In 2009, I’ve been blessed to review
29 (make that 28, see below*) books. From these books, I wanted to list my favorites. Rather than give a top 10, which so many others have done, I thought I’d list the best book from several different categories. With some honorable mentions thrown in, I list the best 9 books of 2009.
I want to also take this opportunity to thank the 20+ publishers who have provided books for me to review here. I also owe huge thanks to my readers. Thanks to you all, my site reached over 128,000 hits this year! I aim to keep offering quality content on my blog beyond book reviews, and I pray my site has been a blessing to some of you this year in your Christian walk.
Without further ado, here are Bob’s Best Books of 2009.
Best “Christian Life” book — A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul Miller (NavPress). This is more than a challenging book on prayer. It’s an encouraging read that will inspire you to pray more. Best book I read all year, hand’s down.
Honorable mention — Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World edited by C.J. Mahaney (Crossway). Worldliness is the scourge of the modern church. This book steers clear of legalism as it addresses this important topic. You will be blessed by this extended application of 1 Jn. 2:15 “Love not the world”.
Best “Devotional” book — Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter by Nancy Guthrie (Crossway). This book collects 25 excellent readings on the importance of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. The selections are from great authors past and present, and will do much to stir your soul.
Best “Theology” Book — Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures by Dennis Johnson (P & R Publishing). This book should be required reading for all pastoral theology majors. Everything from biblical hermeneutics, biblical theology, the history of bible interpretation and preaching, and how the Old Testament and the New Testament are unified is covered. The best part comes when the author illustrates his method of finding Christ in all the Scriptures through several sample OT and NT texts. This book will make the Bible come alive as never before.
Honorable mention — The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism: Responding to New Challenges to Biblical Authority by G.K. Beale (Crossway). While the discussion gets somewhat technical, the topic is important. Beale ably responds to Peter Enns’ stretching of the definition of “inerrancy”. Beale demonstrates how scholarship can interact with ancient near-Eastern studies, and yet remain faithful to a robust evangelical view of Scripture. Beale’s points are worth considering as the challenges must be faced by all students of Scripture. I particularly enjoyed Beale’s treatment of the cosmic temple theme as developed throughout Scripture. That chapter alone is worth the price of the book.
Best “Family” book — What He Must Be If He Wants to Marry My Daughter by Voddie Baucham Jr. (Crossway). This book is insightful and refreshing. In a humorous way, it handles sensitive and all-important topics. It’s perfect for parents, or young adults thinking through how best to find a mate.
Best “Reference” book — New Testament Text and Translation Commentary by Philip W. Comfort (Tyndale House). This handy tool discusses almost every textual variant that impacts translations. The variants are listed in canonical order, and the chief Greek manuscripts, Greek texts and key English Bibles are listed as supporting or following the various readings. Difficult variants are discussed at length in a layman-friendly, straightforward style.
Best “Commentary” — Reformed Expository Commentary: James by Daniel M. Doriani (P & R Publishing). This commentary is truly a joy to read. Written by a pastor-scholar, the book addresses scholarly concerns even as it pastorally applies the Scripture. This is an accessible commentary which illustrates how to handle the text. James is opened up for the reader, and the light of the gospel shines through. The book captures the right balance, in my view, of scholarship and practicality. Highly recommended.
Honorable Mention — NIV Application Commentary: Joshua by Robert Hubbard Jr. (Zondervan). This commentary was also fun to read. While it is more technical, it doesn’t aim to just inform the reader. It’s goal is to bridge the gap from the ancient world of the text to the modern day, highlighting the text’s contemporary significance. Joshua truly does come alive through this book.
See all the books I’ve reviewed here. Feel free to follow me on Goodreads, too. For information on how you can get books to review on your blog, read this post.
*I have since retabulated my numbers and am considering two small board books for kids to be just 1 book in my count.