2013 proved to be a great year for books.  My top ten are listed below.

1. DEATH BY LIVING – N.D. Wilsonwilson

My number one pick for 2013 would be easy to pass by.  But passing over Wilson’s work would be a big mistake.  This little gem is filled with biblical insight that is destined to hit readers right between the eyes!  Wilson has a way of grabbing readers by the throat and encouraging them at the same time.  Death by Living is essential for real living.

See my review

2. THE KING IN HIS BEAUTY – Tom Schreiner


Tom Schreiner’s, The King In His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments is comprehensive in its scope and is simply breathtaking.  Schreiner wonderfully captures the essence of Christ in both testaments by putting his person and work on display.  Some books are meant to be read once.  I will turn to The King In His Beauty again and again.

Highly recommended!

See my review



My number three selection is a book that I recommend to all my Arminian friends.  Many Arminians I know embrace the doctrine of perseverance of the saints, albeit inconsistently.  Greear’s book is sure to make a difference in the lives of many people.

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart is also a great pastoral tool.  The book is readable and packs a practical punch.

See my review

4. A WALK ACROSS THE SUN – Conrad Addison


This book stopped me dead in my tracks.  The author alerts readers to the dark world of trafficking which is not only prevalent in countries like India and Thailand; it also plagues American cities.

This book is dark and sinister but the message of redemption makes it well worth the read.

See my review


5. FIVE POINTS – John Piper


There is no shortage of books describing the merits of five point Calvinism.  In fact, the acrostic has come under fire in recent days by theologians like Roger Nicole and J.I. Packer.  In J.I. Packer’s excellent introduction to From Heaven He Came (David Gibson and Jonathan Gibson, Ed), Packer critiques the “L” in Tulip: “Now, it is true that definite redemption is central to the Reformed understanding of the gospel and that atonement, a word meaning reconciliation, is an acceptable alternative for redemption; but limited is an inappropriate emphasis that actually sounds menacing.”  Perhaps  we’re do for a modification in terminology.

That said, Piper’s treatment of the five points is outstanding.  This book should be studied by critics of Calvinism and devoured by lovers of the doctrines of grace.

See my review



No English-speaking preacher has influenced so many people as the Prince of preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  Tom Nettles in his magnum opus, paints a stunning portrait of Spurgeon’s life, theology, and ministry on a canvas that will draw readers in and motivate them to get to know the British pastor for the remainder of their days.

Living by Revealed Truth is recommended reading for pastors, missionaries, and anyone who loves the gospel.  May the Prince of preachers focus your gaze with intensity on the Prince of Peace.

See my review

7. THE ENGLISH GIRL – Daniel Silva


I read quite a few spy novels.  The English Girl by Daniel Silva stands head and shoulders over most other spy novels I’ve read.  Silva is no stranger to the world of espionage.  His best-selling thrillers have been flying off the shelf for well over a decade.  This guy just keeps getting better.

If you’re looking for some escape reading or want a plane ride across the country to whiz by, check out The English Girl by one of the best thriller writers alive, Daniel Silva.

STRANGE FIRE – John MacArthur


The Strange Fire Conference at Grace Community Church drew thousands of expectant listeners.  Many more tuned in online and several didn’t like what they heard.  My encouragement: Read the book.  For Strange Fire has a weightiness to it that will challenge your thinking about the contemporary charismatic movement.

MacArthur brings a lifetime of pastoral experience to the table in his newest book.  Here’s a challenge: If you haven’t read the book, you owe it to yourself to carefully read MacArthur’s reasoning.  Even if you disagree with his conclusions, you’ll appreciate the spirit in which he writes this important book.

See my review



I’ll be honest.  Even though I’ve served as a pastor for nearly 25 years, most books on ecclesiology have one of two effects on me.  Their either bore me to death or they make me mad.  The ones the made me mad come from the emergent stream.  The ones that bore me tend to come from the Reformed community.  Greg Allison’s Sojourners and Strangers had neither effect.  Rather, I found this very long book to be informative, educational, thought-provoking and ruthlessly biblical.  Sojourners and Strangers will likely be the go-to text-book for Seminaries committed to Scripture.

See my review

10. DANGEROUS CALLING – Paul David Tripp


The title of this book says it all.   Tripp nicely summarized some of the complexities of pastoral ministry.  But the notion of complexity doesn’t go nearly far enough.  The facts indicate that pastoral ministry is dangerous business.  Paul David Tripp provides good biblical rationale for maintaining pastoral priorities that reflect a kingdom agenda.  A real winner!

See my review

Honorable Mention:

ECHOES OF EDEN – Jerram Barrs


The biggest reason I liked Echoes of Eden is this: It reminded me of Francis Schaeffer.  Many still remember the days when Schaeffer would skillfully weave a strong love for God’s Word with bold challenges to penetrate a pagan culture.  Barrs almost picks up where Schaeffer left off with his fine work, Echoes of Eden.

See my review

2 thoughts on “MY FAVORITE READS OF 2013

  1. Hey – good work! I probably read more books than you did this year :) but yours were certainly more edifying. My favorite non-fiction, non-Christian book this year was “Salt, Sugar, Fat,” by Michael Moss, a very well respected investigative journalist. Basically it’s the history of the processed food industry, and what they do to sucker us in. I will never walk through a grocery store with the same mind set ever again! Favorite fiction – well, I just re-read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings again. I’ve been doing that about every three years since 1976. If you don’t believe that Samwise Gamgee is the hero of the story, then we’ll need to talk. And last, but not least “The Man Christ Jesus” by Bruce Ware. I’ve always thought that the expectation that we were to strive to live a life like the one Christ lived was just flat not fair. After all, he was God as well as man. But Dr. Ware explains so clearly and carefully that Christ willingly chose to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit rather than on his own. It finally made sense.

    Trust you and yours are doing well.

    I am, as always, doing better than I deserve.:)


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