About five years ago, I made a goal to read 50 books a year…and I haven’t even come close yet. In the two previous years I read 31 books each and in 2013 I think I started reading 50 books, but only finished 26 of them. However, because of reading Tony Reinke’s book, Lit: A Christian guide to reading books, I am completely fine with stopping a book after only 10%. (If you are a Christian and you read, I highly recommend this book.)
I have decided to list the books that I read this year with a brief summary as well as a recommendation as to what you should do with the books on this list. Some of the books have a more detail review in other places and you can read those by clicking through the titles of the books that are linked to other pages.
1. Found: God’s Will by: John MacArthur
You can’t really go wrong with any book by John MacArthur. This book is about discerning God’s will for your life. It’s a short book and I highly recommend it to anyone who is uncertain about what God’s will is for your life (and who isn’t wondering that). Along the same lines is Kevin DeYoung’s book, Just Do Something. Both books are excellent. (Although, when I asked DeYoung what a liver shiver was, he just laughed out loud.)
2. Delighting in the Trinity: An introduction to the Christian faith, by: Michael Reeves
This is one the best books that I read all year. The ordinary Christian talks about the trinity as if it’s too confusing to figure out and not necessary to the Christian faith anyway. Reeves shows that the trinity not only is basic to the Christian faith, it’s also the best thing about who God is. This book was so good I’m thinking about re-reading it in 2014.
3. Ten Most Common Mistakes Made by New Church Starts, by: Jim Griffith and Bill Easum
A helpful book for someone like myself…planting a new church in a new city.
4. Spurgeon: A new biography, by: Arnold Dallimore
I read somewhere that this was the best biography of Spurgeon. I can’t really speak to that opinion because it’s the only biography of Spurgeon that I’ve read. But it is very good. It’s interesting, challenging, and a quick read. Preachers, church leaders, and Christians everywhere should benefit from the life and ministry of this 19th century preacher. (And you probably have benefited some way already.)
5. Date Your Wife, by: Justin Buzzard
I try to read a marriage book every year. This one was just ok. I wouldn’t highly recommend it but I didn’t regret the time I spent reading it also. Here’s my review with some highlights included.
6. Creature of the Word: The Jesus-centered church, by: Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson, Eric Geiger
This book helps us to understand how the church is formed and why it’s important. It’s a good read for church leaders.
7. What is Reformed Theology: Understanding the basics, by: R. C. Sproul
This is another of my favorite books from 2013. I have a full review here. I meant to read just one chapter but accidentally read the whole book. I guess that’s what happens to readers.
8. Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to know for sure you are saved, by: J.D. Greer
Another great book. It’s short and to the point. I bought it for some high schoolers that I know who were raised in the church, but it’s also good for anyone. Here’s a review that I wrote.
9. Evangellyfish, by: Doug Wilson
This is a novel and it’s not about evangelism. I thought it was when I started but when I finished it I realized I was wrong. It wasn’t amazing, but it was good enough that I wanted to see how the story ended.
10. The Message of John’s Letters: Living in the love of God, by: David Jackman
I read this as part of my personal devotions through the book of John. It’s part of the series called “The Bible Speaks Today” which is really good.
11. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by: Patrick Lencioni
This is a fun, extended parable that teaches the importance of working together in business….or on a church plant launch team.
12. 101 Rules for Relationships, by: Billy Hornsby
I got this book for free and read it on the airplane. It took about 30 minutes to read and I through the book away as soon as possible.
13. Irreverent, by: Greg Surratt
This book was also a freebie and I read most of it on the same airplane. It had a few funny stories and it was slightly more entertaining, but it still went into the trash ASAP.
14. Shepherding a Child’s Heart, by: Tedd Tripp
This is an awesome book about raising children by getting to their heart instead of trying to just change their behavior. I love books by the Tripp brothers and this is no exception. I believe this book would be helpful for any parent and I highly recommend this book.
15. The Soul-Winner: or How to lead sinners to the Savior, by: Charles Spurgeon
After reading a biography about the life of Spurgeon, I decided to read a book by the man himself. I was blown away by how good this book was. If you have ever wanted to share the gospel with someone then read this book. Here is my full review.
16. I am a Church Member, by: Thom Rainer
Another important book for church leaders. I have enjoyed Thom Rainer’s weekly blog and podcast. Here is my full review of the book.
17. Dad is Fat, by Jim Gaffighan
This was a fun read by a very pale comic that I enjoy. The book was a Father’s Day gift for me and I loved reading it.
18. Saving Eutychus: How to preach God’s word and keep people awake, by: Gary Miller & Phil Campbell
A person’s preaching can improve over time with work. This book is helpful for learning the mechanics of preaching. I enjoyed reading this book and learned a lot about keeping people awake during a sermon.
19. One Way Love: Inexhaustible grace for an exhausted world, by Tullian Tchividjian
This is a great book about God’s amazing grace. My full review is here.
20. Grace: The power of the gospel, by Andrew Wommack
This was a short book that had a lot of great one-liners. However, I would not recommend this book because I felt like he had different definitions for words. For example, his idea of salvation was physical healing as well as being forgiven for our sins. This is not what the Bible teaches. In fact, it teaches the opposite: we will all die and Jesus promised that in this world we would have trouble (John 16:33).
21. Otherworld: A novel, by: Jared Wilson
This is a novel that was a good story, but not amazing. It gets into the realm of spiritual warfare, which was interesting.
22. Don’t Call It A Comeback: An old faith for a new day, by: Kevin DeYoung and others
I loved this book. It was a a summary of the beliefs of The Gospel Coalition. I highly recommend this book.
23. Ten Christians Everyone Should Know, by: Warren Wiersbe
I like autobiographies and this was 10 short autobiographies in one. It’s a good primer for people interested in Christian leaders throughout history.
24. Five Points: Toward a deeper experience of God’s grace, by: John Piper
A great introduction to Reformed Theology. A must read! Full review here.
25. John Calvin: A heart for devotion, doctrine, and doxology, edited by Burk Parsons
This is an biography of John Calvin. It was interesting, but not the best biography that I’ve read.
26. Safely Home, by: Randy Alcorn
A fictional book about Christians in China. It wasn’t a well written, action-packed story, but the dialogue was great. Even though it’s a fictional book it was based on true stories and so it helps open your eyes about what is happening to Christians in other countries.
27. The Most Misused Verses in the Bible: Surprising ways God’s Word is misunderstood, by: Eric Bargerhuff
A HUGE pet peeve of mine is when people rip verses out of context to say what they want to say. This guy hits all the major verses that people love to “quote.” He didn’t say anything new to me, but it was refreshing to hear someone else say what I always think when I hear someone quote 2 Chronicles 7:14 during the National Day of Prayer.
And finally, the most important one: The Bible! For the third year in a row I have read through the Bible. This year I picked a reading plan that had an OT reading, a NT reading, a Psalm and a Proverb.
I hope this list is helpful in some way. What were your favorite books that you read in 2013?