Here is an annotated list of the books I read in 2022:
1) Hawkeye: My Life As A Weapon by Matt Fraction
This is the primary source material for the Disney +/MCU series Hawkeye. The show does, in my opinion, a better job telling the story, but Fraction has done good work here. It’s an enjoyable story and while we don’t get much of an introduction to Kate Bishop, we do get some really good interaction between her and Clint Barton. A fun read, if not ultimately great.
2) Worthy: Celebrating the Value of Women by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Eric Schumacher
A fantastic exposition of the role women play in Scripture as it relates to God’s mission and coming Kingdom. While certainly inspired by the increasing awareness of harm done to women in Christian contexts, this book is focused on what Scripture demonstrates not on cultural trends. An excellent, encouraging, and correcting work.
3) The Person of Christ by Donald Macleod
Profound theological study on the person of Christ. While the book is a robust theological and academic work, it has such beautiful and even devotional aspects to it. I found myself often not just informed but moved by Macleod’s writing about our Savior. This is a great theological study which, while not an easy read, is a thoroughly enjoyable book.
4) The NIV Application Commentary: Deuteronomy by Daniel Block
Block does such a great job of bridging the distance between the ancient context and the modern context. He helped me to read and understand the text in light of the broader Biblical worldview and made some useful applications.
5) God’s Healing for Life’s Losses: How to Find Hope When You’re Hurting by Robert Kellemen
This might be the best book on grief I have ever read. Short, accessible, and structured in a tremendously helpful way. Kellemen utilizes the framework of the Kubler-Ross stages of grief model, but refines them in key Biblical ways, showing even pointed contrasts between Scriptures approach to navigating grief and the world’s common responses to grief. I loved this book and would highly commend it to anyone!
6) Grief: Walking with Jesus by Bob Kellemen
I confess that while I love Bob, and love his work on grief, I didn’t care for this devotional as much as I do his other work on the subject. He has good things to say but it largely feels like loosely compiled insights not structured counsel. As an addition to other works it may be a good tool but I’d prefer just to recommend God’s Healing for Life’s Losses.
7) The Complete Guide to Coaching Soccer System & Tactics by Jacob Daniel
I’ve never read any book on sports until this one but I really enjoyed it. Daniel does a great job of helping the less that familiar fan/coach to understand the basics and provide an overview of various systems and tactics. Glad I read it, even if I am not presently coaching.
8) Who Does the Dishes? Decision Making in Marriage by Winston Smith
A simple but insightful booklet on gender roles and misunderstandings surrounding the application of Biblical principles in marriage.
9) You Are Not Your Own: Belonging to God in an Inhuman World by Alan Noble
This easily became one of the top ten best books I have ever read. Noble’s ability to weave together cultural insights, theological truths, literature and life is impressive, enviable even. But this isn’t just good writing (it is), it’s a book that captures the moment so well that you’ll feel like your own frustration was just seen and understood. Noble doesn’t present us with simple answers to the stress and strain of creating your own significance, but he does point us to a massively important starting place.
10) Grief: Finding Hope Again by Paul David Tripp
This is a simple and encouraging little booklet on grief. Its practical tips are simple and accessible to those sorrowing, but the overall bent of the book is to provide encouragement in the midst of grief. Tripp provides this encouragement with tremendous skill, sensitivity, and insight. This is a sweet and gentle resource for those grieving.
11) The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert by John Gottman and Nan Silver
This is not a Christian book and yet the principles delineated in it are profoundly helpful. By God’s common grace, the Gottman’s have picked up on some key principles about developing character and relational intimacy that make a difference in healthy relationships and conflict resolution. This is possibly one of the best books on marriage I have ever read. It clearly borrows on Scriptural foundations (without perhaps realizing it) and provides helpful tools for evaluating marital health, and making personal changes.
12) What Should We Do About Members Who Won’t Attend? by Alex Duke
Our elder board recently read through this short and yet practical guide for navigating the challenges of absent church members. The emphasis is on shepherding and as a result Duke gives us a needed corrective to the pragmatic and negligent models of church membership that tend to be promoted today.
13) Do You Believe What God Says About You?: How A Right View of Your Identity in Christ Changes Everything by Steve Viars
I actually didn’t really care for this book. Its content is not bad, Viars is a good theologian, pastor, and counselor. But the writing centers around fictional dialogue as a case study in helping people connect to the truth of their identity as defined in Scripture. It read rather choppy, in my opinion, and isn’t a good example of a counseling book, a fictional book, or a case study.
14) When Pain is Real and God Seems Silent by Ligon Duncan
A very short but very honest work on our own struggles with God in the midst of suffering. Duncan helps us to see that Scripture actually addresses the frustrations, confusions, and heartache we feel when God seems silent amidst our sorrow. A good and brief read.
15) When Doctrine Divides the People of God: An Evangelical Approach to Theological Diversity by Rhyne Putman
Such a helpful look at theological methodology and the ways in which our own biases unintentionally shape our approach and create unnecessary divisions.
