Books We Enjoyed in 2019

Books We Enjoyed in 2019

It shouldn’t be surprising that we, the editorial staff at The Gospel Coalition, enjoy reading.

While our team worked diligently to evaluate the Christian market for our annual book awards, we also read an eclectic array of titles for professional development, historical awareness, encouragement, and just plain fun. As one of our team members recently reflected, “I honestly believe the reading culture on our editorial team is one of our most underrated strengths and a secret to our collective success.”

It’s not surprising, then, that on our calls and meetings, we often swap book suggestions, discuss what titles we’ve enjoyed, and make plans for forthcoming releases. To share in that bibliographic joy with our readers, I asked our team to select a few books they enjoyed reading over the past year and would commend to others.

Joe Carter

Lewis Dartnell, The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Civilization in the Aftermath of a Cataclysm (Penguin, 2015)

Imagine if the world as we know it has ended, and the entire infrastructure we once depended on has collapsed. What would the survivors of such an apocalypse do to thrive in the long term? What knowledge would they need to recover as rapidly as possible? That’s the question that launches this book-length thought experiment. In the most fascinating non-fiction book I’ve read this year, Dartnell offers a “reboot manual” that explains what technology and science we’d need to know to restore civilization. While the topic may appear somewhat morbid, it gave me a greater appreciation of how God has diffused knowledge in such a way that societal flourishing requires the cooperation of many people. (I also learned that before the cataclysm happens, I need to befriend an industrial chemist.)

Kevin DeYoung, The Ten Commandments: What They Mean, Why They Matter, and Why We Should Obey Them (Crossway, 2018)

At the beginning of the year I set out to read as many books on Christian ethics as I could find. I was surprised to discover—though I shouldn’t have been—that DeYoung’s explanation of the Ten Commandments would be the most helpful and enlightening. In his concise manner, DeYoung clarifies why these commandments are the key to biblical ethics. “The commandments not only show us what God wants; they show us what God is like,” DeYoung writes. “They say something about his honor, his worth, and his majesty. They tell us what matters to God. We can’t disdain…

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