Top 10 Books I Read in 2017

  1. Hand in Hand: The Beauty of God’s Sovereignty and Meaningful Human Choice by Randy Alcorn (published by Multnomah Books, 2014). I found this book on a bargain shelf for $5 at Mardels – not thinking much of my purchase. After reading the first two chapters, I realized the gem I now owned. The balanced view of our free will and God’s sovereignty is no better represented and derived from Scripture than Alcorn’s book. There is not any other book I will recommend on the subject than this one. The middle chapters are admittedly not as helpful, but the first few and last few chapters are worth whatever you can buy it for.
  2. God’s Word Alone: The Authority of Scripture by Matthew Barrett (published by Zondervan, 2016). I read this book in preparation for teaching a series on the 5 solas, and boy am I glad I did. When (not if) you read this book, you will learn about the qualities of Scripture (e.g., clarity, necessity, inerrancy, truthfulness), the views some have held on Scriptural authority throughout church history, and the current challenges to its authority. This is now my #1 book in bibliology. The author is very readable, very biblical, and his collections of quotes throughout the book inspires, convicts and edifies.
  3. Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community by Brett McCracken (published by Crossway Books, 2017). If I could narrow down my concerns to one word for the modern church it is the title of this book: “uncomfortable.” The Gospel calls us to live a life that is not like the rest, and it will often be uncomfortable. This book gives practical helps on how you can better serve the awkward body that is the church and live a life that is uncomfortable for God’s glory. BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.
  4. Faith Alone: The Doctrine of Justification by Thomas Schreiner (published by Zondervan, 2015). There is no better defense of justification by faith alone that I am aware of. The author does a tremendous job giving biblical insight into the reality that our faith is based on the righteousness of Christ and not our works but that our faith will produce works. In this book, you find this teaching throughout church history, you will gain help on contemporary debates, and see the teaching of justification in both the O.T. and N.T. Buy this book and read it!
  5. Promises Made: The Message of the Old Testament by Mark Dever (published by Crossway Books, 2006). What Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology accomplishes as a doctrinal resource, this book by Dever does the same for O.T. book backgrounds resources. What I mean is that you get great information in each chapter and encouraging devotional material. Dever paints pictures of each O.T. book, and makes them practical, with each chapter ending with about 10 discussion questions. It would be a great resource for your personal library, or a Sunday school class or small group wanting to pursue a survey of the O.T., or as a preaching reference. I can’t wait to read the companion book surveying the books of the N.T.
  6. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (published by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976). In all fairness, I did not read this book in the month of August but completed its reading, which began in January. Everyone who has preached through the Gospel of Matthew told me, “Buy Lloyd-Jones” and I am glad I did. The author rightly captures the concern Jesus preached about – inward hypocrisy and the importance of addressing the heart. I would read this book even if I weren’t preaching or studying the Gospel of Matthew.
  7. The Mentoring Church: How Pastors and Congregations Cultivate Leaders by Phil A. Newton (published by Kregel Publications, 2017). What you will discover when you read this book is a “how to” manual for developing leaders in the church. What you will benefit from is a biblical exposition of how the early church mentored its men. What you will enjoy is seeing the leadership development strategies of key leaders throughout church history (e.g. Zwingli, Calvin, Spener, Gano, Spurgeon, Bonhoeffer). What will speak to your heart is Chapter 2 when the leadership development ministry of Jesus is unpacked. What will provoke many good questions for your church staff and leadership team going forward are Chapters 10-13 where different church models of how they train leaders are explained.
  8. Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women by Susan Hunt (published by Crossway Books, 1992). My Mom, who has shown a great commitment to discipling younger women, has told me this is the only book on discipleship she recommends to women, and now I know why. What a tremendous resource for women in the local church. If I could buy a copy for every female member of my church, I would. In this book you will find regular encouragement and help for the task of discipling and being disciples by other women. If you are a woman and read this book and STILL don’t feel compelled to be involved in discipleship, question your salvation. BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.
  9. Let the Children Worship by Jason Helopoulos (published by Christian Focus, 2016). If you don’t see the benefit of having children sit through the worship service, read this book and it should change your mind. If you already have your children sit through the worship service, read this book and be encouraged to excel still more. If you have just recently started having your children sit in the worship service (as we at Wichita Bible Church have), read this book and receive the practical suggestions for how to best teach them to engage in worship.
  10. The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World by Melissa A. Kruger (published by Christian Focus, 2012). It is refreshing to read practical books that attack specific heart issues. The sin of coveting is one of the Ten Commandments and it shows a displeasure against a Sovereign God. Kruger’s book is biblically sound and each chapter ends with 10-15 study questions, so the book could easily be used for a small group or women’s Bible study.

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