This year I read further out of my “comfort zone” (aka: theological non-fiction), and read less than I wanted to. 2022 had it’s challenges and joys (we added a 3rd child!), and both made it difficult to get through full books as much as I’d like.
Below is a list of 10 of my favorite reads from 2022 (and really I cheated because I added two book series to the bottom that I read front to back). Since it’s difficult to say which was my “favorite,” they’re not listed in any particular order.
I’d love to hear what your favorite reads were this year–maybe it will help inform my reading next year! Drop me a note in the comments below.
Dream Small: The Secret Power of the Ordinary Christian Life
By Seth Lewis
Seth is a relatively unknown author, but I’d imagine it won’t be that way for long. His writing is full of all the things your brain loves.
The world around you will constantly encourage you to follow your dreams. That’s not bad advice as far as it goes, but I’m asking you to pause first, and take the time to ask an important question that often gets overlooked: just where, exactly, are your dreams leading you? Before you follow your dreams, you need to aim them. And what will you aim them at? The default assumption which says that bigger dreams will always turn out better is simply not true. Where will you find better dreams?
We Go On: Finding Purpose in All of Life’s Sorrows and Joys
By John Onwuchekwa
John O is a blessing to the church. His ability to weave words together in ways that not only stand the test of intellectual rigor, but also make their dwelling place in your heart are potentially unmatched today. His writing (and speaking for that matter) are a gift.
Your work isn’t as secure of an investment as you think. It’s a gamble. And the one thing everyone learns in gambling is the house always wins. Even if you succeed, you’ll meet the same end as everyone else. Death is the great leveler.
All your life’s work is just that-your life’s work. You can’t take anything you build into the next life, and you can’t ensure the building won’t collapse once you leave. The Teacher hated his work for this very reason. He knew he wouldn’t even be able to rest in peace, ’cause eventually someone was going to undo his work, squandering his legacy and dishonoring his memory.p. 108
Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms
By Justin Whitmel Earley
If you’re a parent with young kids and want to be convicted to the heart, read this book.
Apparently, it is simply a human phenomenon that when we commit to certain smaller rhythms, a lot of other rhythms fall into place. This is fundamental wisdom for parents. It means that we parents who want to pattern our households in gospel formation should not just be looking for that one-off spiritual conversation that we hope our kids remember, we should be patterning our houses with the kinds of keystone family rhythms that turn kids into disciples of Jesus.
Holier Than Thou: How God’s Holiness Helps Us Trust Him
By Jackie Hill Perry
If you didn’t already know Jackie is a poet, you wouldn’t be able to read this book and still plead ignorance. Not only does her writing capture wonderful truth, but she strings sentences together in such a way that she’s able to adorn already beautiful truth with appropriately beautiful words.
God is altogether different than any being you have ever known or will ever know. Not to be compared with any. His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts. Literally. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts,” says the Holy One in Isaiah 55:9. You look at the dirt and see a home for your plants; He looked at it and knew He’d name it Adam.p. 77
Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution
By Carl R. Trueman
I didn’t have time to read this book’s big brother this year (hoping to get to it in 2023), but in a small space Trueman weaves a tapestry of history for readers with the hopes of helping us look at it and make sense of the present.
Religious institutions, family, and nation have even in the recent past been three fundamental external anchors for identity. They provided much of the fixity, and thus stability and authority, of the early modern world. In answer to the question, “Who am I?” each could give an answer: You are Carl Trueman, a Christian who is the son of John and English by birth. Once those three lose that authority or become problematic or even sources of shame, the question of my identity needs to find other anchors.p. 99
The Letters to Timothy and Titus
By Robert W. Yarbrough
I spent most of my devotional time this year in the Paul’s Pastoral Epistles to Timothy and Titus. This commentary was my favorite companion during the journey.
Avoiding or repudiating the bad may be necessary, but it is seldom an end in itself. The gospel empowers pursuit of the excellent in personal communion with God, not just forbidding wrong based on God’s law, a moralistic conception of what relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Christ calls for. For every No! in Paul there is generally a corresponding and relational Yes!p. 322
Analog Christian: Cultivating Contentment, Resilience, and Wisdom in the Digital Age
By Jay Y. Kim
In this follow-up to Jay’s excellent book Analog Church, Jay works his way through the fruit of the spirit to show how not just the church, but the Christian life is one of both spiritual and temporal truth.
Peace doesn’t come naturally. Human beings default to contempt. We regularly keep score of grievances, wrongs, and slights. We hold grudges. Contempt comes easy but peace requires effort, which is why Paul says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3).
You Are Not Your Own: Belonging to God in an Inhuman World
By Alan Noble
In a world that tells us we are our own, and our choices belong to us, Alan compels readers (and reminds Christians) to live in accordance to the truth that you belong to God.
Belonging in a community is contingent on fitting with the way you interpret the world. A church (or any other institution or community) can help you with the Responsibilities of Self-Belonging so long as it does not infringe on your self-belonging. But when it does, there is always another community ready to welcome you.p. 49
The Lord of the Rings
By J.R.R. Tolkien
I feel like I can finally call myself a Christian in public now that I’ve read through The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia.
But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.The Return of the King
The Chronicles of Narnia
By C.S. Lewis
While I felt as though I didn’t need to read these for how often I’ve heard them quoted, I now at least have full context for all of the quotes I’ve heard. But in all honesty, these were worth it and it’s obvious why so many preachers and authors quote them so frequently.
What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.The Magician’s Nephew
The Homiletical Plot: The Sermon as a Narrative Art Form, Eugene L. Lowry
What Do Deacons Do?, Juan R. Sanchez
Can Women Be Pastors?, Greg Gilbert