Apart from the books listed here, I read my Bible throughout the year. I believe the Bible is God's inspired Word to us, and of all the things I read, I see the Bible as what is most essential for me to be feeding on. Most of the postings I add to my blog are a result of my time spent reading God's Word.
With that in mind, here are the books that I've read this year.
- The Divine Conquest: God's Pursuit of Man by A.W. Tozer. This book is primarily about the Holy Spirit. But Tozer is too pastoral a writer to simply offer a theology of the Holy Spirit with no application to our lives, which is why he challenges us to lay down our lives so that the Holy Spirit can fill us afresh. In God’s pursuit of men and women in this world, our experience of His Spirit dwelling in us requires submission to Jesus’ Lordship, and allowing a divine conquest of our will. That’s what makes this book so forceful, and even uncomfortable. But being filled with the Spirit — and even conquered by the Spirit — is all about intimacy with God, which is what my heart is after.
- With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by Eugene B. Sledge. It was incredibly sobering to read this account from the perspective of a young marine who was on the front lines of the horrors of the Pacific campaign of WWII. It’s impossible for a reader to fully imagine what Sledge experienced, and yet he’s a great writer who very ably captures the intensity of battles, the sheer awfulness of the battle zones, and even the morale-sucking monotony of war. Though I sometimes wished he had explained more fully how some battles progressed, I definitely appreciated his vulnerability and sensitivity in what he did describe, as well as the incredible sacrifices that he and his fellow-marines were willing to endure for the sake of so many others.
- The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways That Jesus is the Way by Eugene H. Peterson. It’s difficult to describe this book. I found it at times provoking, at times irritating — at times informative, at times boring — at times eloquent, at times rambling. A couple chapters stood out for me as incredibly timely messages that I really needed to read and process. Other chapters included fascinating and engaging explanations of the context of biblical characters and events. But too many other chapters just felt like indulgently long-winded sounds and sentences signifying nothing. And by indulgent, I mean long, cumbersome sentences as long as a third of a page; and long lists in the form of sentences, as if every scenario or example needed to be mentioned between so many commas in an unnecessarily long description. It was wearing, and it left me wanting to be done, despite all the wonderful and quotable gems buried amidst the many words of this book.
- The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. Again and again, God-glorifying insights burst forth from the pages of this book. Reading it was often like having curtains opened that provided me with fresh perspectives of familiar places. But I had to persevere. There were times when it felt like dry theology, with obscure quotations and highly precise distinctions. But it was never long before a sentence or paragraph would once again have my full attention, encouraging me with what felt like more than just a deeper understanding, but also a deeper appreciation of my God. To say I found it informative in a helpful way would be true, but not the greatest compliment. That’s why I would also add that what felt like information often felt inspiring, given the devotion with which Tozer wrote this book.