23 Books That Shaped This Decade
As we come to the end of the decade, we wanted to reflect on the books that we felt shaped us the most. We went back and forth on the title, unsure if we should use the adjectives “best” or “top” to describe the books. There were so many important and insightful books published in the past decade that we simply couldn’t include them all.
However, we decided on this title because it is undeniable that the following books had a considerable impact on Christians around the world this decade. Needless to say, we’re convinced the following books (in no particular order) are must-reads. (Please note some of the links below may contain affiliate links, which simply means we earn a humble commission on book purchases at no additional cost to you!)
In Radical, David Platt challenged an entire generation how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple–then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a “successful” suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus.
In this You Are What You Love, prolific author James K. A. Smith shows that who and what we worship fundamentally shape our hearts. And while we desire to shape culture, we are not often aware of how culture shapes us. We might not realize the ways our hearts are being taught to love rival gods instead of the One for whom we were made. Smith helps readers recognize the formative power of culture and the transformative possibilities of Christian practices. He explains that worship is the “imagination station” that incubates our loves and longings so that our cultural endeavors are indexed toward God and his kingdom.
In this thoughtful and challenging book, pastor, apologist, and author Timothy Keller invites skeptics to consider that Christianity is more relevant now than ever. As human beings, we cannot live without meaning, satisfaction, freedom, identity, justice, and hope. Christianity provides us with unsurpassed resources to meet these needs. Written for both the ardent believer and the skeptic, Making Sense of God shines a light on the profound value and importance of Christianity in our lives.
Drawing from the diversity of her life as a campus minister, Anglican priest, friend, wife, and mother, Tish Harrison Warren opens up a practical theology of the everyday. Each activity is related to a spiritual practice as well as an aspect of our Sunday worship. Come and discover the holiness of your every day. Each chapter looks at something―making the bed, brushing her teeth, losing her keys―that the author does every day.
Written by a teenager for teenagers, This Changes Everything is a deeply theological yet practical and accessible book on how the gospel radically transforms every aspect of the teen years, including pursuing relationships, managing time, combating personal sin, and cultivating healthy habits. In a culture awash with low expectations for young people, this book exhorts teenagers to embrace a gospel-centered perspective on their lives and pursue wholehearted devotion to Christ now.
With this story of her conversion as a backdrop, Rosaria Butterfield invites us into her home to show us how God can use this same “radical, ordinary hospitality” to bring the gospel to our lost friends and neighbors. Such hospitality sees our homes as not our own, but as God’s tools for the furtherance of his kingdom as we welcome those who look, think, believe, and act differently from us into our everyday, sometimes messy lives―helping them see what true Christian faith really looks like.
In Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart, J. D. shows that faulty ways of present- ing the gospel are a leading source of the confusion. Our presentations may not be heretical, but they are sometimes misleading. The idea of “asking Jesus into your heart” or “giving your life to Jesus” often gives false assurance to those who are not saved—and keeps those who genuinely are saved from fully embracing that reality.
Drawing from the insights of numerous thinkers, published studies, and his own research, writer Tony Reinke identifies twelve potent ways our smartphones have changed us—for good and bad. Reinke calls us to cultivate wise thinking and healthy habits in the digital age, encouraging us to maximize the many blessings, to avoid the various pitfalls, and to wisely wield the most powerful gadget of human connection ever unleashed.
In the three books “A Peculiar Glory“, “Reading the Bible Supernaturally“, and “Expository Exultation“, John Piper lays before us a plea to see the Word of God as it truly is. In his first book “A Peculiar Glory”, he defends the inerrancy, inspiration, and clarity of Scripture. In his second book, he answers the question: “how do I read the Bible and how ought I think about it?”. Finally, in the book “Expository Exultation”, he casts the vision for biblical preaching.
It is important that we put the Bible’s varied teachings together in a systematic fashion, using proper, time-tested methods of interpretation so as to arrive at a theology that is founded on truth.
That is precisely what Dr. Sproul does in Everyone’s a Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology. This book is anything but a dry discussion of minute points of doctrine. Dr. Sproul, demonstrating his trademark ability to make complex subjects easy to understand, surveys the basic truths of the Christian faith, reminding us once more of what God is like and of what He has done for His people in this world and the next.
The first volume in a 4-volume work combines rigorous historical and theological scholarship with application and practicality―characterized by an accessible, Reformed, and experiential approach.
