This post is intended to share the books I read this past year. I read a lot by some people’s standards. But then again, I know quite a few people who read more, in some cases considerably more, than I do. Either way, before you see my list of books I thought I would share a few reasons why I intentionally read as much as I do.
- I have a big appetite. That is, I really desire to read a lot of books. It doesn’t feel like work when I read and I often find myself thinking about the next book I will open up. I attribute this to God. It seems to me that this is yet another gracious work of his in my life. I didn’t wake up one day and resolve to become a prolific reader; it just happened. I’m thankful for this desire to read and I take no credit for it.
- The second reason is aptly summed up with these words from puritan John Flavel, “And even for you that are enlightened in this knowledge [of Jesus], how little do you know of Jesus Christ, in comparison of what you might have known of him.” After many years of minimal reading about all things pertaining to the Christian faith in general, and Jesus in particular, I have a burden (I use that word in a positive sense) to “catch up.” What might I have known about him had I pursued knowledge of Him in a more urgent way since I came to faith in Him?
- The last reason (for this post anyways) pertains to one way in which I am very intentional about my sanctification–growth in godliness–and my mortification–putting sin to death; I read to replace other less profitable practices. I quickly found out that if you read a lot of books you don’t have time for hours of surfing channels or websites. I probably still surf the web and Netflix more than I should, but reading theological books keeps my mind and heart occupied with things that Jonathan Edwards says “are of superlative excellency, and are [so] worthy that all should make a business of endeavouring to grow in the knowledge of”.
I’m hungry to read. I have a lot of catching up to do. I read to fight and to grow. Those are a few important reasons why I read as much as I do. Now, one more brief delay before getting on to the list. It is necessary for me to give a caveat in regards to the number of books I read this year. It is not as much reading as it seems. I read quite a few short books this year. Though the total number of books is more than I have read the past couple of years, the actual word count may well be less than other years. Enough said. Here are the 50 books I read in 2016:
- The End for which God Created the World by Jonathan Edwards
- Philippians: A Mentor Commentary by Matthew Harmon
- Sacred Rhetoric by R. L. Dabney
- Church in Hard Places by Mez McConnell and Mike McKinley
- The Things of Earth by Joe Rigney
- What's Best Next by Matt Perman
- The Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne
- When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey
- God's Kingdom through God's Covenants by Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum
- On Being a Pastor by Derek J. Prime and Alistair Begg
- Risen by Steven D. Mathewson
- Communion with God by John Owen
- Sounds from Heaven by Colin and Mary Peckham
- To Live is Christ by Matt Chandler and Jared Wilson
- The Grand Design by Gavin Peacock and Owen Strachan
- Preaching by Timothy Keller
- Proclaiming Jesus by Tony Merida
- A Peculiar Glory by John Piper
- The Whole Christ by Sinclair Ferguson
- Discipling by Mark Dever
- Theology and Practice of Mission ed. B. R. Ashford
- A Camraderie of Confidence by John Piper
- Marks of the Messenger by J. Mack Stiles
- Understanding the Great Commission by Mark Dever
- Understanding Baptism by Bobby Jamieson
- The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper
- Apostolic Church Planting by J. D. Payne
- Choose the Life by Bill Hull
- Are We Together? by R. C. Sproul
- How to Read the Psalms by Tremper Longman III
- The Shape and Shaping of the Psalter ed. by J. Clinton McCann
- Interpreting the Psalms by Mark D. Futato
- Thoughts for Young Men by J. C. Ryle
- Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield
- The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes
- The Atonement of Christ by Francis Turrettin
- Church Planting Is for Wimps by Mike McKinley
- The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever
- What Does God Want of Us Anyway? by Mark Dever
- Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller
- Do More Better by Tim Challies
- Church Elders by Jeramie Rinne
- Can I Smoke Pot? by Tom Breeden and Mark Ward
- The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life by Dale Ralph Davis
- Making All Things New by Benjamin L. Gladd and Matthew S. Harmon
- Understanding Church Discipline by Jonathan Leeman
- Glory in the Face by Mike Wilkins
- Understanding Church Leadership by Mark Dever
- Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray
- Faith Alone by Thomas Schreiner
I would like to call attention to five of the books on this list and one of the authors. The following five books were books that I might label the top books of 2016. I say “might” because there are books, such as Edwards’ The End for which God Created the World or Murray’s Redemption Accomplished and Applied which are not in my “top 5” mainly because they are re-reads. But books like those, and others on the list, are perennial top books. Nevertheless, here are in no particular order my top 5 books of 2016:
1) Philippians: A Mentor Commentary by Matthew Harmon – an incredibly helpful and accessible commentary which profited me greatly as I preached through Philippians.
2) Risen by Steven D. Mathewson – the subtitle of this books says it all; “50 Reasons Why the Resurrection Changes Everything.”
3) A Peculiar Glory by John Piper – I will be re-reading this book this year. A very profound and atypical explanation of why the Scriptures can and should be believed.
4) The Whole Christ by Sinclair Ferguson – this is another book I will re-read this year. It addresses the issue of a believer’s assurance. I need this for pastoral reasons; we all need it for personal reasons.
5) Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller – a thorough and thoughtful dealing with the subject. This is one I will recommend to unbelievers if they are serious about understanding Christianity’s approach to the topic.
Finally, one author bears mentioning. I confess to bias in this choice but that can’t be helped because the author is such a fantastic guy. I bestow upon the author of Glory in the Face the label “top author of 2016.” And that prestigious title holder is Pastor Mike Wilkins. The book is a wonderful accomplishment and a helpful and instructive work that I recommend with admiration.
For any that would like to share their list of books from 2016, I’d love to see them in the comments. Or, alternatively, you could share with me your top books of 2016. What have you been reading?