Well, it is that time of year when I release my yearly reading plan. As many of you know, several years ago I began developing an intentional reading list for the year. Each year I select a variety of reading categories in order to ensure a more balanced diet of reading. I share my list in the hope you might find a good book or reading category to add to your reading list.
My reading list is divided into five categories this year: (1) discipleship, (2) family, (3) ministry, (4) history, and (5) literature. Each category is further divided into several subcategories. For each subcategory, I have included my chosen book as well as a brief reason for choosing it.
Christian Living. The Gospel According to Satan: Eight Lies about God that Sound Like the Truth by Jared Wilson. Over the past several years I have relearned a very important truth: subtle heresy is more dangerous than blatant heresy. This is why I chose The Gospel According to Satan which outlines and describes eight of these more subtle heresies and their implications for the Christian’s life.
A Christian Classic. Knowing God by J.I. Packer. Knowing God may be the classic’s classic. While it is not very old, it is has become a staple on numerous bookshelves. With the passing of J.I. Packer last year, I felt it was time to give this classic a reread and once again dive into the great doctrines of the person of God.
Apologetics. He is There and He is Not Silent by Francis Schaeffer. Al Mohler has spoken about the importance of this book in his life and ministry. While searching for a book on apologetics for this year, I decided to give this one a read.
A Christian Biography. Spurgeon: A New Biography by Arnold Dallimore. There have been several biographies written about Spurgeon; however, many of these are longer works. While I am not usually shy about taking on a longer books, I decided to read Dallimore’s shorter biography on the Prince of Preachers, Charles H. Spurgeon.
Theology. Baptism in the New Testament by G.R. Beasley-Murray. This year I decided to dive into the issue of baptism. I debated reading several different books, but finally landed on Beasley-Murrary’s. If time permits, I also intend to read Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ edited by Thomas Schreiner and Shawn Wright, in addition to several articles and smaller works throughout the year.
Marriage. Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel by Ray Ortlund. As I searched for a book on marriage I was tempted to find one to reread and then I found this book in my kindle books. Since I like Ray Ortlund and since I have it, I thought I might as well read it.
Parenting. Family Discipleship: Leading Your Home through Time, Moments, and Milestones by Matt Chandler and Adam Griffin. This past year Matt Chandler released a book about family discipleship. Since I am an avid reader about family discipleship and I like Matt Chandler…well you can figure out why I choose this book.
Manhood. A Guide to Biblical Manhood by Randy Stinson and Dan Dumas. Several years ago I picked up this small book on manhood. I set it on my shelf with the intention to read it one day and then forgot about it until a recent conversation; afterward, I walked over to my computer and added it to my 2021 reading list.
Student Ministry. Youth Ministry in the 21st Century edited by Greg Stier. While I was on quarantine in November I researched books on student ministry. I found several newer-ish books that looked good and put them all on my To Read list. I wish I could offer some deep and profound reason as to why I choose this book, but I chose this book simply by playing eeny meeny miny moe through my student ministry reading list.
Counseling. Competent to Counsel: An Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling by Jay Adams. This has been on my To Read list for a while. I have been intrigued by the Nouthetic counseling model for a while and I am excited to discover more about the approach.
Education. The Training of the Twelve: How Jesus Found and Taught the 12 Apostles by A.A. Bruce. The Training of the Twelve was recommended to me several years ago while I was in seminary. I thought about reading it several times, but I just kept putting it off. This is the beauty of my intentional reading plan: forcing myself to read books on my To Read list.
Contemporary Issue. Two Views on Homosexuality, the Bible, and the Church by Zondervan. The most frequently asked questions I get revolve around the issue of homosexuality and the Bible. As such, I try to read a lot about this issue. I chose the Counterpoints book because it provides an examination of the biblical debate and offers a broad overview regarding the various positions.
Church. Worship by the Book edited by D.A. Carson. I cannot say much about this book other than it is another book that has been on my To Read list for a while.
Leadership. Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders by David Marquet. I am driving in my car one day and a friend calls and excitedly asks me if I have ever read this book. After singing its praises for a couple of minutes, he finishes with, “Dude, you need to read this book!” And so now I’m reading this book.
Biography. John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit by James Traub. Several years ago I began a journey to read a biography on every president. A couple of years ago I began reading through the remaining presidents in chronological order and John Quincey Adams is next.
Story from History. Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II by Adam Makos and Larry Alexander. I first heard about Adam Makos on a Podcast. Soon after I read the book he was discussing and instantly liked both his style and his stories. While I do not want Makos to take over my history category, I had to add this book to my reading list for 2021.
Church History. An Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation by Michael Reeves and Mark Dever. I have read biographies and theological histories surrounding the reformation, but I have also wanted to read a big picture overview of the reformation. I came across this shorter book this past year and decided to give it a try.
Literary Fiction. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Over the past three years, I read through The Lord of the Rings trilogy and decided to go back and finish up my Tolkien series by reading The Hobbit.
Literary Classic. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. In many ways, I chose The Count of Monte Cristo out of thin air. I find the plot interesting and it is a classic.
Science Fiction. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card. Science fiction is not something I read much. Two years ago I read Ender’s Game and enjoyed it. Speaker for the Dead is the second book in the series.
The last category on my intentional reading list is to read a book on whim. So, whether it is a book I see in a book store that strikes my fancy or a book on blog that intrigues me, I will be reading a book I do not, as of yet, plan to read.
Have a great book recommendation? Send me a message by clicking HERE with the title, author, and one sentence why you think it is a book worth reading.