Tag Archive for 'Christian books'

Biggest Book Blog Post Ever–Christian Books Read in 2017

By biggest, I mean on this blog. I read far more books in 2017 than I have in any other year. In case you’d like to see all of what I’ve read, you can find them at Good Reads journey in books for 2017. I never, ever thought I’d be someone who would read a book a week (although many of them were short). I only mention this because I had a very bad reading drought–as far as books outside the Bible–around the first half of 2016. I was rather bewildered and prayed quite a bit about it. A wise person told me that God sometimes prunes the good things in our lives (John 15:2b). It showed me how much God is in control of even our desires for what we like to do in our leisure time. Spending more time reading is part of the reason I’ve been blogging less.

I often have ‘the year of…’. This year was the year of Puritans, in addition to fiction, and reading books for the second or third time. I also spent time on learning about speed reading and comprehension/concentration, which helped with the amount of books read, (somewhat–I didn’t get that fast, and you don’t want to speed-read Puritans) and some memory type stuff, along with mind mapping.

Here are some highlights, although I’ll mention all of the Puritan books because every one of them was great:

Puritan Books

I had a strong interest in the Puritans a few years ago; at first I think I liked the idea of them as much as anything else. I got just a little tired and needed a break from them. Then after reading Perkins, I got to appreciate them so much more. I think they have become a permanent staple.

  • The Works of William Perkins, Volume 1 – This was the best book of the year–most of it an exposition of the Sermon on the Mount.
  • A Treatise of Self-denial by Thomas Manton – This is not a very popular subject (!) but for me it’s the second best book of the year.
  • The Grace and Duty of Being Spiritually Minded by John Owen – I think this is underrated.
  • The Person of Christ by John Owen – This was difficult to read but had some deep content that was great material for praise and wonder.
  • Sacred Dissertations on the Lords Prayer by Herman Witsius – He’s not technically a Puritan, but Dutch Further Reformer is close enough. This is so far my favorite of the books I’ve read on this subject. I read the original facsimile on my tablet, which is pretty much all you’ll get in any printed book.
  • The Soul’s Conflict with Itself and Victory Over Itself by Faith by Richard Sibbes – This was the most difficult book to read. It’s within Volume 1 of his works. I’ll be reading more from that. This was one of the books that got D. Martin Lloyd-Jones interested in the Puritans. He says that it was very helpful for him and I can see why.
  • The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod by Thomas Brooks – God used this in a major way.
  • The Vanity of Thoughts by Thomas Goodwin – An excellent and unusually book on our thought life, but not enough on how to deal with them.
  • Meet the Puritans by Joel R. Beeke – I didn’t read all 900 pages, but this really got me straightened out on their history and some of who’s who. (Borrowed)

Contemporary Christian Fiction

I was going to read more of this and watch a little less TV. I read four fiction books and they were a disappointment. Since I was so unfamiliar with the subject, I spent a lot of time looking at books and reviews. It wasn’t worth it. I might read a couple more in 2018. I’d like to go old school and try Dostoyevsky. In any case, I’m watching less TV.

Reading Books for the Second Time

  • Knowing God by J.I. Packer – I can see how much this influenced me when I first read it around xxxx decade(s) ago.
  • In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life by Sinclair B. Ferguson
  • The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer – This is a good spiritual barometer for me, even if I don’t agree with some of his theology.
  • A Place for Weakness: Preparing Yourself for Suffering by Michael S. Horton
  • All Things for Good by Thomas Watson is a book what I would recommend for reading a Puritan for the first time if anyone has trouble with the old English. The paperback edition is inexpensive and the ebook is free.

I would like to continue re-reading more of the good books I already have, which is very beneficial.

Introductory Biblical Theology

  • From Creation to New Creation by Tim Chester
  • What Is Biblical Theology? by James M. Hamilton Jr.

I plan to continue reading this subject in 2018. These books are very helpful.

