Are you looking for some good books to read this year? The kind that will comfort your heart and nourish your spirit in the next twelve months?
Here’s a list of ten great books that you may want to check out. They’re not the fluff pieces that often fill today’s Christian bookstore shelves. Instead, they offer biblical, rich and practical resources to nourish your soul in 2022. I linked each title to Amazon for easy order.
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I recommend this book every chance I get because it speaks to people at every stage of faith. The fictional account of a senior demon instructing a junior demon in the art of tempting a new Christian, it’s a primer on spiritual health. Lewis is a surgeon who knows how to expose, cut out and heal the cancers of the soul that afflict us all.
The Book of Common Prayer (2019). The new version of the classic Anglican prayer book is spiritually nourishing, theologically enriching and visually stunning. The great benefit of reading its prayers, services and Psalms is that they sound like they ought to sound—no one speaks the language of faith like the Anglicans. Learning to use the BCP may be a challenge but it’s worth the effort.
The Private Prayers of Lancelot Andrewes. Andrewes is one of the most influential church leaders that few people have heard of. A bishop and scholar during the time of the English Reformation, he’s best known as the director of the King James Bible team of translators (Adam Nicolson’s book, “God’s Secretaries,” is a fascinating study of the creation of the King James Bible from a secular, linguistic perspective with Andrewes in his rightful place of leadership). Andrewes’ book of private prayers is the record of this great man’s innermost spiritual struggles—struggles that despite the centuries’ distance, feel remarkably suited for our own time.
We read to know that we are not alone. (C.S. Lewis)
25 Books Every Christian Should Read: A Guide to the Essential Spiritual Classics. From Augustine (5th century) to Henri Nouwen (our own time) to many Christian leaders, saints and mystics in between, this book takes us on a journey through the major devotional writers through the centuries, giving brief historical settings, biographies and representative samples of each one. Many of the authors we might have seen cited in other places are in this book, explained and applied to modern life. I found this book to be a great read; but more importantly, a real incentive to spiritual maturity. Maybe more than any other, this book nourishes our soul.
Where the Light Fell by Philip Yancey. I confess that this book, an engaging autobiography by a well-known and prolific Christian writer, made me feel uncomfortable. Yancey’s account of the damage certain kinds of fundamentalism can do to the soul rings true to those of us who have experienced at least some of it, but the answers he gives aren’t clear or satisfying; and the book’s ending left me wondering just where Yancy’s landed in his personal faith (Christian scholar and teacher Jack Deere’s recent autobiography, “Even in our Darkness,” has a similar ending). Still, in our time when evangelicalism is declining across the country, Yancey’s personal experience gives us an eye-opening look at some of the reasons why.
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. Scottish Baptist Chambers, who lived around the turn of the twentieth century, died before he found publishing success. But within a few years following his untimely death serving as a military chaplain during World War I, his widow began publicizing his writings and his books took off like wildfire. They show no sign of letting up in our own time. The reason is that Chambers’ faith tends to be as authentic and fresh just as ours seems often second-hand and stale. He has a way of expressing biblical truths with aphorisms that ring in your mind and settle in your soul long after you read them.
New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul David Tripp. Tripp is a noted author, speaker and leader with a knack for connecting with modern believers and churches. He’s active across all media platforms (his Twitter account is widely followed), but this devotional guide is especially popular for good reason. It’s sane, balanced, deep and full of biblical wisdom. If you’re looking for a way to grow your faith on a daily basis through 2022, “New Morning Mercies” is a good choice because like other good Christian books, it nourishes our soul.
We should always choose our books as God chooses our friends, just a bit beyond us, so that we have to do our level best to keep up with them. (Oswald Chambers)
Knowing God by J.I. Packer. First published in 1973, “Knowing God” has sold more copies than any other book in American evangelical publishing history. On one level a biblical study of the character of God, the book is much more. It also deep dives into theology, takes in some history, addresses prayer; and, perhaps most importantly, challenges readers to get more serious and intentional about their relationship with God. I first read this book in college and still refer to it on a regular basis. Every believer should read it because like other good Christian books it nourishes our soul.
The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. Tozer was a mid-western pastor in the middle part of the 20th century (he died in 1963) whose books, while having some popularity during his lifetime, are having an even greater impact today. He writes from a pastoral perspective but with a solid commitment to biblical truth and a deep familiarity with classic Christian literature. In a time like ours, when so much Christian thought and church ministry feels superficial, Tozer is a welcome alternative. Reading his books, I think, is best done as part of your daily devotional (they’re short books but pack a powerful spiritual punch).
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Executed in the waning days of World War II by Germany because of his opposition to Hitler, Bonhoeffer immediately became something of a modern evangelical saint. There have been several biographies of him through the years (Eric Metaxas’ is the latest and is quite good), and he published several books before he died. But “Life Together” gives the best introduction into his passion for Jesus and the church. This isn’t an easy read, but worth the effort.
Finding the time to read with the busy schedules that most of us have is hard to do. But if you can carve out just little time on a regular basis to spend time with some of these authors (or the many others you may find), you’ll find your walk with Jesus even more rich and meaningful.
For some more suggestions of great Christian books, check out one of my previous blogs, Quarantine Reading: Eight Books to Renew Your Soul, Feed Your Mind and Refresh Your Heart.
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