One of the great joys of being a pastor is that taking time to read books is part of the job. You cannot effectively teach, shepherd, rebuke, exhort, and develop yourself in mind and heart without reading good books. The great British preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “Give yourself unto reading. The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. You need to read.”
So here’s a reading list for me this year. There are 26 books, not counting fiction. Here’s a few things, off the top of my head, to consider as you examine my list.
- These are not the best books out there or the “most important” books of all time. Some of these books I have on my shelf that I have yet to read. A couple are books I need to re-read. Most are books that I feel like I personally need to read (for any number of reasons).
- There are not a lot of new titles and I don’t have a lot of room for books coming out in 2014. I am not biased against newer books, but there are a lot of older books and timeless classics I should read.
- At the same time, I will probably read a book that isn’t on this list. A review copy will probably come my way that I’ll read through quickly. I try to be very selective with new books simply because there are hoards of them that are released every month! I simply can’t keep up.
- This is a big list. But I’m a husband, a dad, and a pastor, and I also enjoy being around people. So, the reality is that I will not read them all. In fact, I hope I don’t. I hope to read a few of them really well rather than plow through just to say I read a lot.
- I need to read more fiction. I’m working on it, and I hope I come across a few good fiction works this year to enjoy.
- I need to books in other disciplines. I have a lot of theology here, but I need to read some stuff in business, sociology, philosophy, etc.
- You shouldn’t read a book just because it’s on my list. Many of these books have to do with my job or things you are just not interested in.
- You should read a few books that are on my list. Reading a book that is more pastoral or theological in nature will do at least two things: it will 1) stretch your intellectual capacity, and 2) build a bridge for conversation with your pastor.
- This all might change in a blink of an eye. I may scrap this list or much of it and add other books. Come spring, I may want a lot more spiritual formation or ethics or something else. So, I hold this list with an open hand.
Also, do us all a favor and leave a comment letting us know about a few books that are on your must read list for 2014.
Luther, Introduction to Romans
Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb
Kidner, Psalms 1-72 & Psalms 73-150
McGrath, Historical Theology
Shelley, Church History in Plain Language
Chapell, Christ-Centered Preaching
Lloyd-Jones, Preacher and Preachers
Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (I will take all of 2014 to work through this. You can too!)
Packer, Knowing God
Edwards, The End for Which God Created the World
Carson, Exegetical Fallacies
Henry, The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism
Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
Bray, The Doctrine of God
Lewis, Abolition of Man
Sproul, The Consequences of Ideas
Sire, The Universe Next Door
Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society
Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant
Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor
Smith, Desiring the Kingdom
Collins, The Hunger Games (3)
Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia (6)
Various short stories and poems
Adler, How to Read a Book
Meeker, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters
Collins, Good to Great