It’s that time of the year again. I’m excited to share with you my top ten books of 2023.
Before I give you the list, a couple of comments.
For some of the books below, I did not read every word, but I read enough of the book to include it on the list. For example, number four is a 500+ page exegetical commentary on the Gospel of Mark. Did I read every single word? No, but I read the sections when it was my turn to preach on Mark, and it was extremely helpful to me.
Not every book was published in 2023.
Don’t put too much stock in the ranking. Had I written this post on a different day and in a different mood, I’m sure I would switch the order around. I encourage you to simply check out all the books and see if anything interests you. If memory serves, some of the books may have arrived in a previous year, and perhaps I read a few sentences or scanned them, but didn’t seriously read the contents until this year.
My Top 10 Books of 2023
I very much enjoy Benjamin’s writing and I also like reading good, sound theology. Benjamin and I both serve in the same denomination. His ordination paper was so good he turned it into a book.
9. Rhythms of Grace: How the Church’s Worship Tells the Story of the Gospel by Mike Cosper
A helpful book for corporate worship. Helped me to see how the metanarrative of Scripture — creation, fall, redemption, consummation — should affect our corporate worship service.
8. Does God Care about Gender Identity? by Samuel D. Ferguson
I’m not good at reading books on cultural issues. I’m pietistic and doctrinalist at heart. As a pastor, I can’t remain ignorant and oblivious to cultural issues, but I don’t necessarily want to read a super long book either. Enter this volume: very short, well-written, concise, but still useful and biblical.
7. A Life of Gospel Peace: A Biography of Jeremiah Burroughs by Phillip L. Simpson
I still need to finish this biography, but what I read has been edifying. Burroughs is one of my favorite Puritans. I tried to keep this book as my “Saturday night read,” something meaty and edifying to prepare my heart for corporate worship. It proved effective in that manner.
6. Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road by Tim Keller
If I can, I want to read all of Keller’s books. This book gave me a deeper heart for the poor and a desire to want to do more in the area of mercy ministry.
5. The Great Dechurching: Who’s Leaving, Why Are They Going, and What Will It Take to Bring Them Back? by Jim Davis, Michael Graham, Ryan P. Burge
I listened to this book on Audible while driving. I have some questions about the research and how the authors came to their statistical conclusions. There were, especially at first, a lot of sweeping stats mentioned. Those comments aside, the content taught me more about why people de-church. It was helpful to me, even if the reasons and conclusions were sometimes surprisingly very simple.
4. Mark (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) by Mark Strauss
We are currently preaching through the Gospel of Mark. Per usual, I am using several resources. This commentary has proved to be the best one. I was not too impressed with the Zondervan exegetical format, but this commentary changed my views on the series. It is ideal for a preacher because not only does it give you sound exegesis from the original language, but it also gives you the text’s main point and application points. The insights on Mark’s Gospel are superb. If you are planning to preach through Mark, get this commentary.
3. Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms by Justin Whitmel Earley
I love all things habits, productivity, and routines. So it’s no surprise that I enjoyed this book. The author is vulnerable, accessible, and practical. There are habits in this book that I am using with my family. For example, before we eat dinner, we light a candle and say “Christ is light.” If you are a parent with young kids, you will enjoy this best-selling book. I need to re-read some of the sentences I have underlined.
A mentor recommended this book. And then someone I know said this book was so good he read it twice. Lo and behold, I now see why I received a recommendation from two people who don’t know each other. This book is excellent. Again, if you are a parent, you will find lots of wisdom for your children in this volume.
1. Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation by Collin Hansen
I love Tim Keller. This book is such a wonderful account of all of the influences in Tim Keller’s life. It gave me a deeper respect for Keller. I also loved the quotes in the book from Kathy; they were edifying and humorous. If you have benefited from the ministry of Tim Keller, you will benefit from this book. And if you read this book, it may cause you to stop and consider all the people and influences that have shaped you into the person you are today.
My Top Books from Previous Years
If you’d like to see my top ten books from previous years, you can do so by clicking here.