What a year! With all the joys that come with the birth of my son and the trials regarding his health this year, I am so thankful for the way that God has shown me his grace in the books that I have had the privilege of reading either that were sent to me for review, given as gifts, or ones that have been sitting on the shelf for some time. I am constantly surprised at how God show himself to me through the books that he offers to me just when I need them.
Of the 53 books I have read this year, I wanted to share the ones that have meant the most to me. Perhaps they would make great Christmas gifts for people in your life or you may find that they mean something to you as they did for me.
Here, then, are my top 3 picks of the year, followed by some honorable mentions:
Holiness by Grace
by Brian Chapell
This was a fantastic book! I read this in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit when my son was under sedation for days and on full ventilation after his trachostemy surgery. Dr. Chapell tells a moving story about a mother whose child turned blue during the baby’s first feeding after birth. It was a great comfort to me in a time where I was completely helpless to do anything for my son, just as each of us are helpless to do anything that is truly pleasing to God, apart from the finished work of Christ. Holiness by Grace is about how not only are we saved by grace, but we are perfected and sanctified by Christ’s work on our behalf.
Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ
by John MacArthur
John MacArthur sets a flood light on the term doulos that most Bible translations render “servant” and talks about what the more accurate translation, “slave,” says about our life in Christ and about the amazing work that God did through Christ. As slaves to sin, we are literally purchased to be slaves of Christ. Yet in God’s graciousness he not only makes us his slaves, but then adopts us as his sons and daughters, bringing his slaves into full inheritance in his riches. This is a must read!
Tempted and Tried
by Russell D. Moore
I cannot speak more highly of this book. Dr. Moore does an impressive job as he looks at the temptation of Christ and, not only how monumental this microcosm was in terms of Christ’s own life, but he relates that temptation to our own and to how in resisting Satan’s temptations, Christ proved himself as the righteous Son of God who alone was able to accomplish our redemption and impute that righteousness to us. An excellent book for anyone who either wants a deeper understanding of the gospel of Christ or who is in the throws of temptation themselves.
Other noteworthy books published this year:
- Surprised by Grace by Tullian Tchvidjian
- Why God Won’t Go Away: Is the New Atheism Running on Empty? by Alister McGrath
- How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home by Derek Thomas
Excellent books published in previous years (but read by me this year):
- Introducing Covenant Theology by Michael Horton
- Hunger for God by John Piper
- The Holiness of God by RC Sproul
- In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel-Centered Life by Sinclair Ferguson