1. Note to Self
I’ve never been impacted so much by such a small book. Came at just the right time in my life. It’s a primer on “preaching to yourself,” which in Joe Thorn’s hands is a kind of meditation with muscles. Short, punchy, meaty, heart-searching, and encouraging chapters that make an ideal warm-up for daily Bible reading – at least that’s how I used it. I’ve also found it a great book for mentoring others. With this book, Joe Thorn became my favorite modern Puritan! Hope that doesn’t harm your ministry, Joe!

2. A Life of Gospel Peace
I can pay Philip Simpson no higher compliment than that his beautiful biography of Jeremiah Burroughs made me want to read all of Burrough’s works, which I’ve just started doing with much spiritual profit. This is a meticulously-researched book, yet one that manages to bring Burroughs and his period alive with so much that is relevant and helpful for our own times too.

3. The Next Story
I was expecting much from Tim Challies’ book on Technology and he didn’t disappoint. Maybe the biggest compliment I can pay Tim is that I’ve not read a book so slowly in a long time. Definitely one for your teenager’s stocking, and maybe try to read it first yourself! Further reflections here.

4. Equipping Counselors for Your Church
Bob Kellemen shifted my thinking with this visionary yet practical book. I probably don’t reach up to Bob’s optimism about this task (who could!), but he certainly made me hope and work towards a much greater role for every-member counseling ministry in the local church. More detailed thoughts here and here.

5. John Macarthur: Servant of the Word and Flock
Iain Murray’s biography is not the definitive bio of John Macarthur (that will be a 2 volume affari, at least), but it’s the best we have thus far and a huge encouragement to faithful pastors everywhere. As a relatively recent recent arrival in the USA (how can four and a half years pass so quickly?), it also filled me in on the historical and cultural context of the present trends (good and bad) in the American church.

Five honorable mentions: The Messianic Hope, The Masculine Mandate, Grace for the afflicted, Dealing with DepressionGod’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment.

Top of my reading list for the new year: Lit! by Tony Reinke, and Reclaiming the Old Testament for Christian Preaching.

And if you’re interested, here’s the 20 most influential books in my life.

  • http://philippians314.squarespace.com Kim Shay

    I really enjoyed your 20 most influential list. I, too, would count the bios of Lloyd-Jones as among the most influential in my life. Your list gave me good reading suggestions.

  • http://www.joethorn.net Joe Thorn

    David, That is very kind (and humbling) of you to include my book on your top five of 2011 list! And likening me to a Puritan certainly won’t hurt my ministry, though I am unworthy of any such comparison!

    Thank you, sincerely. I appreciate your encouragement and ministry.

    Merry Christmas!

  • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

    Joe: “Merry Christmas!?” Are you serious? How un-Puritan of you. Think you’ve just demoted yourself.

    • http://www.joethorn.net Joe Thorn

      Ha! Very true. Cotton Mather would be peeved.

  • http://www.rpmministries.org Bob Kellemen

    David, I agree with Joe (not about the Puritan part!): this is a humbling honor. Thank you for your encouragement, friendship, and ministry. Bob

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