Everyone seems to be making lists of their favourite reads of the first 6 months of 2019. I’m jumping on the bandwagon with this post to share my top 5 list of Christian books I read between January and June in the year of our Lord 2019. In those months I’ve read somewhere around 40 books total (including children’s books and books I have not reviewed). Of those 40, these are the ones that have made the biggest positive impression on me. Number one on the list was a fairly obvious choice for me, but the others were somewhat hard to rank. They’re all excellent books (including my honourable mentions) that I have benefited from in some way, so I almost feel bad giving them rankings. Nonetheless, my favourites are as follows.
In the market for a challenging read? You may enjoy a particularly controversial book on the Old Testament. Tremper Longman III explores 4 big controversies surrounding the Old Testament: whether evolution is truly contradicted by Genesis, the topic of sexuality, whether the Old Testament should be taken as literal history, and the violence that seems so rampant in its pages. There’s a lot that may challenge your view, maybe you’ll learn more about your view through reading this, or it may be that you find a greater understanding of opposing viewpoints. Either way, it is a well-written and well-researched, excellent book.
Everybody I’ve spoken with about it have all said at some point they have struggled with what and how to pray. This wide-spread difficulty probably contributes something to the vast amount of literature devoted to the topic of prayer. Alistair Begg adds his voice these works in Pray Big. While not a lengthy exploration of doctrine or an exhaustive list of how and what to pray, this short work equips readers to pray for bigger things. Begg is very clear that everything that matters may be brought before God, but that we must bring before God the things that matter most. I’ve personally benefited from this book in a variety of ways, including remembering to be less materialistic in my prayer, and be more spiritually-minded.
Humble Calvinism is a much needed book on the doctrines of grace summed up in the acronym TULIP. Humility is not a word we often associate with Calvinists and this is not the way it ought to be. J. A. Medders gracefully brings to our attention the lack of humility sometimes exhibited by Calvinists, but this is far from a rant against Calvinism or Calvinists. Medders, himself a Calvinist, maintains the grace-filled tone of a pastor who genuinely desires that the reader benefit throughout the book. Readers will learn not only the basic head knowledge of TULIP, but also the grace and importance of what these doctrines should do when they reach the heart. If I could get a copy of this into the hands of every Calvinist, I would.
#2 Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart: Discovering the Beauty and Freedom of God-Defined Sexuality
Sexual sin is a topic often reserved for men’s groups and is seldom discussed among women. Unfortunately, a lot of times the fact that women struggle with sexual sin is overlooked in favour of lighter topics that don’t deal with such a serious issue. Easily one of the most uncomfortable books I’ve ever read is Sex, Purity and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart. Authors Bethany Beal and Kristen Clark share from their own experience and guide the readers through a biblical and practical understanding of God-defined sexuality and overcoming sinful misuses of it.
I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s one of the most accessible and excellent books on theology proper or the doctrine of God. There are books that I enjoy casually, and then there are books that I simply cannot get enough of. None Greater falls in this latter category. It’s written with the intention of being accessible to the layman and it does so excellently while at the same time conveying deep truths about who God is. Matthew Barrett teaches readers rich historic doctrinal truths in a way that will both contribute to one’s knowledge of the One they worship and inspire them to worship in awe of Him.
Full reviews of all of these books can be found here.
I noticed after selecting these titles to post here that all 5 books come from the same 2 publishers: Baker Books and the Good Book Company. This was unintentional, but it has been a good few months for these publishers. Pray Big and Humble Calvinism are the first two books I’ve reviewed from the Good Book Company, but I look forward to reviewing from them more often. They’ve been pleasant in getting review copies out to me and I am happy to have discovered another publisher with a wide range of theologically solid work. Baker, I have been a reviewer for since early on and actually have a post scheduled soon explaining why I enjoy being a blogger for them, so keep an eye out for that!
What have you read over the last 6 months? Let me know your favourites in the comments!