As I reflect on the books I read in 2019, I note seven Christian books that have impacted my own Christian thinking and spiritual life more than any others. This year’s list is a bit more academic than last year’s, though it ranges from easy-to-read to serious academic. Nevertheless, these are the seven books that were most formative for me in 2019. I will list them in the order I read them.
The Apostles’ Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism, by Ben Myers. Line by line commentary on Christianity’s oldest post-biblical creed. Thoughtful insights on almost every page.
How to Read Theology, by Uche Anizor. A primer on how to evaluate theological writing. Anizor focuses on reading both charitably and critically.
Why I Love the Apostle Paul: 30 Reasons, by John Piper. I have been closing my Life & Letters of Paul class for 17 years with a lecture entitled, 12 Ways I Admire the Apostle Paul. I found myself appreciatively tracking with the 30 “reasons” Piper says that he loves Paul and his writings.
The Insanity of God, by Nik Ripken. An outstanding book on persecution of Christians. Spiritually convicting.
God is Impassible and Impassioned: Toward a Theology of Divine Emotions, by Rob Lister. Theological reading that aims to clarify how a God is both impassible (incapable of being changed by pain or emotion), yet still genuinely feeling toward us.
Christianity at the Crossroads: How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church, by Michael Kruger. A helpful introduction to the nature and growth of Christianity in the second century. For an easy-to-read introduction to the earliest Christian writings of the second century that would nicely complement this book, see my Apostolic Fathers.
Romans 7 and Christian Identity: A Study of the “I” in Its Literary Context, by Will N. Timmins. The most satisfying interpretation of Romans 7 (overall) I have yet encountered.
How easy or hard will it be to read these books? From easiest (least academic) to hardest (most academic), here is the order:
Piper, Love Paul.
Myers, Apostles’ Creed.
Kruger, Second Century.
Anizor, Read Theology.
Lister, Divine Emotions.
Timmins, Romans 7.
Happy New Year reading!
Here is my list from 2018.
5 thoughts on “Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2019”
Having read many things on Romans 7 from authors
i greatly admire, but not coming to the point where i am convinced yet. All names you would know. Will you give me a couple sentences on Timmons work please.
I keep going back to how i see the point of Rm 7. Not being the “I” , but the Law.
If you have time and can reduce it down that small.
Thanks for what you do here.
Blessings to you and your family.
Overall, Timmins argues that Paul’s “I” is autobiographical, but is representative of the struggle of all regenerate believers. There are various specifics beyond that, but that’s the overall idea. He (and I along with him) would agree that the Law is one of the primary themes of Rom 7, but does not encompass everything Paul is doing in that passage, nor even what he is doing primarily. Here are a couple older posts I put up on the topic in case you’re interested in why I think this way and a key insight on how to explain the pessimism in the passage that I got from J. I. Packer. https://www.biola.edu/blogs/good-book-blog/2012/a-key-insight-about-romans-7-from-a-conversation-with-j-i-packer and https://www.biola.edu/blogs/good-book-blog/2012/paul-is-talking-about-himself-why-i-take-an-autobiographical-reading-of-romans-7-14-25.