My Top Books–Picks from 2013

Posted: December 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

BooksIt is that time of year when all the bloggers decide it is a good idea to share their favorite books of the year. The idea is to give the person who visits their blog an inside look at what books the blogger has found most exciting, useful, and would consequently recommend. Since I am in seminary, most my reading revolves around the classes I take. Yet, attending a seminary gives the student the chance to engage in helpful, and exciting, reading. I offer in this post the books that I have most enjoyed in 2013 (in no particular order).

1. What is Biblical Theology–this little gem from Dr. Jim Hamilton is a recent read but probably my favorite read for 2013. I could not put the book down once I started it. Dr. Hamilton is a good guide in understanding the storyline of Scripture and the book leads you to worship!

2. What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About–this book is edited by Dr. Jason DeRouchie. As a first year seminary student I had the chance to work through the book for his OT survey courses. I now serve as his teaching assistant and worked through the entire book once again in order to produce supplemental material to be sold in the future with the book. The book follows the Jewish ordering of the Scriptures (TaNaK) and sees the entire OT through the lens of Christ’s first advent.

3. Called to the Ministry–Edmund Clowney writes a short but practically helpful book on evaluating the call to ministry. In discussions on calling, much can get lost in the debate surrounding subjectivism and objectivism. Clowney keeps the discussion balanced and offers a sure-footed way forward in discerning the call to ministry.

4. Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary–this is not a light weight book. It is large, technical, and thorough. Yet, Hoehner has done more for helping me understand the book of Ephesians than any other author. I would highly recommend the resource to anyone that wants to dive into the deep waters of Ephesians.

5. The Jesus You Can’t Ignore–John MacArthur is standard reading for me. I do not go long without picking up something he has written and diving in. This book, as always, is to the point. This book offers solid help as we try to walk as Jesus walked in the midst of a Christless culture.

6. Dominion and Dynasty–Dempster does a fantastic job of helping us read the OT and follow the storyline. Combined with DeRouchie’s book mentioned above, this work would go along way in helping readers grasp the way the OT fits together and points to Jesus.

7. Does God Desire All to Be Saved–John Piper, as usual, takes a tough and controversial issue and takes us to the Bible to see how the issue is resolved. In this book, Piper takes up the question of whether or not God desires all people to be saved. With an excellent discussion of the two-wills of God, Piper shows how the Calvinistic understanding of this question is the most biblically defensible position.

8. Why I am Not a Calvinist–this summer I had the chance to teach a course on the Calvinistic understanding of salvation. In prep, I read this book. Though I disagree with Roger Olson (I’m obviously a Calvinist), I did find that he presents a thorough evaluation and critique of Calvinism. Olson is a respected theologian and worth reading. He raises good questions and will challenge the reformed reader to know why he believes what he claims to believe. I put this book on the list because it helped sharpen me, while at the same time reassuring me that Calvinism is biblical. As a practice, reading those you disagree with is worth the time and effort.

9. Stop Loving the World–this is a book from the Puritan William Greenhill (1591-1671). A powerful little book that casts the eyes of the reader to the world that is to come. This world is not our home; we seek a city that is to come; don’t fall in love with a world that will one day pass away. Instead, fall in love with the world, and its King, that is to come.

10. Jesus Christ the Man–Bruce Ware has written a succinct and helpful book that highlights the humanity of Jesus. So often the defense of the divinity of Jesus can obscure the reality that Jesus took on flesh and was a true man. He was not 90 % God and 10% man. He was 100% God and 100% man. Two natures dwelling in one person. That sounds complex. And it is. Ware helps us see how the two hold together. This book was a summer read and I hope to return to it again and again.

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