This volume explores the first 2 of 8 central themes of theology: revelation and God. Each of the 55 chapters exegetes, expounds, and applies key portions of Scripture that lie at the heart of each doctrine discussed, and encourages engagement and worship through study questions and suggested hymns for response. The authors also draw upon the writings of church history throughout the ages, and interact with differing points of view.
Aimed at preparing you to clearly and confidently defend your faith, Expository Apologetics sets forth an approach to apologetics that is rooted in Scripture and eminently accessible. Filled with real-world examples and practical advice, this book will equip you with the tools you need to think biblically and converse persuasively―offering unbelievers “a reason for the hope that is in you.
Jeff Medders admits that he is quick to defend Calvinism, but often slow to humbly love Christians who take a different view. His warm-hearted, challenging (and surprisingly witty) book takes readers through the the five points of Calvinism, revealing that a true understanding has a humbling effect on our hearts, fueling a love of Christ and his people that builds others up, rather than tearing them down.
By revisiting the Marrow Controversy―a famous but largely forgotten eighteenth-century debate related to the proper relationship between God’s grace and our works―Sinclair B. Ferguson sheds light on this central issue and why it still matters today. In doing so, he explains how our understanding of the relationship between law and gospel determines our approach to evangelism, our pursuit of sanctification, and even our understanding of God himself.
All Christians know they should pray, but sometimes it’s hard to know how—especially if the minutes start to drag and our minds start to wander. Offering readers hope, encouragement, and the practical advice they’re looking for, this concise book by professor Donald Whitney outlines a simple, time-tested method that can help transform our prayer lives: praying the words of the Bible. Praying the Bible shows readers how to pray through portions of Scripture one line at a time, helping us stay focused by allowing God’s Word itself to direct our thoughts and words.
In his magnum opus, Os Guinness offers a comprehensive presentation of the art and power of creative persuasion. Christians have often relied on proclaiming and preaching, protesting and picketing. But we are strikingly weak in persuasion―the ability to talk to people who are closed to what we are saying. Actual persuasion requires more than a one-size-fits-all approach. Guinness notes, “Jesus never spoke to two people the same way, and neither should we.”
In Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, now expanded with bonus content, Nabeel Qureshi describes his dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity, complete with friendships, investigations, and supernatural dreams along the way.
Providing an intimate window into a loving Muslim home, Qureshi shares how he developed a passion for Islam before discovering, almost against his will, evidence that Jesus rose from the dead and claimed to be God.
Unable to deny the arguments but not wanting to deny his family, Qureshi struggled with an inner turmoil that will challenge Christians, Muslims, and all those who are interested in the world’s greatest religions.
Productivity isn’t just about getting more things done. It’s about getting the right things done–the things that count, make a difference, and move the world forward. In our current era of massive overload, this is harder than ever before. So how do you get more of the right things done without confusing mere activity for actual productivity? Matt Perman writes this insightful book on what it truly means to be productivity for the Kingdom.
We live in a visual culture. Today, people increasingly rely upon visuals to help them understand new and difficult concepts. The rise and stunning popularity of the Internet infographic has given us a new way in which to convey data, concepts and ideas.
As teachers and lovers of sound theology, Challies and Byers have a deep desire to convey the concepts and principles of systematic theology in a fresh, beautiful and informative way. In this book, they have made the deepest truths of the Bible accessible in a way that can be seen and understood by a visual generation.
As the culture changes all around us, it is no longer possible to pretend that we are a Moral Majority. That may be bad news for America, but it can be good news for the church. What’s needed now, in shifting times, is neither a doubling-down on the status quo nor a pullback into isolation. Instead, we need a church that speaks to social and political issues with a bigger vision in mind: that of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As Christianity seems increasingly strange, and even subversive, to our culture, we have the opportunity to reclaim the freakishness of the gospel, which is what gives it its power in the first place.
By exploring ten characteristics of who God is—holy, loving, just, good, merciful, gracious, faithful, patient, truthful, and wise—this book helps us understand who God intends for us to be. Through Christ, the perfect reflection of the image of God, we will discover how God’s own attributes impact how we live, leading to freedom and purpose as we follow his will and are conformed to his image.
Dr. Mohler was the driving force behind the transformation of Southern Seminary from a liberal institution of waning influence to a thriving evangelical seminary at the heart of the Southern Baptist Convention. Since then he has been one of the most prominent voices in evangelicalism, fighting for Christian principles and challenging secular culture. Using his own experiences and examples from history, Dr. Mohler demonstrates that real leadership is a transferring of conviction to others, affecting their actions, motivations, intuition, and commitment.