2013 was a great year for Christian readers, and today I want to share some of my top picks from the year that is swiftly drawing to a close. Let me offer a few caveats: First, these are almost certainly not the 8 best books of 2013 in any objective sense; rather, they are my favorites, the ones that have remained in my mind and impacted my life since I read them. Second, these are not necessarily books published in 2013, but books I read in 2013. Third, they are in no particular order. And finally, at the request of several readers I am posting this list before the end of the year because some people would like to refer to it as they do their Christmas shopping. Enjoy!
Finally Free by Heath Lambert. I consider pornography the foremost pastoral issue of our time. Finally Free is a very powerful and helpful resource for dealing with it. Lambert sets his sights high, and succeeds well: “In this book, I want to share with you the amazing depth and effect of Christ’s power to eradicate pornography from your life. Whether you struggle with pornography yourself or are trying to help someone who struggles, I have good news for you: no matter how intense or long-standing the struggle, it is the work of Jesus Christ to set people free from such sin.” Buy it, read it, live it. (my review)
Fierce Women by Kimberly Wagner. Biblical womanhood is a controversial topic among Christians today, and too often the descriptions of what we mean by it turn out to be mere caricatures. What I enjoyed about Wagner’s book is her vision of the women who are not wimpy but fierce. She writes about the beauty of fierceness, the beauty of strong women who use their strength to honor the Lord by honoring their husbands. (my review)
Resisting Gossip by Matthew Mitchell. Considering its power, its prevalence and its destructive nature, too few books have been written on the subject of gossip. Throughout this book Mitchell remains firmly grounded in Scripture and rigidly opposed to easy or moralistic or legalistic solutions. The fact is that gossip has no easy solution—it took the death and resurrection of Jesus to forgive it and it takes continually returning to the death and resurrection of Jesus to overcome it. This is a book that will benefit any reader and any church and I have referred to it often since reading it. (my review)
What Is the Meaning of Sex? by Denny Burk. This book provides a wide-ranging treatment of what the Bible says about sex and sexuality. This is not a guide to a better marriage and certainly not a bedroom how-to. Instead, it is a book that addresses sex in the big picture—the biggest possible picture—by discovering the ultimate purpose for sex and, from there, its many implications. It’s timely, helpful and drenched in Scripture. (my review)