I also read two excellent books each by Carl Trueman and Timothy Keller. Some people I follow on Twitter have been poking fun of Keller’s flowery language, among other things, but I really liked his books on Prayer and Suffering. Below is a photo of a book signed by Carl Trueman that a pastor friend of mine had him sign when he was at a conference. This was really nice since I’m not able to attend them, and I’m a fan of the fellow curmudgeon. The book was an excellent introduction to Luther’s theology, even if some of it was a bit over my head. He makes history relevant. I also borrowed Fool’s Rush In Where Monkeys Fear To Tread. This is a fun book. If I owned it, there would be highlighting all over it; if it were digital, you would have seen a lot of quotes here.

Carl Trueman Signature

I could go on, but I better stop there. I didn’t take the time to link the books or insert cover art (do you blame me?). If you’d like to search for any, you can use my Amazon affiliate link. I’d also recommend Reformation Heritage Books, Westminster Books, and also searching on Monergism for free e-books, which is where I’ve gotten many of the Puritan books that I read.

This post might be for my own benefit more than anything else. I commend you if you made it all the way here.

Been Reading

I’ve been in a big book reading slump. Bible reading is fine, and maybe it’s partly because I’ve been reading more of the Bible. But some of it is spiritual, and it’s a long complicated story that I don’t fully understand myself. I’m waiting for God to bring this back for me. Until then, I force myself to read just a little each day. Did you know that ten minutes of reading a day can amount to about 12 average length paperbacks in a year?


The most recent book I read is What Is Biblical Theology? – A Guide to the Bible's Story, Symbolism, and Patterns by James M. Hamilton Jr.

This is great primer for the subject and the subtitle. I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now, which is why I want to mention it. I thought the end of the book veered a little off course but it’s a very good basic book on these concepts. Much of the book deals with Eden and exodus. There is a good bibliography at the end, which is nice because the book left me wanting more. It’s only 177 pages, so that’s not a complaint. Go to Jennifer Guo’s site for a more in-depth review.

Before that, I read Calvin’s Institutes for the second time. This time I read the 1541 edition, which is Calvin’s third iteration–the last one being is fifth. It was great of course. My reading slump happened halfway through. With some slow reading and skipping a couple of chapters, I made it through. By the way, I very much dislike the publisher’s subtitle of “Calvin’s Own ‘Essentials’ Edition”. It’s not a condensed version of any of his works. It’s just not as long as his final work–with less polemics–although there still was quite a bit.

Right now I’m reading parts of A Commentary on the Psalms: Volume 3 (90-150) by Allen Ross. He has a great portion on Psalm 119 which is my favorite one. This is a review book.

Next up is Hearing God When You Hurt by James Montgomery Boice. I haven’t read a good book on suffering for a while and really need to right now (part of the long story, but many readers are familiar with the general situtation), and I also wanted to see how I like James Montgomery Boice. Each chapter is based on a Psalm.

This was just going to be a short post giving a heads up about the Biblical theology book, but then I felt like writing a little more.

The Obligatory EOY Book Post

This is the time of year that everybody posts their favorite books of the year. I’ll just show you what I read and offer a few comments for anyone who might be interested.

Goodreads | Jeff’s Year in Books

There were very good books read this year. The Crook in the Lot had the most impact on me. Communion with the Triune God was probably the best book.

Mindscape was mediocre for me. It’s really not a bad book though. I just bought into the hype at the time with all of the blurbs by people I like. I don’t think it will be around a long time. How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home was probably better as sermons, but it has good material. Horton’s systematic theology, The Christian Faith, was a whopper. It got too philosophical for me, but it was very good. I should have picked an easier one to read as my first one. I don’t feel a need to read another one anytime soon.

The rest were all very good. I learned a lot. By the way, the edition of Pilgrim’s Progress is a modernized version published by Crossway. Goodreads doesn’t have that in their system.

There will be a review of What the New Testament Authors Really Cared About coming soon.

I just happened to see that My Year in Books thing as I was adding a book to Goodreads, so I thought I’d make a post about it. I would like to read more next year than I did this year, although I’m reading more of the Bible (a post will be forthcoming about that) which takes some time away from reading other books, which is just fine.

Did you have any highlights?

Christian Book Lists from 2014

If you like these lists, here are some that I collected.

