Top 7 Theological/Christian Books I Read in 2011
7. Anthony A. Hoekema, Created in God’s Image. This was a required book for a seminary class I took on the doctrine of man and sin. Most required reading is somewhat tedious and difficult to wade through, but Hoekema’s was refreshingly easy to read. He does a great job of explaining what it means to be created in the image of God, in His likeness.
6. Leland Ryken, Realms of Gold: The Classics in Christian Perspective. After all the quotes from Ryken’s book in my #1 pick below, I had to buy this one. Ryken encourages Christians to read some of the classic works of literature which include Homer, Shakespeare, Milton, Dickens and Tolstoy just to name a few. Sadly, I had not read any of the books Ryken recommends, except Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. The good thing is this provides me a good reading list for next year.
5. John Piper, Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God. Piper is one of my favorite authors on the topic of theology. Unfortunately, anti-intellectualism is a common thread in modern Christianity, but in Think Piper makes a Biblical argument showing why Christians should think deeply and use our minds to love the Lord our God. Piper’s exposition of the Scripture verses that challenge his argument (2 Cor. 10:4-5; Luke 10:17-24; 1 Cor. 1:20-24) are worth the price of the book.
4. John MacArthur, Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ. I actually read this book twice in 2011, once on a flight to the Shepherd’s Conference and the other for a Sunday School class this summer. Almost all modern English translations of the Bible have intentionally left out the word “slave”, even though “slave” best fits the context of the Greek word doulos. MacArthur explains why this has occurred and develops the understanding of what it means to be a slave of Christ.
3. Andreas J. Kostenberger and David W. Jones, God, Marriage, and Family (Second Edition): Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation. This book came highly recommended by many pastors and theologians throughout the blogosphere. When the second edition came out in 2010 I had to grab it. I decided to teach through God, Family and Marriage in a Sunday School class for Young Marrieds and it would be an understatement to say it has literally changed marriages for the better. A must have reference book for any Christian.
2. Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within: Straight Talk about the Power and Defeat of Sin. Lundgaard gives a step-by-step process to kill sin in a believer’s life. He draws from two of John Owen’s books Indwelling Sin and The Mortification of Sin. This little book, only 150 pages including study questions, is a must read for any Christian. It will help you examine your own sin and give you some excellent tools to defeat it.
1. Tony Renke, Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books. Lit is my favorite book of the year, mainly because it is a book on reading books (!) and has helped me to read even more than I realized I could. This book will be required for my homeschooling children in their teenage years. Half of it deals with reading the Bible and a theology of reading books in general. The second half gives some helpful tips on how to prioritize your reading list, how to make more time to read, and writing/making notes in your books. Renke shows how he is able to read so many books in a year, and still retain what he learns from each of them. Chapter 14 on How Parents and Pastors Can Ignite in Others a Love for Book Reading was especially helpful for the practical application of how to get others reading more.
Books Started in December Which Will Likely Make Next Year’s Top 10
1. Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
2. Tedd Tripp, Shepherding a Child’s Heart
3. Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson, Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus