This year was a record year for the reading of books. I didn’t keep count of the books, but I estimate it was around 50 books. About 70% of my reading is in the area of theology, church history and Christian biographies (with a the majority being theology.) The other 30% are education books, general history, and fiction.
Here are my top 10 books in no particular order. Most were not published this year, but I just finally got around to reading them.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
The true story of how Louie Zamperini went from a kid in trouble with the law to an Olympian to being stranded in the middle of the Pacific during WW2 to being captured and tortured in a POW camp, and by the grace of God being born again and become a missionary to his captors in Japan. I just started this book yesterday based on a review by Tim Challies and kept turning pages last night until the wee hours of the morning. While I’ve not yet finished it, the books has being acclaimed by all, currently holding #2 on the NY Times Bestseller list.
On the Incarnation by Athanasius
A short theological book which covers the topics of Christ’s birth, the reason God sent his Son, and other important issues. While written over 1600 years ago, this modern translation is recommended as one of the best. This book is only around 100 pages, not overly technical and is a must read for every Christian. The Introduction by C.S. Lewis alone, which is often highly recommended, is worth the price of the book.
Spurgeon by Arnold Dallimore
There are many great biographies of Spurgeon, but this one was exceptional and I consumed it in only 3 days while on vacation. The things Spurgeon accomplished for the Kingdom are breathtaking: an orphanage, alms house for widows, a megachurch with true doctrine (rare in modern times), and became such a great expositor that he is known today as the ‘Prince of Preachers’.
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson
I read this book to the kids last month and they absolutely loved it. My 6-yr old son, who usually doesn’t pay attention during reading time, sits on the edge of his bed, listening to every word. It’s clean fantasy story about three kids who forced to run from a large evil empire of snake-like men. While not in the same league as Narnia or Tolkien, it is good clean fun. Probably for 13 and up if read alone because Peterson vividly describes a few battles scenes. But if read aloud by parents is good for all ages. This is the first of what will be a trilogy, the second of which is my next book on the list.
North or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson
The second in the Wingfeather Saga Triligoy, this continues the story of three Igiby children as they are forced to head north into the frozen Ice Praires. We are currently in the middle of reading this one and loving it. Like the first in the (trilogy mentioned above ) this book is action-packed with good morals and references to “prayers to the Maker”, etc. Highly recommended for family read alouds.
Always wanted to read through the whole Bible in a year? My wife and I went through this book daily in 2010 and finally accomplished that goal. But most importantly we learned a ton in the process. Written by one of the foremost Bible scholars, this book takes you through the 365-day M’Cheyne Bible-reading schedule. This reading plan takes you through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice in a year. Carson’s daily meditations (meatier than a devotional) are short commentaries on one of the four readings for the day. I plan to start volume 2 of this set on Jan 1, 2011 and go through the Bible again this year.
Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith by Greg Bahnsen, ed. by Robert R. Booth
Bahnsen was one of the best, modern defenders of the faith. This book is a compilation of some of his best materials, including the very highly acclaimed appendix, which is an exposition on Acts 17 regarding the method Paul used at the Areopagus. While this volume is a bit more technical than Frame’s introduction below, it is readable by almost every adult Christian. Section three is a great description of how to defend the faith, and the last section provides reponses to many of the questions atheist throw out, like “If God is good, where did evil come from?”
Apologetics to the Glory of God: An Introduction by John M. Frame
A great introduction to Christian apologetics (defending the faith.) Frame is a great teacher and everything I’ve read so far from him is very well thought out. Frame takes you through the best method of defending your faith and gives a few great examples of how to use this technique. I plan to have my kids read this one in their teenage years since it will provide a good foundation evangelism and to help wit the attacks against Christianity.
Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper
Anything written by John Piper is worth reading. This is one of his smaller, more recent works, but it’s packed with valuable content. It’s really a how-to-manual (based on Scripture) that teaches you how to live for Christ. Piper doesn’t mess around and will tell you like it is, calling you out on the idols you are wasting your time on. If you’ve ever wondered how to truly live your life for Christ, this book is for you. If you’re a Christian, you and your children should read this book.
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem
Have you ever wonder who should govern the church, one pastor, a denomination or a plurality of elders? Why are there different views on baptism, the Lord’s Supper, God’s sovereignty, creation and more? Grudem uses every day common language and address these subjects. While you may not sit down and read this 1000 page tome straight through, it is one of the best Christian reference books you can have. I was introduced to it in a Sunday School class at my church and the Lord used it to fan a flame of deep theological study. And if you don’t think theology is a big deal, or you think theology is “not biblical”, you needed this book yesterday.