If you are looking for a book to challenge you, look no further than Drew Dyck’s Yawning at Tigers. The title is catchy, but the content is even more insatiable. No book I read in 2014 caused more self-reflection and spiritual evaluation in my life than this book. Dyck shakes up the status quo in our lackluster and often irreverent approach to God.
This was the last book I read in 2014, and maybe the best. It was at least the most enjoyable book I read. I can’t remember having more fun reading a non-fiction book. Matt Papa crosses mediums well by using his poetic brilliance as a songwriter to bring a powerful book about awakening to the incomparable joy that is found in Jesus.
3. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas
I love biographies. I read at least five in 2014. Eric Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer was by far the best. Metaxas caused me to fall in love with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, so much so that my wife and I nearly named our first son after him. In my experience with biographies, they can be thrilling or they can be better than a lullaby at drawing you into a deep sleep. Bonhoeffer is no lullaby. It is a journey about one man’s phenomenal life. One that I will return to again and again.
4. Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids by Jack Klumpenhower
This book was one of those books that I practically kept returning to in my ministry to children. In 2014, my pastor gave me the privilege of implementing a new teaching ministry within the children’s ministry. Much of what I learned in this book helped shape the framework of that ministry. Show Them Jesus is a grace-filled book that urges children’s ministry leaders to be gospel-centered in all of their work with kids. If you minister to kids in any way, don’t miss this book!
5. PROOF: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace by Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones
Whether you identify as a Calvinist or otherwise, you will benefit, as I have, from reading this excellent and fresh look at the doctrines of grace. What I love most about PROOF is that is clearly communicates the supreme graciousness of Calvinism. It shows the preciousness of this theological system and accurately conveys the goodness of the God who is sovereign over salvation.
Kevin DeYoung has become one of my favorite modern authors. I love his candor, humor, and theologically precise and relevant mind. He says things in such a way that forces me to listen. I have learned much from him. In Taking God at His Word, DeYoung is at his best as he provides a case for the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture.
7. The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser
Written in the 16th century, The Faerie Queene is a classic work of fiction that inspired both Tolkien and Lewis. I can see why. I came across this gem at the beginning of 2014 and fell in love with the story. It has it all. Knights, dragons, a fair lady, magic, sorcery, and heroism. I urge you to dive into this great work of literature.
8. Keeping the Heart: How to Maintain Your Love for God by John Flavel
Easily the most quotable (or tweetable) book I read in 2014. Puritan John Flavel teaches with passion how to guard your heart against sin. An incredibly sanctifying read.
9. Truth Matters: Confident Faith in a Confusing World by Andreas Kostenberger, Darrell Bock, and Josh Chatraw
Though this book was primarily directed toward high school and college students, in my opinion it is a must read for every Christian struggling with doubt over some crucial things to the faith, like the validity of the Bible. I found myself recommending this book more than any other in 2014.
10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Yes, I admit it. I hadn’t read Tolkien and his wonderful tale of Middle Earth, the Baggins’, and the ring until recently. Despite my cultural blindness, my eyes have seen the light, and my literary soul leapt for joy while reading this classic. No need of a recommendation from me.
Mathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba. You can follow him on Twitter @Mat_Gilbert.