14 Best Books of 2014 | Desiring God

The 50 Best Christian Books of 2014 | Monergism

Staff Picks for Favorite Books of 2014 — Grace for Sinners

My Top Books of 2014 | Challies Dot Com

Five Great Christian Books

Top 5 Must Read Books
Recommended By: Terry Delaney, Tim Challies Owen Strachan, Trevin Wax, Timmy Brister

I read the last two which were great, have the first one which I’ve wanted to read very badly forever it seems, have two other books similar to the Spiritual Disciplines book (I wonder how many people that will scare off) and want to acquire the Stott book. I’ve read others of Stott and Sproul that I liked a lot. I think it’s a great list even if I’ve only read two.

Books to read for 2008

If you’re like me and like reading lists of books others are reading:

These aren’t as scholarly as Mike’s but for what it’s worth I thought I would mention mine and see how far I’ve gotten at the end of the year.

  1. Ephesians by O’Brien (finishing as of now)
  2. The Truth of the Cross by Sproul
  3. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians by Fee
  4. Running Scared by Welch
  5. Colossians & Philemon by Lucas
  6. Polishing God’s Monuments by Andrews
  7. 1-2 Thessalonians by Beale (not set on that one yet)
  8. Suffering and the Sovereignty of God by Piper et. all
  9. First and Second Timothy, Titus & Philemon by McGee (not sure about that one but I already own it)
  10. The Epistle to the Hebrews by Bruce (not set on that one)
  11. I Will Follow Thee O God by Bridges
  12. The Letter of James by Moo

To get in some Old Testament I’ve been reading a Psalm a day and will be finishing that in a week. Then will read a chapter of Proverbs a day during May. Then possibly Ecclesiastes and Daniel after that.

This is sort of an update to a previous post. I’ve read five of the ten mentioned there and added some new ones here.

Top Christian Book Lists

Those of you who are into books may find these lists interesting:

Westminster Bookstore Top Ten Books of 2007

Favorite Books I Read In 2007…What About You?Tullian Tchividjian

My Top 7 Books of 2007 – Challies.com

Top Books of 2007 at adoption-through-propitiation (what a great blog name)
Scroll down on that page to find more lists.

Best Christian Books of 2007
Scroll down on that page to find more lists.

For what’s it’s worth, my top five books:

  1. The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine by A.W. Tozer
  2. Knowing God by J.I. Packer
  3. The Lord by Romano Guardini
  4. The Gospel According to Job: An Honest Look at Pain and Doubt from the Life of One Who Lost Everything by Mike Mason
  5. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by David Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Favorite books I read in 2007 (not written in 2007):

  1. Cries of The Heart by Ravi Zacharias
  2. Romans (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) by Thomas Schreiner
  3. 1 Corinthians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) by David Garland
  4. 2 Corinthians (New American Commentary) by David Garland
  5. God on Mute: Engaging the Silence of Unanswered Prayer by Pete Grieg
  6. The Knowledge of the Holy: The Attributes of God: Their Meaning in the Christian Life by A.W. Tozer

Books to read in 2008:

  1. Polishing God’s Monuments: Pillars of Hope for Punishing Times by Jim Andrews
  2. Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges
  3. Suffering and the Sovereignty of God by John Piper et. all
  4. Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus Name by Bryan Chapell
  5. I Will Follow You, O God: Embracing Him as Lord in Your Private Worship by Jerry Bridges
  6. Living the Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing by C.J. Mahaney
  7. Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 41, Galatians by Richard N. Longenecker
  8. The Letter to the Ephesians (Pillar New Testament Commentary) by Peter O’Brien
  9. Colossians & Philemon by R.C. Lucas
  10. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians (New International Commentary on the New Testament) by Gordon Fee


  1. Abandonment to divine providence – Jean Pierre de Caussade
  2. The Release of the Spirit by Watchman Nee
  3. Prayer by Richard Foster

As a tangent, I’ve become interested in reading more about the (negatively stereotyped) Puritans like Richard Baxter, John Owen etc. If you’re interested here is a post to get you started:
Puritans, We Greet Thee in 2008
Updated Link:
Join the 2008 Puritan Reading Challenge!

If there are other lists out there or if you have your own, please post them here.