Posted by: Billy Marsh | January 12, 2008

Billy and Kim’s Favorite 2007 Reading

Over at the Desiring God Blog, many of the DG staff have submitted their top 3 books for 2007. These books are not necessarily “new” books; the list simply consists of any book, new or old, fiction or non-fiction, that were their favorites for this past year. I was amazed to see the diverse titles and genres mentioned, and was encouraged to see how much and widely their staff was reading.

Ever since the ball dropped in Times Square, I’ve been debating on doing a “best of” list for 2007 in terms of music, books, and movies. But, I’ve tried to resist the temptation to spend most of my posts for January in retrospect. However, I’m always excited and encouraged to see what people are reading and what they would recommend. I am probably the one guy who, when someone seriously recommends a book, goes out and buys it and reads it as soon as possible (disclaimer: this doesn’t happen in every case). 2007 was a great year for Kim and I both in many ways. But, with respect to reading, I’ve probably read more this year than any year past. Furthermore, the reading that I was able to do this year was also the most dynamic. I have probably covered more literary territory, which for the most part was utterly life-changing, than I ever expected to traverse in 2007. Kim as well was able to discover some new areas of reading which was very encouraging for me. She has always been open-minded to my suggestions, though in many cases, my prescribed book of choice did not quite make the cut no matter how sound or profound its content may have been. However, in terms of both fiction and non-fiction, Kim has dug deeper this year and has been rewarded with much gold. I praise God that I have a wife who is always eager to spend the last few hours of daylight on the front porch reading with her husband.

So, we both want to list our top 3 books from 2007 and a brief word of testimony to go with each one. For those of you who are familiar with my blog, just note that my three choices will not include any of the books that I have already placed in the spotlight in a post (i. e. True Spirituality, Preaching Christ in all of Scripture, etc.). Those certain ones go without saying that they have changed my life in considerable ways. Therefore, there’s no need in restating the obvious. Moreover, Kim and I both would love for you all to submit your “top 3” books of 2007 in the comment(s) section. We are anxious to see what you all reading, and hopefully, your recommendations will give us some new and exciting reading material for 2008.

Kim’s Top 3 Books For 2007

  1. The Mark of the Lion TrilogyThe Mark of the Lion Trilogy ~ Francine Rivers – This trilogy was amazing!  It absolutely changed my view of how fiction literature should be written.  With this series, please do not judge the books by their covers.  I was so sad to have this trilogy end.
  2. The Holiness of God The Holiness of God ~ R. C. Sproul – The Lord used this book in my life to teach me more about his nature.  I truly began to understand what “holiness” means and how to live a holy life that is glorifying to a holy God.
  3. The Horse and His BoyThe Horse and His Boy ~ C. S. Lewis – I bought the entire set about three years ago when I first started teaching.  The only book I read prior to buying the set was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  While the set was just collecting dust on our bookshelf, I really started to get a child-like excitement about reading them.  I read The Magician’s Nephew in Dec. 2006.  I loved it, but for some reason I waited a year to read The Horse and His Boy, which I finished this Christmas.  I love reading The Chronicles of Narnia.  I also just finished Prince Caspian.  While reading The Horse and His Boy, I was constantly amazed at how C. S. Lewis uses the allegorical device to show so vividly biblical characters, especially Aslan.

Billy’s Top 3 Books For 2007

  1. Surprised by Joy Surprised by Joy ~ C. S. Lewis – Although I’ve read some of Lewis’ work in the past, 2007 was definitely the year that I truly came to appreciate him. For me, the most amazing part of his autobiography was his careful distinction between his conversion to Theism and his conversion to Christianity. Lewis admits that it is only salvation in Christ that makes him Christian.
  2. Is There a Meaning in this Text? Is There A Meaning In This Text? ~ Kevin J. Vanhoozer – Having read a lot of Francis Schaeffer recently, I’ve inevitably crossed paths with deconstructionism and Jacques Derrida. So, it was great to see Vanhoozer interact and respond to his literary methods. Vanhoozer mightily fights for objectivity in language and authorial intention. Part II of the book is well worth the money spent as he carefully articulates the role of the author, the text, and the reader in hermeneutics and interpretation. This book has revolutionized the entirety of my approach to reading any text whether it is the Bible or not. Even so, it has thoroughly equipped me to be a better handler of the Word of truth in ways that I have a hard time remembering how I read the Bible before I read this book.
  3. Introduction to OT Theology ~ John Sailhamer Introduction to OT Theology: A Canoncial Approach ~ John H. Sailhamer – I’m still hammering (no pun intended) out issues with Sailhamer’s approach not only to the OT, but also to the totality of the Scriptures. I’m in favor of much of his argument, but am still trying to work out the kinks with professors and friends. However, as a whole, his method is incredibly insightful and illuminating, and perhaps could even be called freeing. His chapter on “Text vs. Event” is a must read and reveals the deep-rooted passion of a man who longs to be bound to the Scriptures and who desires to help bind the Church to the Word also.
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Responses

  1. Text vs. Event is huge. And I agree, although I struggle to get my head around all the nuances of this view of the Scriptures, it is very freeing. Sailhamer has helped shape the way I read the Scriptures (which may be a result of taking every class I could with him in seminary).

  2. Josh, where did you study under Sailhamer? That’s great that you were able to process his approach firsthand. I would love to be able to sit under him and see his theology and method work out in a class setting. It would be very interesting to see him demonstrate his ideas practically in person. Are you still in seminary or are you serving somewhere?

  3. I think this is my favorite post you’ve done so far. I REALLY like Kim’s descriptions of her books and why she likes them. You should let (make) her contribute more often!


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