These are the top books I read in 2014, though they may not have been published in 2014.
10. The Bookends of the Christian Life, by Jerry Bridges. This book is vintage Bridges — ruthlessly gospel-centered. It was a book that did more reminding than instructing, but the remembrance brought great joy.
9. It Happens After Prayer, by H.B. Charles Jr. I bought this book on a whim based off a book review I read, and boy, was I glad that I did. It is not the best book on prayer I have ever read, but it is a solid one. This quote, “The things you neglect to pray about are the things you trust you can handle on your own,” will stick with me for a long time.
8. Just Do Something, by Kevin DeYoung. Outside of the Bible, this is the best book on the will of God and decision-making I have ever read. I especially love that DeYoung highlights God’s providence watching over every aspect of our life. Being a continuationist I probably would have added more emphasis on the Holy Spirit, and maybe would have worded a few things differently, but that is only a slight quibble for an excellent book.
7. Mark, by James A. Brooks. This was the first commentary that I have ever read — and it was superb. Concise, readable, and instructional — all-the-while being inspirational. I studied the book of Mark for the first several months of 2014, and I used this commentary to help me. I probably focused too much on the commentary, but it was still extremely helpful nonetheless.
6. Calvin, on the Christian life, by Michael Horton. Probably not Horton’s best work, but I was very glad he used a myriad of Calvin’s personal quotes in the book. Because that was exactly what I was looking for: Calvin’s words himself about his own life.
5. The Dudes Guide to Manhood, by Darrin Patrick. I’m surprised this book is not getting the notoriety it probably deserves. The book receives high praises from John Piper, who said, “This book is worth the price for the table of contents.” Maybe it’s not getting as much attention because it is primarily aimed at men. At any rate, this book is better than good, and I have no doubt any guy that reads it will profit greatly from it.
4. The Five Levels of Leadership, by John Maxwell. I asked a friend for a list of books that he thought were the best on leadership. This book was at the top of the list — and I now see why. Almost every sentence is tweetable. I’m sure I will be glad to re-read this book sometime in the future.
3. Jesus The King, by Tim Keller. This book is utterly spectacular. Of all of Tim Keller’s books, this one has to be the most underrated. I can’t believe more people aren’t talking about it. Keller, in typical Keller fashion, takes the reader through the book of Mark in a devotional, and story-telling kind of way. I loved every page. This book made me love Jesus more, and that is the highest praise I can give a book.
2. John Calvin: Pilgrim and Pastor, by W. Robert Godfrey. I began to become intrigued with the life of John Calvin when I learned that he placed a great deal of emphasis on the providence of God is his preaching and writing. To learn more, I wanted to read a biography, so I started with this one. And I was not disappointed. Fewer things encourage my faith more than reading biographies on the great saints from the past — and this one was no exception. My faith, joy, and knowledge grew when I learned about how God used the man we call John Calvin.
1. Prayer, by Tim Keller. Outside of the Bible, this is the best book on prayer I have ever read. No wonder it was quickly a New York Times Bestseller. Chapter two of the book is worth it for the price alone. Having read several of Keller’s books, and enjoying every one of them, my expectations for his books keep getting higher and higher. And they keep getting met. Keller’s books never go unnoticed, and I would be quick to consider him one of the best authors alive today.
What were your favorite reads of the year? Post your comments below.