Jesus Creed Books of the Year (2018)

Jesus Creed Books of the Year (2018) December 3, 2018

Jesus Creed Book(s) of the Year

Time for your Christmas book shopping!!

A banner year for me in reading as there were so many great books to read and to choose from. I repeat my annual claim: Jesus Creed books of the year are books I’ve read and there’s no claim to have chosen the best books of the year as I can only see and read so many. Anyway, I wanted to choose one but couldn’t choose just one book of the year. I could not not choose Goldingay’s translation but I also could not choose either Matthew Croasmun or Matthew Thomas — these two books are brilliant. So, we have a “trinity” of Jesus Creed Books of the Year.

Croasmun tackles sin and shows its magnitude and turns it into an active agent; Thomas shows the so-called “new” perspective is by and large much older than the “old” (Reformation) perspective. John Goldingay’s translation of the OT (ahem, First Testament) sparkles with life and leads the Bible reader straight into the ring of fire itself. I cannot and will not choose between them, but this order would be my subtle ranking.

Matthew Croasmun, Matthew Croasmun, The Emergence of Sin: The Cosmic Tyrant in Romans (Review)

John Goldingay, The First Testament

Matthew J. Thomas, Paul’s ‘Works of the Law’ in the Perspective of Second Century Reception, (Review)

Bible Resources of the Year

David deSilva, Introduction to the New Testament (revised edition). Simply the best introduction to the NT one can buy: so many angles and perspectives and side bars.

Gregory R. Lanier, William A. Ross, Septuagint: A Reader’s Edition

Bible Books of the Year

Rodney Reeves, Matthew, in the Story of God — this book exemplifies everything we wanted in this series: expository finesse along with pastoral sensitivity.

Glenn Pemberton, A Life that is Good. My DMin cohort is pondering wisdom — in the Bible, in the church — and so once again I’ve found a special “First” Testament book on wisdom.

Susan Eastman, Paul and the Person. In my work the last couple years on Paul and Romans I found a number of good books, and a genuine complement to Croasmun is this fine book on the nature of the “person” in the world of Paul.

Craig Koester, Revelation and the End of All Things. This book surprised me: clear, comprehensive, compelling — and it doesn’t have the annoying habits so many have on Revelation, namely, grinding away at one hermeneutical angle.

Stephen Weitzman, Surviving Sacrilege. My friend Drew Strait put me on to this book and what a delightful read it was. Excellent probing of how Jews struggled to survive when (mostly) Rome was against them. [Dear OUP, get an image up on Amazon’s page.]

Church Resource Book of the Year

Fleming Rutledge, Advent. Some don’t preach from the lectionary so they miss the value of such wonderful books, but this is nothing less than the good wine of Advent wisdom.

For the lectionary preacher, there is a beautiful new series: Connections C: 1, and Connections C: 2

Church in Society Book of the Year

Craig Bartholomew, Contours of the Kuyperian Tradition. I have long drawn swords with Kuyper, have read many of his books, and have generally agreed with Rich Mouw’s take on Kuyper. But this new study now replaces all others on Kuyper that I have read.

Biographies of the Year

It was a challenge to choose which biography I liked most this year, and I read about a half dozen. It came down to two:

Matthew Hockenos, Then They Came For MeA fair minded assessment of Martin Niemöller, one not known enough and one deserving to be far more known.

Gary Moon, Becoming Dallas Willard. And who could not enjoy this splendid sketch of Willard’s life?

Ministry Book of the Year

Andrew Root, Faith Formation in a Secular Age. I was put on to this book by Mike King and it is an excellent example of pastoral theology taking on colossal works in philosophy.

Church History

Robert Louis Wilken, The First Thousand Years. I’m behind but I read this book by Wilken this year and have to say this: this is how to write a book! Beautiful, mature judgment, and he keeps it all personal in so many ways.


I might as well have a section each year for my favorite author: Joseph Epstein, The Ideal of Culture. The best familiar essayist of our day collects his essays from the last few years on culture, on biography, on Jews and on masterpieces.

Classical World

Adrian Goldsworthy, Pax Romana. Amazing gift of writing applied to the grit and grime and glory of the Roman empire.

James Romm, Dying Every Day. An outstanding and well-written study of Seneca, advisor to Nero.

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