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Books of the Year: 2017

Continuing on last year's trend, I did not read a lot of exegetical works, but was much more focused on historical theology, this time from the Reformation period and on. While the quantity of books that I read was low, I felt that the overall quality was very high. Anyways, on to the list!

I recommended this book to our pastoral staff. It's a very nice, short, accessible book that's grounded in solid scholarship that argues that transformation is at the heart of the gospel. deSilva finishes the book with a strong challenge that forces us to think hard about whether or not our view of money has been transformed by the gospel.

4. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Steinbeck is the greatest American author. While I enjoyed East of Eden more, I understand why many consider the Grapes of Wrath to be his best work. It is chilling and every bit as relevant now as it was when first penned. The closing scene still haunts me.

I remember when I saw the first notice that this book was coming out, I turned to my wife and told her that, if I was going to write a book, this is the one I would want to write. Well, it came out and I read it, and it did not disappoint. Bates argues cogently that salvation is by allegiance or fidelity to king Jesus alone, which involves both faith/trust as well as works. If you've enjoyed that theme in my writing on this blog, definitely pick up this book!

2. Calvin's Christology by Stephen Edmondson

This book is an absolute gem. Edmondson argues persuasively that Calvin's Christology is the heart of his theology even though that isn't obvious from the arrangement of the Institutes. A must read for anyone interested in Calvin's theology or who finds his prophet/priest/king schema insightful.

Schleiermacher's theology is maligned by many, but he is an important figure and penetrating theologian who is worthy of investing time to learn from. Kelsey has written a guide to his thought for students that is a model for the genre. Explanations are clear, and she contrasts Schleiermacher's approach to Christology with other current popular beliefs through series of helpful questions for reflection. Regardless of your views on Schleiermacher you will understand his Christology and your own much better after reading this work.

Now for the books that came out in 2017 that I am most excited about but have not yet had an opportunity to read.

5. Philemon by Scot McKnight

McKnight needs no introduction. His commentaries are wonderful because they are both scholarly and pastoral. I expect this one to be no different.

Too much of Christian history is written by and about men. I am looking forward to balancing out my own learning in part through this book.

3. Philippians by Paul Holloway

Holloway is a well respected scholar and I personally am in need of an up to date Philippians commentary. The Hermeneia series is one of my favorites and I am very much looking forward to it.

Everything by John Collins is worth reading, but this book in particular has my attention as it discusses the role of the Torah in relation to Jewish identity including a discussion of the apostle Paul.

1. Paul the Pagan's Apostle by Paula Fredriksen

I have enjoyed what I've read so far on the "Jewish perspective on Paul.' Fredriksen is one of the most well respected scholars of that persuasion. I also enjoy books that tackle the big picture. This should be a double win.


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