Image: My favorite bookstore discovered in 2011: Riverby Books in Frederickburg, Virginia
Time for my annual reading review. You can view past reading lists from 2008
, and 2010
. Here are ten of the top books I read in 2011 (in no particular order):
1. William O. Einwechter, English Bible Translations: By What Standard? (Chapel Library, 2010): 52 pp.
This little booklet is the best short treatment I have found on the importance of the traditional original language texts in choosing an English Bible translation. You can get cheap copies from Chapel Library. I have given many away in 2011.
2. W. Gary Crampton, From Paedobaptism to Credobaptism: A Critique of the Westminster Standards on the Subjects of Baptism (RBAP, 2010): 126 pp.
This is a solid defense of believer’s baptism written by a former paedobaptist. Great book to share with our Presbyterian friends.
3. Albert N. Martin, Preaching In the Holy Spirit (Reformation Heritage Books, 2011): 67 pp.
A great booklet on preaching that can really only be understood by preachers. Reads like a Puritan work.
4. John Owen, Spiritual Mindedness (as revised by R. J. K. Law) (Banner of Truth, 2009; original 1681): 249 pp.
Owen was my “Puritan of the Year” for 2011. This extended meditation on Romans 8:6 (“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”) is devotional gold. As with much of Owen, it must be read slowly and not all at once.
5. Joel R. Beeke and Anthony T. Selvaggio, Sing a New Song: Recovering Psalm Singing for the Twenty-First Century (Reformation Heritage, 2010): 19 pp.
A stimulating anthology of articles on the importance of psalm singing in Scripturally regulated worship.
6. John Murray, Romans, Vol. I (Eerdmans, 1959): 408 pp.
Murray has been my companion over the last several years as I have preached through Romans. I completed Volume I in 2011 and will be working on Volume II in 2012. Murray writes in devotional prose, expounding and exploring the heights and depths of this greatest of Paul’s epistles.
7. D. C. Parker, Codex Sinaiticus: The Story of the World’s Oldest Bible (The British Library/Hendricksen, 2010): 195 pp.
D. C. Parker is perhaps the world’s most influential academic text critic. Though I do not agree with his conclusions on NT text criticism, this book is a valuable introduction on a popular level to this very influential early codex and to its recent online version. Most interesting is Parker’s demythologizing of the legends surrounding Tichendorf’s discovery of this ancient manuscript at St. Catherine’s Monastery at Mt. Sinai.
8. John Owen, The True Nature of a Gospel Church and Its Government, in Volume 16 of The Works of John Owen (Banner of Truth, 1968 reprint): pp. 1-208.
This book has shaped my convictions on ecclesiology more than anything I have ever read, beyond Scripture. I re-read it this year after first reading it in 2009. Look for more from me on this book in 2012.
9. John Bunyan, The Jerusalem Sinner Saved: Good News for the Vilest of Men (Reiner Pub., 1968): 112 pp.
A lesser known Bunyan classic. The “Jerusalem Sinner” is the chief and worst of sinners, but God delights in saving such men to show the better his glory. A humbling work.
10. R. L. Dabney, The Life and Campaigns of Stonewall Jackson (Sprinkle Reprint, 1983): 742 pp.
I read this book in honor of the beginning of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War (aka, The War Between the States) in 2011 (1861-1865). Who could not be stirred by the piety of Jackson?
Here are some other notable reads in 2011:
John Owen: Mortification of Sin (orig. 1656; Banner of Truth, 2004) [re-read]; Communion with God (Banner of Truth, 1991); The Holy Spirit (Banner of Truth, 1998);
Other Puritans: Thomas Watson, The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12 (Banner of Truth, 1971; orig. 1660); Henry Scougal, The Life of God in the Soul of Man (Sprinkle, 2005); Thomas Watson, Heaven Taken by Storm (orig. 1669; Northampton Press, 2007).
Banner “Pocket Puritans”: John Flavel, Binge Drinking (2008); Thomas Brooks, United We Stand (2009); John Flavel, Sinful Speech (2009); John Flavel, Impure Lusts (2008); Thomas Brooks, Repent and Believe (2008)
Text and Translation of Scripture: James B. Williams, Gen. Ed. From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man: A Layman’s Guide to How We Got Our Bible (Ambassador-Emerald International, 1998); Leland Ryken, The Legacy of the King James Bible: Celebrating 400 Years of the Most Influential English Translation (Crossway, 2011); Robert B. Stewart, Ed. The Reliability of the New Testament: Bart D. Ehrman and Daniel B. Wallace in Dialogue (Fortress, 2011); Gordon Clark, Logical Criticisms of Textual Criticism (Trinity Foundation, 1986); C. P. Hallihan, The Authorised Version: A Wonderful and Unfinished History (TBS, 2010);
Bible Study: James Montgomery Boice, Romans, Vol. 2 (Baker, 1992); James Montgomery Boice, Romans, Vol. 3 (Baker, 1993); John MacArthur, Beware the Pretenders [A Study of Jude] (Victor, 1980); Dale Ralph Davis, 1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart (Christian Focus, 2000); Matthew Poole, “Commentary on 1 Samuel.”
Biography and Church History: Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (Thomas Nelson, 2010); S. M. Houghton, My Life and Books (Banner of Truth, 1988); Iain Murray, John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock (Banner of Truth, 2011); David Teems, Majestie: The King Behind the King James Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2010); Paul Brewster, Andrew Fuller: Model Pastor-Theologian (B & H, 2010); John Rippon, A Brief Memoir of the Life and Writings of the Late Rev. John Gill, D. D. (Sprinkle Pub., 2006); Michael Haykin, A Cloud of Witnesses: Calvinsistic Baptists in the 18th Century (Evangelical Times, 2006);
Theology and Ministry: David Engelsma, Hyper-Calvinism and the Call of the Gospel (RFPA, 1980); Bruce A. Ray, Celebrating the Sabbath: Finding Rest in a Restless World (P & R, 2000); David Murray, Christians Get Depressed Too (Reformation Heritage, 2010); William Rushton, A Defense of Particular Redemption (orig., 1831; Primitive Publications, n. d.); Greg Nichols, Covenant Theology: A Reformed and Baptistic Perspective on God’s Covenants (Solid Ground, 2011); Carl R. Trueman, Reformation: Yesterday, Today, and Forever (Christian Focus, 2000, 2011);
Miscellaneous non-theological: W. S. Davis, A Day in Old Athens (Biblo and Tannen Reprint, 1960); Mark Steyn, After America: Get Ready for Armageddon (Regnery, 2011); Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Scholastic, 2007).
Other notable booklets, tracts, and pamphlets: Richard Bennet, From Tradition to Truth: A Priest’s Story (Chapel Library, 1998); Peter Masters, Your Reasonable Service in the Lord’s Work (Sword & Trowel, 1987, 1994); Peter Masters, The Power of Prayer Meetings (Sword & Trowel, 1995, 2011); Peter Masters, The Purpose of the Lord’s Supper (Sword & Trowel, 1995, 2011).