not just of the Great War, but of how the Great War shaped the thinking and writing of Tolkien and Lewis.
18. Animal Farm by George Orwell. To my shame, this is the only Orwell book I have read. This is an allegorical tale about the events leading to the Russian Revolution.
19. Running Scared: Fear, Worry and the God of Rest by Dr. Edward Welch. This is an excellent practical book on how the Scriptures speak directly to those of us who struggle with fear, worry and anxiety.
20. Biblical Counseling and the Church: God’s Care through God’s People edited by Dr. Robert Kellemen and Dr. Kevin Carson. This is the best book I have read on developing a culture of counseling in the local church. It is written by practitioners for the local church.
21. The Pastor and Counseling: The Basics of Shepherding Members in Need by Dr. Jeremy Pierre and Deepak Reju. Pastors often look at counseling members as a distraction from ministry. We need to be reminded that counseling members is ministry. I recommend this to pastors and those in seminary.
22. Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help for a Common Problem by Dr. Robert D. Jones. This is an excellent book on adopting a biblical worldview on anger and the discipline of self control. Dr. Jones focuses on the underlying heart conditions that motivate sinful outbursts of anger and gives the biblical remedy to repent of them.
23.The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes. I read this years ago, but needed a refresher. God uses trials and humiliations for His purposes, for His glory.
24. Addictions A Banquet in the Grave: Finding Hope in the power of the Gospel by Dr. Edward Welch. A great work on how we are all worshipers of something. If not of the God of the cosmos than an idol. Those idols take the form of addictions that lead to spiritual death. We need Christ to deliver us from this.
25. The Saint’s Everlasting Rest by Richard Baxter. Baxter defines everlasting rest as the happiest state a Christian can be. Excellent, short, soul nourishing read.
26. Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus by Mark Dever. We are all called to this task. Why not read a book about how to effectively do it?
27. Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. I disagree with 95% of the things in this book by Harvard psychologist, Dr. Gilbert. I include it only because I think engaging with writers from a different worldview can help strengthen our worldview. Here you can find my 8 page critique of Gilbert’s book: happiness_book_review
28. Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health by Donald Whitney. Whitney is one of my favorite living authors when it comes to biblical spirituality. My wife and I read this book together to ensure that we are growing in our love for Jesus.
29. Call the Sabbath a Delight by Walter Chantry. I cried while reading this book. That isn’t saying a lot because I cry when I read good books. This is such a refreshing perspective on the Sabbath that today’s modern church has lost. I can almost guarantee that you have a distorted view on the Sabbath. This book can help to give you a biblical perspective so that you may enjoy this gift from God.
30. How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong by Leslie Vernick. This is a great practical book on loving your spouse. I don’t agree with everything in it, but I do agree with the practical steps Vernick gives on how to interact with your spouse when he or she is sinning against you. Don’t read it thinking “my spouse sins against me.” Read it thinking, “I sin against my spouse every day.”
31. Histories and Fallacies: Problems faced in the Writing of History by Carl Trueman. This is a book on the conceptual and methodological issues facing historical writing. It’s a book about writing honestly.
32. A Theology of Christian Counseling by Jay Adams. An excellent, biblical approach to counseling by a man God used as a tool to call the church back to her responsibility to counsel and care for her members.
33. Recovering a Confessional Heritage by Arden L. Hodgins Jr., edited by James Renihan and Richard Barcellos. This is a short book on the history of confessions and creeds in the local church and our need for them today. Documented confessions and creeds tell people what we believe about the Scripture.
34. When Sinners Say “I do”: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage by Dave Harvey. This book was written in 2007, but I read it for the first time this year. It is probably one of the best books on marriage I have ever read. It is gospel centered and will be beneficial for you and your spouse if you choose to read it.
35. Good Mood, Bad Mood: Help and Hope for Depression and Bipolar Disorder by Charles D. Hodge, M.D. This is a book written about depression and bipolar disorder from the perspective of an MD and Biblical Counselor. It is full of scientific research and covers everything from antidepressants to the sufficiency of Scripture.
36. Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace by Dr. Heath Lambert. This is an excellent guide on overcoming pornography and sexual temptation by using the gospel as a means to fight it.
37. God without Passions: A Primer by Samuel Renihan. This book is on the immutability of God and why that matters. One of my favorites on my list this year. I highly recommend.
38. The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Read it. Check.