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Library.jpgWhat were the best books you read this year? I’d be interested in hearing your choices. Whatever yours are, the following post lists mine.

There are some books that have come across my desk this year that deserve special honor, so I want to award some books and authors for the singular contribution. This is not a widespread scan of all books nor even of books on the topics of the books I award. No, this is simply a recognition that these are the best books that came my way this year. Some of these I blogged about extensively and others I either barely mentioned or mentioned only in passing.
I begin with Bible and then branch out.
Undoubtedly, the best new reference set of books this year is the fantastic new set of Old Testament commentaries in light of historical context, a set edited by John Walton: Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary Set: Old Testament
.

Alongside John’s edited work, I have to say that his little student-level book on Genesis One: The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate
. This book is an important landmark study of evangelical Christians, paving the way for a more responsible use of science in matters pertaining to Genesis 1. So, I want to give John Walton two hat tips this year. 

When it comes to New Testament books, I nominate the massive and soon-to-be-discussed book by Douglas Campbell, The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul
.

For Church history, a book that will do double-duty for college classes and for churches, I have to give a big push to Chris Armstrong’s splendid Patron Saints for Postmoderns: Ten from the Past Who Speak to Our Future
.
But for an introduction to early theology, IVP is to be congratulated for the wonderful new set of books called Ancient Christian Doctrine, and I link to just the first volume. We Believe in One God (Ancient Christian Doctrine)
 Splendid, splendid, splendid!
On the “doctrine of Scripture,” an incredibly suggestive and enlightening study by Jewish scholar, Michael Fishbane, really impressed me: Sacred Attunement: A Jewish Theology
.

For books on history, I can’t think of a better study this year than the new one by Gary Anderson on sin: Sin: A History
. This book may not satisfy Protestants, but it is one serious piece of history written up in splendid prose. 

A wonderful church book is by Miriam Neff: That book is Miriam Neff’s From One Widow to Another: Conversations on the New You , a book that is a must for all those ministering to widows.
For memoirs, the deeply moving and gut-wrenching — if not critical — study by Hala Jaber, The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles: A Woman’s Fight to Save Two Orphans
, gets my #1 pick.

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