This is a list (in no particular order) of books I read this the past year. I read some simply because I wanted to, others were specifically for ministry and discipleship purposes, and therefore, I read a few twice.
The Trellis and the Vine Colin Marshall and Tony Payne
This is a great ministry resource that shows the priority of discipleship and leadership training in local churches. Every Christian is a disciple maker.
Portrait of Calvin T.H.L Parker
This is a brief and simple biography of John Calvin. Originally published in 1954, this is a good introduction.
He Is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World Albert Mohler
Mohler provides a faithful and compelling work on the necessity of expository, Christ-centered preaching. Considering the cultural landscape, this is a good read.
Don’t Call it a Comeback: The Old Faith for a New Day ed. Kevin DeYoung
Thabiti Anyabwile, Tim Challies, Russell Moore, Justin Taylor, and Andy Naselli are among the contributors to this book edited by Kevin DeYoung. I read this with three guys in their early twenties and found it to be a great introduction to evangelical doctrine and engagement with the world.
The Glory of Christ John Owen
I read (most) of this with the same group of guys. This was a re-read for me and I love the first half of the book. The second half is quite repetitive, but it is well worth the time. This book, maybe more than any other, has raised my affections for Christ.
Piper summarizes the five points of Calvinism very simply. A great starting point if someone really wants to investigate all five points and see how they are interconnected. This is more than just a theological treatise; my soul was enriched as I considered the amazing grace of God to redeem me.
Taking God at His Word Kevin DeYoung
This is one of my favorites of the year. DeYoung provides a clear and understandable read by explaining what the Bible says about itself. I read this with a group of seven young adults and found it to be very helpful. I hope to see it widely used in various discipleship settings.
Let The Nations Be Glad John Piper
This is probably a Piper classic. I started this on a short-term trip walking the St. James Way in Spain this summer. Every Christian must understand God’s global purposes and his working among the nations for his glory. Not an easy read, but a necessary one.
Jonathan Edwards: A Life George Marsen
Most people say this is the greatest Edwards biography available. Surely a huge read, but an enjoyable one.
Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther Roland Bainton
Some have said that Luther is the reformer you would want to have dinner (or a beer) with, simply because he is the liveliest of them all. He is such an intriguing figure and even if you don’t arrive at all of his theological conclusions he is an amazing person. I even picked up an edition of Table Talk while reading this.
Big God Orlando Saer
This is one of the books on this I could see passing out the most. Saer helps answer questions we all have: “If God is sovereign then why Pray, Evangelize, Suffer, and Make Decisions?” This is a very practical read and the chapter on decision making is worth the book because it is the only place I have seen it addressed.
The Transforming Power of the Gospel Jerry Bridges
Believe it or not, this is one of the only books by Bridges I have read (I repent). Gospel-transformation is still abuzz and I know some people are worn out by the emphasis, however, it is still necessary. Along with The Glory of Christ, my affections for Jesus were raised by this book because of how the Spirit works in our hearts to make us likes Jesus.
A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge
I did not soak up every page of this, but there were times I found myself saying “Come on Lord, do that again.” It is amazing to see how God has worked in the past to call and redeem people for himself. The best part about this book is that it stirred me to pray for revival.
What is Biblical Theology? James Hamilton Jr.
For anyone looking to understand biblical theology, this is a good place to start. We are reading this as a pastoral staff and it has sparked good discussion. His examples are helpful, but readers may wonder how they can make these connections themselves; despite that, still a good book.
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption Laura Hillenbrand
There are only a few books I have ever read that I could not put down. My wife even caught me reading this while brushing my teeth before bed. Of course the movie is out, but I wanted to read the book first. Seriously, you won’t be able to stop.
What is the Gospel? Greg Gilbert
Gilbert is not writing anything new and that is what makes this a great book. He follows the God, Man, Christ, Response order and his chapter on the response we should have to the gospel is spot on because we so often miss what repentance and faith actually look like. I plan to read this with a group this coming year and I hope to see many in my church reading this with others as a tool for gospel witness.
Well, that’s that. I hope to expand this list by a half-dozen or so next year. I would also like to read a couple that really challenge my thinking and even one that makes me angry.
Here’s to 2015.