I love to read.  I guess I always have.  One of my earliest memories of reading was a little picture Bible set.  I nearly wore out the Joshua and Judges book of the collection!  Joshua’s battle at Jericho, Gideon, Sampson… all those guys, stirred the hearts of a little boy.  

So, as I’ve continued to read through the years, I thought I’d share the top five books I’ve encountered in 2016.  These aren’t all new books, nor did I read them all cover to cover (as I note below).  However, maybe one of these books will give you encouragement in 2017.  If so, this post was worth writing.

 My top 5 books of 2016


1. Knowing God by J.I. Packer

The title says it all.  It is a book that is deeply theological, without being theological!  In other words, it is written in plain English, by a master teacher and theologian that is writing simply to teach and explain.  He does not veer into making assumptions about God, but gives a clear and concise picture based on the Holy Bible.

2. I Am a Church Member by Thom Rainer

Rainer gives a very practical application to what it means to be part of a church.  This is a small book, with short chapters which makes it very readable.  I preached through the themes of this book using key Biblical Scriptures to guide the sermons during part of this year.  We made copies of this book available to the church and they seemed to go like hotcakes!  The congregation could go week to week with the chapters and then have further discussion of the chapter/sermon in our Sunday School classes.

3. Hebrews in the Holy Bible supervised by God, earthly author- unknown

In my private devotional reading in the Bible, I recently finished Hebrews.  I find it somewhat puzzling, but incredibly wonderful at the same time.  The warning passages push my theology, which is a good thing.  When the Bible pushes on us, it is always good as we grow and are stretched.  Jesus Christ as the perfect high priest is a great theme and comfort to draw on from the book.  There is sufficient practical application at the end to keep a person pressing ahead and not letting the book’s ideas become abstract theory.

4. Leap Over a Wall: Earthy Spirituality for Everyday Christians by Eugene H. Peterson

(currently reading)

Earthy is a great word, that seldom gets combined with Christian spirituality.  It seems we have a great divide between “church” (the building, worship services, and activities there) and our “secular” life.  Peterson takes the reader on a great journey through the life of King David, who was “just” a layman.  He reveals that Christian spirituality is lived out day to day in the activities of life.  I’ve always been a fan of Peterson’s writing style and this book does not disappoint.  I am greatly enjoying this book!


5. Selections from the Holy Bible (Biblical books make the list again!)

The book of Titus– I was impressed with the number of times the words “sound doctrine” and “self-control” were used in the book.  Seems like we need a healthy dose of both of those things in our lives.


John 1:14a, “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood” (MSG).  This verse gets my attention every Christmas to ponder the wonder that God took on flesh and lived among us.


Joshua 23:8 “But you are to hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have until now.”  This verse ties in with Joshua 24:15 to choose the LORD.  Choose the LORD and cling to Him.  He won’t leave you, you can trust Him.  So, hold fast to Him.

That’s my top five for the year, with a heavy emphasis on the Scriptures.  I look forward to reading in 2017.  How about you?  What did you enjoy reading in 2016?