I like reading books. I also like blogging about the books that I read (just check the categories drop down menu on my blog).
So I wanted to list the ten books that have influenced my life more than any other books. Of course, the Bible is at the top of the list. It is God’s word, God-breathed and I love it, read it, study it, preach it, teach it and strongly encourage every other human being on planet earth to become very familiar with its pages. I normally utilise the ESV translation in my reading, study and preaching-teaching.
But these are ten other books that have influenced my life greatly (they are not necessarily in a particular order):
1. The Gospel of the Kingdom by George Ladd – The gospel is about the kingdom rule of God. There is nothing else as important to me as the kingdom of God. But, more importantly, there is nothing else more important to Jesus. This is a solid introductory work to understanding the kingdom of God.
2. The Unshakable Kingdom and the Unchanging Person by E. Stanley Jones – If Ladd’s book addresses the theology of the kingdom of God, Jones’s book addresses the practical reality of living out the kingdom of God. He passed away before it was edited, but McNett Press decided to publish it anyways (thankfully). Thus, you will notice a few mistakes. But fantastic on what it means to live out the rule of God in our lives.
3. Connecting by Larry Crabb – I like other books of Crabb’s, but this has been the best for me thus far. It is a book that addresses, in a very challenging way, what it means for the church to be relational at its core.
4. The Way of the Wild Heart by John Eldredge – Some think Eldredge is over the top when it comes to his outdoor-sy emphasis for men, but I believe he has some great insights into the life of a man. I am, by no means, a major outdoor type of person. But his books on men (also including Wild At Heart) speak volumes. I blogged about this book here.
5. Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright – A fantastic book on the reality of the resurrection of Jesus and how this affects planet earth. The creme de la creme with regards to our future hope as Christians in seeing the kingdom of God and the earth becoming united. It also brings out how the resurrection of Jesus and God’s plan to renew the earth impacts the mission of the church in the here and now.
6. The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read Your Bible by Scot McKnight – A very helpful introductory book in understanding the bigger picture of Scripture and also laying out some introductory hermeneutical principles when approaching the Scripture. I blogged about this book here.
7. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkein – I love fantasy fiction. Just adore it. And this is probably the best series ever in that genre of writing. Absolutely brilliant!
8. Desire by John Eldredge – Though contrary to some teaching, God does actually put desires deep within us that point to what God has called us to. It doesn’t always have to hurt and feel bad for it to be God’s will. This book explores the importance of neither humanistic or therapeutic desire, but true desires within us that have been planted by God.
9. The Christ of the Covenants by O. Palmer Roberston – At one point, I would have identified more with the covenantal, reformed view in regards to soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) and eschatology (the doctrine of end times). But now I am not as dogmatic. Still, this book was the first book that opened my eyes past the dispensational view that I had known as a younger Christian. God is a covenant God and this book emphasises that as fully summed up in Christ Himself.
10a. A Testament of Devotion by Thomas Kelly – Not as well-known as something like Thomas a Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ, but it is a short devotional book from a Quaker believer, specifically emphasising some of the more mystical aspects of our faith. I pick it up every so often to dip in for some quiet, reflective thoughts.
10b. Victory Over the Darkness by Neil Anderson – As one who always struggled with serious condemnation and perfectionism, which equals a tormenting battle in the mind, this was a significant book in helping me understand our identity in Christ. We are saints, we are righteous, for we are in Christ.