16) A Grief Sanctified: Through Sorrow to Eternal Hope by J.I. Packer
This is a fine book which J.I. Packer pulled together. It gives readers insights into Puritan marriage and into the way in which Christians of past generations faced loss and grief. If it’s not the most compelling read it’s still a good book. Using the life and loss of Puritan Richard Baxter, Packer gives modern Christians some guidance on how to navigate their own sorrow and mourning.
17) Grief: Learning to Live with Loss by Howard Eyrich
This is a good little booklet. Eyrich is honest about not being able to satisfy all the questions readers may have in such a short treatment of the subject, but he covers a lot in these pages. I appreciate his use of Biblical examples, his sensitivity and pastoral care to the reader, and his encouragement to be patient with ourselves and the process. There are things Eyrich says here that I don’t hear often enough in Biblical Counseling circles.
18) What God Has To Say About Our Bodies: How the Gospel is Good News for Our Physical Selves by Sam Allberry
A wonderful book and easily one of the best/most accessible theologies of the body you will ever read.
19) Resourcing Theological Anthropology: A Constructive Account of Humanity in the Light of Christ by Marc Cortez
A highly academic but incredibly profound work on how Christ’s humanity is a model for our own! I loved this book and wish I had read it years ago!
20) Help! Our Sex Life Is Troubled By Past Abuse by Nate Brooks and Anna Mondal
A merciful and caring guide for couples who face the complications from one spouse’s past sexual trauma. Brooks and Mondal give both insight and tools within this short little booklet.
21) Safeguards: Shielding Our Homes and Equipping Our Kids by Julie Lowe
Krista and I were blessed to read this and get to write an endorsement! This is such a practical and helpful guide for parents, youth pastors, and teachers! I know of no other resource quite like it.
22) When Home Hurts: A Guide for Responding Wisely to Domestic Abuse in the Church by Jeremy Pierre and Greg Wilson
Such a needed book written by excellent counselors and pastors. Written specifically with the church in mind this is a tool to give strategies for pastors and church leaders as they seek to loving confront and care for those involved in domestic violence situations.
23) Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies For Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark
A great resource for improving writing. So many useful and concise descriptions of writing strategies. Clark identifies the distinguishing features of good writing and then gives practical exercises to help readers see this themselves and develop such practices.
24) God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of Christ by Stephen J. Wellum
Wellum is a masterful theologian and leaves no stone unturned in his analysis of this vital doctrine. This is an academic work and yet an important contribution to the current literature on the doctrine of Christ. Readers won’t agree with every conclusion of Wellum (I certainly didn’t) but they will certainly have to wrestle with his well reasoned arguments.
25) Gender Ideology: What Do Christians Need to Know? by Sharon James
This was just an okay book. It is written with conviction and presents a concise look at the key issues surrounding transgenderism. Dr. James represents the concerns I have about transgender ideology and education, and she presents the alternative perspective from God’s Word. Yet, the book will do little more than comfort those already convinced of her arguments. I wish it had provided more detail, attempted to be more persuasive, and give more robust defenses than it does. In the end I may agree with her conclusions but I don’t find the book all that useful.
26) Embodied: Transgender Identities, the Church, and What the Bible Has to Say by Preston Sprinkle
Preston Sprinkle writes with both knowledge and winsomeness. He clearly knows his subject and brings a great deal of clarity and insight to the subject. At the same time he never uses his wisdom to be cruel or insulting to others. He writes with intense compassion and care. Like his book on homosexuality this volume is a great tool in the hands of those who care to grow in both truth and grace.
27) Gender Identity & Faith: Clinical Postures, Tools, and Case Studies for Client-Centered Care by Mark Yarhouse & Julia Sadusky
This is a volume intended to help clinical counselors of different religious affiliations help counselees who come from specifically Protestant backgrounds. It’s a guide of sorts. There’s some good information here and some helpful strategies for all sorts of counselors, but I confess there’s some suggestions here by Yarhouse and Sandusky that I cannot agree with. Readers will want to wrestle with some his assumptions and conclusions regarding best practices.
28) Understanding Gender Dysphoria: Navigating Transgender Issues in a Changing Culture by Mark Yarhouse
This was a second reading for me and I really do enjoy this book. It’s probably the most thorough exploration of the topic by a professing Christian from a counseling background. Yarhouse has a ton of experience caring for individuals in this area of struggle and provides readers real help for their own counseling practices
29) Affirming God’s Image: Addressing the Transgender Question with Science and Scripture by J. Alan Branch
Branch does an excellent job of responding to common objections to traditional Christian views on gender and biology. He answers objections with an eye toward both scientific research/data and Scriptural texts. He does all of this with compassion and yet directness. A great read to help Christians navigate the modern conversation.
30) Transgender by Vaughan Roberts
This short book provides some talking points and guidance on what is a complex and heated topic. It certainly won’t be compelling to the non-Christian, but to the Christian reader this is a short and useful introduction. Worth the few minutes it will take to read it.
