Top 5 book reads of 2017December 8, 2017
I love reading. I find reading to have a unique way of effecting positive change in the life of a believer. As I interact with different people I’ve noticed some saying it’s hard for them to finish a book, or start, one reason being that they find the book content difficult to understand. That’s the primary reason why this list exists—to help Christians start reading more and more.
In the beginning of each year, I create a “wish-list” of some books I’d love to read during the year. Although it naturally changes as the year progresses, I believe a reading plan is important and it does help. Developing a reading habit is obviously more than just having a list of books you’d like to read. To learn more about how you can develop a habit of reading you can check this article 5 Practical Ways to Start Reading More Books.
As a starter, the top 5 recommended books listed below are compiled from some of the books I read this year. They’re not necessarily published this year. Things I looked for when compiling this list include:
- Easy to read
- Easy to understand, and
- Easy to apply in real life.
And, obviously, the books have to be extremely faithful to biblical teaching. In other words, they’ve to be simple but in no way simplistic—that is—not take too lightly the difficulty and complexity of issues.
Under every book, I included a link to where you can get the book (free or at a cheaper price), a link to an external review, and some memorable quotes. Let me know how you find this list and on how I can improve the selection methodology in the coming years.
5. Can I Have Joy in My Life? (2012, Reformation Trust Publishing) | Free on Kindle
by R.C. Sproul (Read review)
“In his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul speaks about joy and about the Christian’s duty to rejoice over and over again. For example, he writes “Rejoice in the Lord always” (4:4a). This is one of those biblical imperatives, and it leaves no room for not rejoicing, for Paul says Christians are to rejoice always—not sometimes, periodically, or occasionally. He then adds, “Again I will say, Rejoice” (v. 4b). Paul wrote this epistle from prison, and in it he addresses very somber matters, such as the possibility that he will be martyred, poured out as a sacrifice (2:17). Yet he tells the Philippian believers that they should rejoice despite his circumstances.” (p. 5)
4. The Art of Turning (2017, 10Publishing) | WTS Books (has extended sample for free)
by Kevin DeYoung (Read review)
“As much as the Bible talks about the conscience, it’s remarkable how little we hear of it today. It’s not something pastors often teach on and not something most believers consider in daily discipleship… There is a close connection between the work of the Holy Spirit and the operation of the conscience… The Spirit convicts us of evil by showing the truth about sin, the truth about Christ, and the truth about his glory (John 16:8-15). When the Holy Spirit shines a light on what is bad (or good) in us, it is the role of the conscience to appropriate the work of the Spirit (John 3:20-21).” (p. 13-14)
3. The Pursuit of Holiness (2006 edition, NavPress) | Amazon
by Jerry Bridges (Read review)
“Any training – physical, mental, or spiritual – is characterised at first by failure. We fail more often than we succeed. But if we persevere, we gradually see progress till we are succeeding more often than failing. This is true as we seek to put to death particular sins. At first it seems we are making no progress, so we become discouraged and think, what’s the use? I can never overcome that sin. That is exactly what Satan wants us to think. It is at this point that we must exercise perseverance. We keep wanting instant success, but holiness doesn’t come that way. Our sinful habits are not broken overnight. Follow-through is required to make any change in our lives, and follow-through requires perseverance.” (p. 141-142)
2. Side by Side (2015, Crossway) | Amazon
by Edward T. Welch (Read review)
“Life is too hard to manage single-handedly. That’s why we are needy. Life is also good, but it is hard. There is never a day when we have immunity from difficult circumstances. To admit that is not complaining. It is simply true. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33), and, if we stop to think about those tribulations, we realise they are unending… Why do we bother identifying such hardships? We do it because human beings do best when they take their hardships public to God and at least one other person. When we survey the Psalms, we discover that this is God’s desire for us.” (p. 17)
1. A Loving Life (2014, Crossway) | Amazon
by Paul E. Miller (Read review)
“Sometimes hesed is translated “steadfast love.” It combines commitment with sacrifice. Hesed is one-way love. Love without an exit strategy. When you love with hesed love, you bind yourself to the object of your love, no matter what the response is. So if the object of your love snaps at you, you still love that person. If you’ve had an argument with your spouse in which you were slighted or not heard, you refuse to retaliate through silence or withholding your affection. Your response to the other person is entirely independent of how that person has treated you. Hesed is a stubborn love. Love like this eliminates moodiness, the touchiness that is increasingly common in people today.” (p. 24-25)