In my experience, books come in two flavors. One flavor is plain old information. But others have a more delightful taste. In addition to information they motivate, inspire, and encourage. “The best Christian literature is not written for the mind and intellect alone," notes Ian Murray. "It appeals also to the heart, the conscience, and the will. A good book does something to us, something that God put first in the spirit of the author. A book should not simply convey knowledge; it should uplift us, it should make us want to pray, and we should rise from it with an ambition to live nearer to Christ and to serve him better. Books of lasting value are books that feed the soul, and there is a ‘taste’ about them that lives on from one generation to another.”
Here are five books that in my experience do that "something" to the reader that Murray describes in his quote.
First, Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves. Reeves takes a complex, weighty subject and makes it accessible for someone with an ordinary education.That is a feat in itself. Most importantly, he shows the reader why the doctrine of the Trinity is a game changer.
It is not for no reason that Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is on the New York Times best sellers list. Gladwell takes the reader behind the scenes to the real reason why some people are successful (become outliers) and others are not. Neither Judy nor I could put it down. Read with confidence in God's sovereignty this book will easily edify.
George Whitefield, Americas Spiritual Founding Father by Thomas Kidd is another edifying read. Some authors can make history come alive, and Kidd is in that class. The subject matter doesn't hurt either. Whitefield is a fascinating individual. He is probably the greatest preacher since the Reformation. The spiritual power that rested upon this preacher is an example of what God can do when he decides to pour out his Spirit.
Fourth, Prepare: Living Your Faith in an Increasingly Hostile Culture by Paul Nyquist. This timely book is prophetic. Now that we have lost the culture wars, now that we live in a post-Christian world, how should we respond? How should we think? How should we and our families prepare for the future? Nyquist, the president of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, offers some helpful and insightful suggestions. As a pastor, concerned about the welfare of my flock, I can enthusiastically recommend this read.
Speaking of pastoral concerns, another important and timely book is Kevin DeYoung's What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality? This is a short, accessible work for anyone who wants to tighten their grip on this important and crucial contemporary subject.