2010 marked the second full year that I’ve focused on reading and reviewing good Christian books. I thought I could take the time to look back and assess the books I’ve reviewed in 2010.
By the Numbers:
Total Reviews: 30 (including 1 DVD)
2010 Publishers Reveiwed: 13
Pages Read: over 6600
Blog Posts Written: 168
I want to thank my readers for finding my blog helpful (or at the least interesting). I also want to thank the publishers for the opportunity to review their books. I look forward to some of the titles I have planned already for this year, and to the challenge of doing even more reviews in 2011.
Without further ado, here are Bob’s Best Books of 2010. I tried to pick fairly big categories, but it’s always hard to choose. I threw in a couple honorable mentions with the result that we have here my 10 favorite books reviewed in 2010.
Bob’s 10 Best:
Best “Theology” book — The Meaning of the Pentateuch: Revelation, Composition and Interpretation by John H. Sailhamer (InterVarsity Press). I can’t stress how much I enjoyed this book. I know some of you are going to think I’m a bit strange here, but this 600 page theology book was hands down my favorite book of the year. Sailhamer’s insights into Scripture and the Hebrew arrangement of the OT Canon continue to thrill me. Some of the material was over my head, for sure. But working through it proved enormously rewarding. This is a book I’ll refer to, for a long time. It’s truly been paradigm shifting for me. You’ll have to read my review for more on the book.
Best “Christian Living” book — A Sweet and Bitter Providence: Sex, Race, and the Sovereignty of God by John Piper (Crossway). This is a beautiful book both for the story of Ruth from the Bible contained in it, as well as for the artwork and the commentary by John Piper. Piper masterfully applies the themes of Ruth to some life’s ups and downs. He unlocks the book to let God and His beauty shine through. Read my review for more.
Honorable Mention — CrossTalk: Where Life and Scripture Meet by Michael Emlet (New Growth Press). It’s hard to categorize this immensely helpful book. It’s equal parts Bible interpretation handbook, counseling manual, and applying the Gospel to life “how to”. It will help you to see all the parts of the Bible in light of the big picture, and equip you to take any part of Scripture and apply it to real life people and their problems. Read my review for more.
Best “Childrens & Family” book – My First Book of Questions and Answers by Carine MacKenzie (Christian Focus). This is certainly the smallest book I reviewed this year. Yet even though it is quite small, it is extraordinarily useful. We’ve applied it in family Bible time, in my family. The easy questions and answers are fun for goods, and instructive even for the parents. It is a tool for bringing the lost art of catechism back into the contemporary Christian home. Read my review for more.
Best “Church History & Biography” book — Getting the Reformation Wrong: Correcting Some Misunderstandings by James Payton Jr. (InterVarsity Press). I wasn’t sure what to expect, given this book’s title. I was pleasantly surprised. The book moved along at a good pace and brought me back into the world of the Reformation. Many of the concerns the author had, are for us to not misunderstand the true nature of the Reformation. Sola fide and Sola Scriptura in particular are concepts stretched quite far from their historical past. You may not agree with all his conclusions, but you’ll be challenged and will surely learn something new about that important period of church history. Read my review for more.
Best “Commentary & Reference” book — Ryken’s Bible Handbook: A Guide to Reading and Studying the Bible by Leland Ryken, Philip Ryken & James Wilhoit (Tyndale House). I wasn’t prepared for how enormously helpful this Bible handbook proved to be. The overviews of each book of the Bible, the helps for reading the Bible with sensitivity for genre, and the many charts and graphics combine to make this quite useful for any Bible reader — from the concerned parent to the Sunday School teacher on up to the pastor. Read my review for more.
Honorable Mention — Galatians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) by Thomas R. Schreiner (Zondervan). This commentary couldn’t help but receive some notice. Not only is it written by a pastor-scholar I highly respect, the commentary may be the most useful one I’ve found yet, for the would be expository teacher. The layout and approach brings the teacher into the book giving him the tools and help he or she needs, without making them feel inadequate for the task. This commentary series should prove a true gift to the church. Read my review for more.
Best “Fiction” book — Beyond the Summerland (The Binding of the Blade Series, Book 1) by L.B. Graham (P & R Publishing). I love good fiction, particularly fantasy. This book was superbly written and drew me in to a beautiful world that in many ways was analogous to the real situation here on Earth. I honestly didn’t expect such a well written fantasy tale from such a conservative publisher. It’s a testament to the fact that Christian authors can write excellently and create truly moving art. I look forward to reading the rest of the series. Read my review for more.
Best “General Christian Interest” book — Once an Arafat Man by Tass Saada (Tyndale House). This tale is both fascinating and inspiring. A one-time Hamas fighter immigrates to America to find success, and then meets Jesus. His life changes by the power of the Gospel and he goes on to have the privilege of sharing the Gospel with his childhood hero, Yasir Arafat. The story of Tass Saada’s life and his ministry for Christ to the poor in Gaza gives hope that God is at work in the Muslim world. Read my review for more.
Best “Missions & Church Life” book – Which None Can Shut: Remarkable True Stories of God’s Miraculous Work in the Muslim World by Reema Goode (Tyndale House). This book may be my 2nd favorite of the year. This is the tale of an American missionary wife, and her family’s experiences in an undisclosed location in Arabia. Here is a window into what missions looks like in a closed country. The stories told are nothing short of amazing, as we get to share a bird’s eye view in what Jesus is doing to reach Muslims. The questions and opportunities to share the gospel are plentiful, as are the dangers. I trust and pray that this book will help motivate more Western Christians to take risks in sharing the Gospel abroad, and to their increasingly multicultural neighbors as well. Read my review for more.
Bob Hayton has a BA in Pastoral Theology with a Greek emphasis and a MA in Bible from Fairhaven Baptist College and Seminary in Chesterton, IN. He currently works in technical sales support for Boston Scientific, and actively serves at Beacon of Hope Church, St. Paul. He blogs at http://www.fundamentallyreformed.com/
where this article was originally posted. It is used with permission.