My Book Recommendations from 2016December 29, 2016
It’s hard to believe the year is soon to end. At the time of this writing, there is approximately 48 hours left, which means 8712 hours have come and gone. Many of those hours have been allotted to books, many books. Good books, great books, mediocre books, and awful books…books galore fill my desk, bedside, office, bathroom, and just about any other conceivable spot.
I enjoy reading the book recommendations of others; equally I enjoy sharing what I have read throughout the year as well. I always preface the list with a cautious admonition: With much reading comes the need for much discernment and wisdom. It’s imperative to use caution, especially the minister of God, when you pick up a book, or as Albert Mohler contends, “Christian leaders must learn to read with discernment drawn from our deepest convictions. Test everything you read by viewing it through the lens of biblical truth and your convictions. Know that your most faithful and productive thinking will often come as you are reading from an author with whom you disagree, even as you apply critical thinking and discernment. Those who lead with conviction must read with conviction.”
With that being said, here is my list of favorite books for 2016, in no particular order this year:
(I have included a link to each title if you are interested in more information)
A Heart for God by Sinclair Ferguson
I’ve had many commentaries by Ferguson in my library for years, but have recently been turned on to his Christian living resources. He has a fresh combination of doctrine and practicality in his style. This book contends that the only way a believer can truly have a heart for God is if he has the right knowledge of Who God is; thus, most of the book deals with the attributes and characteristics of God.
The Root of Righteousness by A.W. Tozer
If you need a daily dose of Tozer, this book is for you. The chapters are short, reading more like a devotional. It is a compilation of various articles and excerpts from his writings. The premise of the book is a rebuke against the believer who only looks at the “fruit” without paying any attention to the “root.” If you like Tozer, and you haven’t read this older volume, you will enjoy this read.
The Blessings of Humility by Jerry Bridges
Jerry Bridges passed away in March of 2016. Bridges is one of my favorites. This title accentuates his style and demeanor. The meekness of Bridges comes through in every book that I have read in his collection. Though “The Blessings of Humility” is not on par with some of his classics (The Disciplines of Grace, and The Pursuit of Holiness), it is still a great read, especially in a generation that prides itself on pride.
Heartbeats of the Holy by Keith Knauss
I absolutely love this book. I’ve had it on my shelf for years and never got around to reading it. It is written with great conviction and truth. It is aimed toward all ministers, especially pastors, calling our attention to the necessity of personal holiness and daily integrity. My good friends from Faith Baptist Publications printed the volume that I have. Every preacher needs a copy of this book.
The Reason for God by Timothy Keller
Timothy Keller addresses the intellectual antagonisms of Christianity in this volume. He concisely lays out various arguments that the secular world has against Christianity, and then precisely refutes their claims. I don’t agree with every theological slant that Keller has, but this is a great apologetic book for someone who is seeking to answer the questions of the skeptic.
Making Home Work by Paul Chappell
I received this book in the mail as a gift from Pastor Chappell, and I put it aside for several months. I wish I had read it sooner. This book was probably the most helpful and practical book I read all year long. The burden and conviction of Chappell’s heart is evident as he deals with issues our homes are facing. Not only does he expound upon problems, he considerately offers solutions, thus giving his reader Home Work.
Share Jesus Without Fear by William Fay
I do not know much about this author except for his testimony that was included in the appendix. Fay was a notorious mafia man who owned a prostitution house until he was caught up in a police sting. He came to know Christ and has since been using his testimony to lead others to the Lord. His methods are practical and clearly described. The author seems to have a sincere desire to help others share their faith. Many books in this category are typically plagued with easy-believism principles; I did not pick up on that tone in this volume.
Communion with God by John Owen
Puritan writer, John Owen, draws the reader to the exaltation, glory, and person of Jesus Christ in this classic. Though the book was written in the 1600’s, it reads with much clarity and precision regarding the church’s need to magnify Christ. The premise of the book is really the premise of New Testament Christianity: You can only have Communion with God through His Son.
Awe by Paul Tripp
Last year I read, Dangerous Calling by Tripp, and was greatly helped and encouraged. His book, Awe, though beneficial and worth my time, was not as convicting. The idea behind Awe is that, by in large, the modern believer has replaced his awe of God with other material, emotional, and even spiritual things. The heart of the book can be found in this one line from the first chapter, “Misplaced awe keeps us perennially dissatisfied.” The proceeding chapters deal with various contenders for our “awe.”
Membership Matters by Chuck Lawless
This was a very practical book for me. Due to growth, our church is working on various assimilation issues. This book gives biblical and practical validity for church membership and further places an emphasis on responsibilities and privileges of joining a New Testament, local church. Initially it may seem to be a book for the clergy, but the truth is, every believer would benefit himself and the church he attends if he read this volume.
The Fullness of Christ by D. Stuart Briscoe
Why haven’t I read this book before now!?. Briscoe must have been overwhelmed with Christ’s fullness when he penned down this book. There were times during the course of my reading when I had to put the book aside and just relish in the glory of Christ. Some of the truths he brought home were very illuminating and joyful to my soul. A definite must-read!