In 2008 I started tracking my annual reading and setting a goal of reading 52 books each year. I knew I wasn’t reading as much I wanted to and the goal helped motivate me to make better use of my time. Of the 54 books I read in 2013, here is my totally subjective list of the top 10 books that I enjoyed or benefited from the most. Or you can my top 10 from 2012 or 2011.
1. Eric Metaxes, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
I’ve admired Bonhoeffer since I was a teenager. Metaxes is an excellent storyteller and this biography is a compelling read.
2. N.D. Wilson, Death by Living: Life is Meant to Be Spent
Wilson is one of my favourite writers and this book did not disappoint. A poetic call to spend your life for something that matters.
3. Jared Wilson, The Pastor’s Justification
Jared Wilson makes my top 10 for the third straight year. I found this reflection on pastoral ministry to be convicting, liberating and encouraging. A worthwhile read for any pastor.
4. Alister McGrath, CS Lewis – A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
This is a well researched and well written biography of one of the most interesting theological figures of the 20th century. I learned so much about Lewis, his relationships, and the context of his writings that I was unaware of.
5. Brother Andrew & Al Janssen, Secret Believers: What Happens When Muslims Believe in Christ
I read this in advance of my trip to the Middle East and found it a powerful story. And then I was astounded as I got to know brothers who told similar stories of their lives.
6. John Piper, Bloodlines: Race, Cross and the Christian
Piper shares his own story of growing up in the segregated south, outlines the complicated problems of racism in America and points to the gospel as the only ultimate hope for ethnic harmony.
7. Eric Metaxes, Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery
Before he wrote Bonhoeffer, Metaxes’ first biography was of Wilberforce the evangelical politician and activist who out of love for God devoted his live to the end of the slave trade. Metaxes is such a compelling storyteller.
8. Carl Trueman, Fools Rush in Where Monkeys Fear to Tread: Taking Aim at Everyone
In this collection of essays, Trueman gives an insightful, probing and humorous look at church and culture.
9. Thomas Schreiner, Galatians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)
I purchase and read a lot of commentaries for my preaching, this is the only one that I’ve every enjoyed so much that I felt compelled to contact and thank the author. An excellent work.
10. R.C. Sproul, Chosen by God
This classic text is a helpful explanation of the biblical teaching on God’s election.
No Tim Keller?!?!?
This is the first year in many that a Tim Keller book (or two) haven’t been near the top of this list. Keller did produce two books this year, as he does most years, so what gives? I read Center Church at the end of last year and it topped my list. I finished Every Good Endeavor in January, but didn’t find it terribly helpful. Keller published Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering in October. I’m about two thirds through it and its excellent. I haven’t yet started Encounters with Jesus, which released at the end of November. So, I’m sure he’ll make a return.
Happy reading everyone!