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Great old books are important for a reason, but many of the best books are also locked away from modern-day readers by ambiguities and dated debates that make them inaccessible.

Helping readers ease into classics is one of the premier gifts that serious scholars offer to reading Christians.

This book would be a delightful way to invest a year of reflection.

As you would expect, it’s a magnificent collection of bite-sized wisdom from Scripture and from their decades of cultural engagement, church leadership, parenting, and marriage.

An 800-page offering on Exodus from one of the best minds in biblical theology, it’s a very good conservative commentary on the text with great care given to apply this prominent Old Testament narrative into the sweeping storyline of Scripture — like few but Alexander can pull off.

Also noteworthy, Andreas Köstenberger on the Pastoral Epistles. In his life, words, and attitudes, Christ was everything Adam failed to be, and on this basis he becomes our substitutionary atonement. Gresham Machen: “I’m so thankful for the active obedience of Christ.

We live in the golden age of publishing, and reading (like writing) is a way of serving others, as we link helpful books to the specific needs and interests of our friends around us. Tolkien, author of series, intentionally didn’t write allegories (like Narnia).

With my gratitude for all the labors of 2017, here’s my list of the year’s 17 best books, lumped together and sorted by my scientifically subjective algorithm of intuition about what books I think (1) are broadly valuable to the most readers, (2) contribute well to a specific topic, (3) succeed in their intended aims, and (4) will endure to serve the church for years ahead. But in his letters, Tolkien tips us off that spiritual truths saturate his works.

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