50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die – John Piper (2006). Read daily for Lenten reflections; it’s conveniently broken into 50 brief chapters. It is thoroughly biblical, clear, and concise. Solid reminders of the gospel’s application to every facet of life.
The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1880). A magnificent pillar of Western literature, and for good reason. His engaging story combines with profound philosophical and spiritual explorations of human nature, depravity, forgiveness, free will, and the existence of God.
A Confederacy of Dunces – J.K. Toole (1980). A brilliant comedy of errors. Set in New Orleans, Toole tells the adventures of the misunderstood and incredibly comical protagonist, Ignatius Reilly. The title comes from Jonathan Swift’s saying, “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign: that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.” A great read.
The Doctrine of Repentance – Thomas Watson (1668). Repentance isn’t an easy concept to grasp. It involves the whole heart, mind, and body turning from sin and to Christ. A great book with a clear, though many-pointed, outline.
The Gospel-Driven Life: Being Good-News People in a Bad-News World – Michael Horton (2009). The follow-up book that discusses the solutions posed in his masterful Christless Christianity. Horton convincingly, passionately, and biblically argues for a recovery of the gospel in faith and practice in all aspects of the church’s life. Not his best work (at times repetitive and tedious), but solid, convicting, and encouraging.
Knowing Scripture – R.C. Sproul (audio; 1977). I’m not the biggest audiobook fan, as I have trouble focusing, but Sproul offers helpful, practical ways for people to grow their knowledge of Scripture. A typical Sproul work in its winsomeness, helpfulness, and concise clarity.
Minority Report: Unpopular Thoughts on Everything from Ancient Christianty to Zen Calvinism – Carl Trueman (2007). A fantastic collection of essays on topics from modern evangelicalism, worship, postmodernism, conversions to Roman Catholicism, and the Psalms. An amazing writer, Trueman is witty, polemical, biblical, and philosophical. I wish I was as well-read and well-rounded as he is.
Reforming Marriage – Doug Wilson (1995). Elizabeth and I read this together, and loved it. Wilson cuts to the core of what a God-glorifying, biblical marriage is. Unlike other Christian writers on marriage, Wilson gives hard and fast biblical examples of what biblical submission, headship, and obedience look like. “Godly marriages proceed from obedient hearts, and the greatest desire of an obedient heart is the glory of God.” Highly recommended for couples of all ages (married, engaged, or courting).
Through New Eyes: Developing a Biblical View of the World – James Jordan (1988). Great book on biblical symbolism, creation, God, man, and the world. I learned the most from this book out of all the books this winter. It’s also given me a greater thirst for and love of Scripture.
Why Johnny Can’t Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers – T. David Gordon (2009). An excellent, short monograph on how our media-dominated culture has birthed a dearth of even mediocre sermons. Written with the pastor in mind, but recommended for a wide audience. Laments the fact that we can’t read or write properly anymore, but we are not beyond help. A recovery of the ability to read texts and compose thoughtful discourses should be high on all of our to-do lists.