As we approach the end of 2014, we can expect to see a lot of reminiscing. This of course will lead to the trend of ‘top 10 lists’. Some of these helpful, some interesting, and some that really did not need to really be thought about.
Quite a few people have asked me what I’ve been reading, so I thought it would be a good idea to briefly review the best 5 books I’ve read this year. Hopefully it’ll fall into the helpful camp, if not being somewhat interesting.
So without any more hanging about, I present the 5 best books I have read in 2014!
I have become quite a fan of Michael Reeves’ work. He has a great skill for making what could be boring topics come alive. His passion for church history is really exciting and this is definitely the best book of his that I have read so far (I intend to pick up a few more in the new year).
In The Unquenchable Flame, Reeves tackles the topic of the reformation showing how the first reformers came to their positions. He then follows their stories through to their ‘completion’, showing us the key events and marking out the key players in the process.
I say ‘completion’ because Reeves ends his book asking whether the reformation is actually truly over yet. This is quite a poignant question, and one that Christians should be asking continuously. Definitely worth a read, even if history is not your thing.
4) Strange Fire
I would be lying if I did not partially read this because of the controversy that surrounded it. But I also picked up MacArthur’s latest book in order to explore the topic of spiritual gifts more for myself. I have a lot of friends with varying views, and being an ordinary reserved Englishman myself, I wanted to get to understand some more on the topic.
In Strange Fire you will find Dr John MacArthur showing some of the dangerous extremes of the charismatic church, and the thinking behind them. He does sometimes paint the brush too broadly, but the things that he says do have some considerable weight.
If you’ve ever wondered what is going with spiritual gifts, I would highly recommend reading this book. Of course, keep your Bible open along-side it and checking out what is said for yourselves!
I spent the autumn term of 2014 teaching the children of Spicer Street the book of Judges. This was a great time of exploring what happened in ancient Israel, their need for a king, and fundamentally a better understanding of Jesus. David Murray’s book ‘Jesus on every page’ was a great influence on me whilst doing this.
From the opening pages, Murray reminds his readers that the whole of the Bible is about, and points to, Jesus. He then goes on to show some techniques on how to apply this in an easy and correct way.
Have you ever wondered how your day-to-day work fits into God’s big picture? Have you ever thought to yourself ‘what is the point’?
Skye Jethani’s book, Futureville, has been a great help to me in 2014. I came across Jethani’s work by listening to the Phil Vischer podcast. Jethani is one of the presenters of the show, and his insight and knowledge comes across very clearly.
In Futureville the church is challenged to rethink its attitude to vocation and how life fits together. After examining past mistakes in understanding this, Jethani lays out clearly what the Bible’s message really is, and encourages people to ‘rediscover their purpose for today by re-imagining tomorrow’.
The book I would have to rate as my favourite book in 2014 is B. N. Howard’s ‘Book of the Covenant’. If you have ever wondered how the whole Bible fits together, this is definitely a book you will not want to miss.
Howard takes a look through the Bible’s storyline from the perspective of the covenants. Howard takes material such as O Palmer Robertson’s ‘Christ of the Covenants’ and Geerhardus Vos’s ‘Biblical Theology’, and distills the content down to make it simple, without losing any of the key message.
At the end of the book, Howard gives a number of useful techniques you can then use to read and study the Bible for yourself. These have definitely helped me a lot, and so would highly recommend this wonderful work.
So there we have it – my best reads of 2014. You can follow my reading progress over at GoodReads. I’d be interested to hear what you have enjoyed reading in 2014. Why not leave a comment below!