2017 was a year of implementation. For the past 5 years or so, I read an average of 1 book a week. I wanted to get better, to know more, and become the person God was calling me to be. I know I am closer than I was a year ago, and these 7 books played a large part in helping me get there.
In all, I read just over 40 books this year – but these were the ones that stood out. All of these have carved out a special place in my mind and heart, and I hope they might be able to do the same for you.
About The Bible by Terence E. Fretheim
This book is a collection of 40-50 questions about the most foundational aspects of the Bible:
- What is it?
- Who wrote it?
- How does it relate to science?
- What is a prophet?
- What is authority?
- How should we read the Bible today?
For me, this is a book I plan to buy in bulk and gift every time I have the opportunity to do so. Fretheim writes with a scholar’s knowledge, but a friend’s tone. The book is accessible, although packed with useful information. If you can get through this short book (about 150 pages), you’ll know more than most seminary students.
Visual Theology by Tim Challies
I was so excited for this book because I think the communication of philosophical ideas through visual means is the way of the future. As we increasingly become a more visual society (nearly every device in our home has video now), the generations to come will find new ways to communicate visually, and I want theology to be at the fore-front of that change.
Although there weren’t as many pictures as I would have liked, and there wasn’t as much depth (or nuance) as I would have appreciated – this book is a great start. It covers many majors theological items in simple, beautiful artwork. I’ve used it as a teaching tool a few times already, and my students have loved it.
I include this book as one of my top 7 because I hope it will begin a trend of more visuals in theological study.
Launch Your Dream by Dale Partridge
This book is honestly the reason Faithspring was able to launch so successfully. Dale is an entrepreneur at his deepest parts, and understands how to communicate the process of building a business with excellence.
While I don’t always agree with Dale’s other work, this is a resource I definitely recommend. It’s laid out in a 30-day format so that by the end of the book you have a solid foundation to grow your newly founded business.
If you have a dream or side hustle inside of you, you’ll want to check this one out.
Gift and Task by Walter Brueggemann
I chose to write in the devotional space first for a few reasons: they can be written quickly, Christians love to read them, and they’re not always the most theologically. Because of that last part, I knew I could add something unique to the space.
Well, Brueggemann – one of the greatest living theologians of our day – must have thought something similar because this book is a beast of a devotional and I am so thankful he took the time to write it.
One thing to know is that it is based upon a Liturgical Calendar, rather than our normal calendars. The pro of this is that you can use it any year and it will line up great. The downside is that for us outside of liturgical traditions will have to do a little more work as to where to start reading and when. But once you do, the context, like everything Dr. Brueggemann does, is brilliant.
Make Your Mark by Jocelyn K. Glei
I always love to pick up anthologies because there is wisdom in numbers, and a variety of voices can act like a great sounding board for your own ideas.
Make Your Mark is a collection from creative entrepreneurs and industry titans about what it takes to turn your skill into something that can truly reshape the world we live in. It covers everything from learning to ask the right questions, to how to recruit people who believe in you, and even tactics on leading other creatives.
It’s part of the 99U series – a collection I highly recommend adding to your library.
Let Go by Pay Flynn
This book is a re-release of Pat’s book which came out in 2013. Since then, he’s refined the story, added a few more chapters, and included some great artwork.
For me, the original marked a turning point in my life. For some reason, Pat’s story hit a nerve. I came across his work just as I was struggling on whether or not to pursue a PhD. As I’ve written in other places, it seems the tides were against me heading in that direction. And Pat’s book showed me that that was alright. That I could build a life of impact another way, a better way.
This new edition brought back all of those memories and solidified the feeling that I am on the right path.
Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
This book was a present from my wife for our wedding. I had heard numerous other pastors and mentors mention this book, so I was looking forward to getting my hands on it.
So far, I am very thankful we did! Although the book is meant to be read individually (like normal). My wife and I decided to read it aloud with one another. That way we could talk about it as we read along.
The stories in the book are often hilarious, heart-warming, and convicting all at the same time. He writes like an old friend, so even though the book may lead to difficult conversations, it always feels like an opportunity rather than an obligation. Whether you’re newly wed or not, this one is a must-read for any couple.
There you have it, my top 7 books of 2017! I hope at least one of these can help you on your own journey.
And I pray you have a wonderful Christmas season: filled with joy over what God has done, and hope in what God will do.