Each year I write a short post highlighting the top ten books I read that year, plus a few honorable mentions. I do this because I want to honor those worthy of honor, and also in the hopes that some of you might see a title or two that interests you. (Those who know me well know I love to get others reading excellent books!) So without further ado, here are the ten best books I read in 2022, in no particular order.
- The New Testament and the People of God, Jesus and the Victory of God, and The Resurrection of the Son of God, N.T. Wright. I’ll admit I’m cheating a bit with this one, since it’s actually three books, but I read a lot of really good books this year, so cut me some slack! Wright has his idiosyncrasies, no doubt, but that does nothing to diminish his prodigious intellect, delightful prose, or careful attention to the text. I learned so much about the background to the New Testament, as well as how to engage with Scripture generally.
- Puritan Theology, Joel Beeke and Mark Jones. I am a great fan of the Puritans, and Beeke and Jones do a masterful job of introducing the reader to the great Puritan writers and themes. Although this is a textbook, really, it reads very devotionally. I plan to return to this one many times.
- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace. At over 1000 pages, plus another 100 or so in footnotes, this novel is not for the faint of heart. But if you’re willing to put in the time and energy (this is not an easy read), it is immensely enjoyable. An incisive look at the many addictions (some socially acceptable, some not) people choose in order to “amuse themselves to death.”
- On Reading Well, Karen Swallow Prior. A delightful tour through some masterpieces (old and new) of literature, read in light of classical and Christian virtues. This book shaped a lot of my reading this year, as I made a point to read any of the works she discusses before I read the chapter discussing it.
- The Road, Cormac McCarthy. Not a pleasant read, by any means, but a powerful treatment of hope and humanity set in a post-apocalyptic world. The father-son relationship carries all the pathos and wisdom of Proverbs.
- The Imperfect Pastor, Zach Eswine. This was balm to a weary pastor’s heart. Healing and hope found in humility. Memorably, Eswine encourages us to repent not of our failure to be omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent, but of pretending that we could be.
- The Skeletons in God’s Closet, Joshua Ryan Butler. The finest treatment of judgment, hell, and holy war that I’ve read. Addresses many of the big questions and objections skeptics (and believers) are asking today with conviction, clarity, and charity.
- Jayber Crow, Wendell Berry. My first introduction to Berry’s work, and let’s just say I’ve already started another of his works. Berry has such keen insight into the human heart, and he writes with gentleness and grace. The devastating (anti-?)climax rips at the heart and makes you want to live differently.
- Rembrandt in the Wind, Russ Ramsey. A tour through an art gallery from the perspective of a pastor. Ramsey gives the backstory to many famous artists or paintings (which is fascinating in its own right), all the while drawing spiritual lessons from what he’s sharing. A different book, but very engaging. I couldn’t put it down.
- The Skeptical Believer, Daniel Taylor. Taylor’s prose is humorous and eloquent, and his treatment of struggling with doubt is necessary and insightful. Would recommend to anyone who is struggling in their faith, or anyone who simply wants to understand the struggle itself.
Honorable Mentions: Incomparable, Andrew Wilson. The Heart of Christ, Thomas Goodwin. Another Gospel? Alisa Childers. Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton. Pure in Heart, Garrett Kell. Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor, D.A. Carson. The Holiness of God, R.C. Sproul (This would’ve made the Top 10, except I was re-reading it). Before You Share Your Faith, Matt Smethurst. Precious Remedies for Satan’s Devices, Thomas Brooks. After Humanity, Michael Ward. The Gospel-Shaped Leader, Scott Thomas. The Air We Breathe, Glen Scrivener.