My 10 Favorite Books in 2012

The following books weren’t necessarily published this year, but they’re the ones I read and enjoyed the most in 2012.  In no particular order, let’s get going with the list:

(1) Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological Introduction, by Jonathan Pennington. Dr Pennington is a SBTS professor whose love for the Four Gospels is well known, and in this excellent book he shows how to read them well! This book is personal, academic, accessible, well-written, and engaging. I highly commend it!

(2) From Typology to Doxology: Paul’s Use of Isaiah and Job in Romans 11:34-35, by Andrew Naselli. I’m fascinated by studies on how the New Testament uses the Old, and Andy Naselli is a steady and passionate guide on Paul’s use of Isaiah and Job in one of the most glorious passages of Scripture, the end of Romans 11. Naselli’s tight argumentation, good writing, and clear presentation make for an enjoyable and edifying read!

(3) Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants, by Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum. Two well-respected and beloved SBTS professors team up for this tour de force, arguing for what they call a “middle way” between Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism. Their sustained argument is that the biblical covenants form the backbone of the Bible’s story and must be understood in order to understand that story better.

(4) Dominion and Dynasty: A Theology of the Hebrew Bible, by Stephen Dempster. This book has been in my reading queue for a few years and I’m so glad I finally got to it! Dempster’s understanding of how the Old Testament story unfolds is stimulating and insightful. It’s a book I’ve turned to again and again. I love books that help us put the Bible’s big story together, and Dempster is among the best helpers you’ll find.

(5) A House for My Name: A Survey of the Old Testament, by Peter Leithart. Can an Old Testament survey be fun to read? Leithart proves it can! This book is interesting, beautifully written, and incredibly insightful. Leithart’s book has the capacity to be both a tool of daily devotion that supplements Bible reading and a classroom textbook that opens the eyes of the reader to riches yet to behold. Leithart is a master of language, and his story-telling skills are on full display as he takes you from Creation to the First Coming of Jesus.

(6) Deep Exegesis: The Mystery of Reading Scripture, by Peter Leithart. That’s right, another Leithart book. I saw this book cited by others before I read it, and their excerpts intrigued me greatly. Deep Exegesis is the first full book I read by Leithart, and its hermeneutical focus is as illuminating as it is edifying. He makes bold claims and treads debated waters, but he doesn’t do so recklessly. Whether or not you end up agreeing with all his points, you’ll see (and more importantly, read) the Bible with greater depth and wonder!

(7) Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life, by Douglas Wilson. Being a writer, I care about writing. And as an author, I’m interested in how other authors write. Now before you yawn at the notion of reading a book about writing, this is Doug Wilson we’re talking about. And he’s no bore. He’s written many books about all kinds of subjects, and to each one he brings his wit and grammatical switchblade. He not only can make a point, he knows how to make it memorable. Want to learn about writing from a contemporary master of the craft? Then devour you some Wordsmithy!

(8) The King Jesus Gospel : The Original Good News Revisited, by Scot McKnight. I love reading books about the gospel, though I don’t agree with all of McKnight’s points, and I feel he has some false dichotomies where there ought not be any. But: McKnight wants Christians to embrace the grand news that in Jesus, God has fulfilled the story of Old Testament Israel and launched a new creation kingdom. God has kept the promises to the patriarchs and brought to pass a saving reign through Messiah Jesus. The good news is not only that Jesus died and rose, he also ascended and sits at the Father’s right hand. This is King Jesus!

(9) The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God, by Tim and Kathy Keller. There are many great marriage books on the market, and I’ve benefited from many of them over the years, but this is the first one I’d recommend over all others. My wife Stacie and I read this aloud together, and its chapters were moving, convicting, eye-opening, and rooted in the text of Scripture. Keller’s book will correct misunderstandings, introduce important concepts, and apply the truth of the gospel to dozens of real-life scenarios. The Kellers love marriage, and they want you to love it too. They especially want you to see how the New Covenant matters for the marriage covenant.

(10) Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem, by Jay Richards. I never imagined a book on economics and capitalism could be so enjoyable and so clear, but this book is both. Dispelling one myth about capitalism after another, Richards makes the case that capitalism is reasonable and, most importantly, fits snugly within a Christian worldview. I couldn’t put this book down. Richards pulls no punches and is transparent with the cards he’s holding. Maybe he won’t convince you on every point, but he will make you think.

Well, those are the ten books I enjoyed the most this year. Do you agree with any of my choices?

What were some of your favorites you read and would heartily commend?


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