Monday, December 21, 2009

Books to Read

In 2 Timothy 4:13, Paul instructs Timothy, "When you come, bring the cloak I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments."

In commenting on this verse, Charles Spurgeon famously noted about Paul, "He is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has been preaching at least for thirty years, and yet he wants books! He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He had had a wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things which it was unlawful for a men to utter, yet he wants books! He had written the major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books!"

I have a confession to make. Though I got decent grades, I was not a great student and certainly not a big reader back in my high school and college days. It drove me crazy in college that each semester I’d buy a bunch of books, hardly ever look at them, and at the end of the semester sell them back to the bookstore for about 20% of what I paid for them. I was a little slow, so it wasn’t until my final semester that I finally figured things out, skipped the whole process and didn’t actually buy any books.

I say this not because I am proud of it; exactly the opposite is true. I wish that I had been a more serious reader in my earlier years, because if I had, I’d be a better and more well-read reader today.

When I went to seminary after a decade-long hiatus from schooling, I found that reading was all of the sudden far more appealing than it had ever been. This was probably due in large part to the fact that I hungered to learn what was in these books, as opposed to the books I had to read in college. Perhaps it was due to my increased maturity (less likely). Maybe it was a combination of these and other reasons.

Whatever it was though, I do enjoy reading now, especially those books of a theological nature. That being said, I still do not read anywhere near as much as I’d like, and as I look forward to 2010, I hope to read more than I ever have.

I thought it might be helpful to both others and myself to have some suggestions as to what we should read. To that end, I’ve pulled together the following list from people who have blogged on their top books of 2009. While I might not agree with everything each of these people say, I do respect their opinions and plan on using them as a guide in my reading over the upcoming months.

Kevin DeYoung

Tim Challies

Zach Nielsen

Russell Moore

Trevin Wax

Keith Mathison

John Samson

Sam Storms