31) Jesus & Gender: Living as Sisters & Brothers in Christ by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Eric Schumacher
I really wanted to like this book but I didn’t. In an effort to correct a genuine issue within the church Fitzpatrick and Schumacher have flattened out all gender distinctions in Scripture, and offered up simplistic arguments. The development of their thesis I felt lacked solid support, which is a shame, because I think there are many aspects of their argument which I agree with and which can be defended Scripturally. They simply didn’t do a good job in writing this book.
32) Embodied by Greg Allison
More than just a theology of the body, this is a theology of “embodiment.” Embodiment considers how God has made us and calls us to engage physically in the world around us. What does it look like to use our bodies as God intended, to honor Him, and to fulfill his calling upon our lives? This is the question the book explores across its thirteen chapters. Allison does a great job in this book of providing lots of insights, and making them accessible to modern readers. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
33) Angry with God: An Honest Journey Through Suffering and Betrayal by Brad Hambrick
Another one of my favorite books from the year. Packed into this short book is not just compassionate counsel for dealing with grief stuck in the stage of anger, but great tools for analyzing and understanding our hurt.
34) The Man Christ Jesus: Theological Reflections on the Humanity of Christ by Bruce Ware
This is my second time reading through this book and I really appreciate how Ware develops his thesis that Christ’s incarnation was lived out in his humanity by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is well reasoned, well articulated, and compelling. I might not agree with everything he articulates here, but overall I found this is a helpful and highly accessible theological resource.
35) Tempted for Us: Theological Models and the Practical Relevance of Christ’s Impeccability and Temptation by John E. McKinley
Here is a much more robust defense of the view that Christ resisted temptation by the power of the Holy Spirit and the relational grace of God! This was a very detailed, insightful, and refreshing book. I was captivated by McKinley’s presentation. The book provided for me better theological explantations for the challenges of Christ’s impeccability and temptation than any other theological model has in the past.
36) What About Evil? A Defense of God’s Sovereign Glory by Scott Christensen
This was an extremely well-written and, in my opinion, well argued book. The so-called problem of evil is a real dilemma for all Christians. Christensen shows that no theological view escapes this problem (not even an atheistic view), but he shows how those theological positions that hold to a high view of God’s sovereignty are better equipped to explain evil and navigate the bulk of Biblical data. It’s a fairly accessible read. A work of this philosophical nature cannot avoid all technical discussions, but I was really impressed with how Christensen explains things. I believe many readers will benefit from this work if they can tolerate its length (471 pages).
37) A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
People have been talking to me about this book for a while and I finally decided to read it. I am so glad I did. What a captivating read. Towles’ prose is beautiful and he can make even a conversation between two characters over the rules of being a princess utterly captivating. His ability to describe scenes and settings is stunning and I often felt I was sitting in the very room where the story unfolds.
38) Deeper: Real Change for Real Sinners by Dane Ortlund
I am still working on finishing this one up, but what a great follow up to Gentle & Lowly. Here is a volume that helps us to see the relationship between intimacy with Christ and sanctification. Ortlund does a good job of encouraging our efforts at spiritual growth while pointing out that it is not merely our work that changes us, but an increasingly deeper relationship with Jesus which promotes our change.
39) Assurance: Resting in God’s Salvation by William Smith
This thirty-one-day devotional offers gracious counsel for the doubting and struggling soul. Smith does a wonderful job of knowing some of the insecurities of the reader and taking them to Scripture in an effort to dispel such insecurities. Whether struggle with anxiety, guilt, or doubt, this study can be a balm to the soul. It won’t, of course, fix all your questioning and wrestling, but combined with good discipleship it can be a tremendous tool.
Dave – I just discovered your 2022 reading list, and was amused to discover that you had read A Gentleman in Moscow. I read it last year, and it was the first novel I had picked up in probably 20 years, and then only at the insistence of my sister in law, who raved about it. I agree with you, Towles paints some stunning scenes in his story, and it was a quite enjoyable read. I found myself especially drawn to the scenes of Soviet nomenklatura exercising power, because they were reportedly portrayed with some historical accuracy, and precisely as I imagined they might be. So that was both captivating and frightening.
You have also grabbed my attention with your praise for ‘You Are Not Your Own,’ and I will be looking for a copy of that for my own bookshelf. Also interested in ‘Resourcing Theological Anthropology,’ and note the recent news in archaeology, that the Pool of Siloam has been substantially excavated south of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and is open for public access or soon will be. Apparently this is the place Jesus healed a blind man for the glory of God, and it had been lost until a recent excavation for purposes of moving fresh water accidentally discovered the place. So not exactly theological anthropology, but another testament to the truth of the Gospel. Here’s a link to ‘The Greek Reporter’ article from today. https://greekreporter.com/2023/01/03/pool-siloam-open-jerusalem-after-2000-years/