Top Twenty Books of 2022 (and a Top Ten)

Top Twenty of 2022

If (and I don’t know why you would) you’ve read through my long list of everything I read in 2022, or even if you haven’t, here’s my Top Twenty, and the Top Ten. Firstly, in image form, the Top Twenty, then a textual breakdown, and then an image of the Top Ten.


Top 20 of 2022

My book of the year, in terms of its physical production, breadth of engagement, utility for my day-to-day work/ministry (and other people’s!) is ‘The Pharisees’, edited by.   And published by Eerdmans. This is a serious book – you can read my review here. On a related note, though it was less readable, I appreciated (in terms of understanding more!) the big historical picture of Christian anti-semitism in James Carroll’s ‘Constantine’s Sword’ is a sobering but important book.

The best chapter in a book that I read this year was about depression in John Swinton’s ‘Finding Jesus in the Storm’, published by SCM Press. This is a beautifully written book that I hope will be widely read. 

The best commentary I read this year was Marianne Meye Thompson’s THNTC on Colossians and Philemon. It’s a brilliant commentary, but it also does some excellent theology. Coming in close behind it was Linda Belleville’s NCCS volume on Philippians – which said more in less pages than nearly every commentary on any biblical book that I’ve read. 

The book I’ve recommended most to other people is a tie between two. One, for Christians in particular, is ‘This Beautiful Truth’ by Sarah Clarkson. You can read my review here. The other one is Jeffrey Boakye’s ‘Black, Listed’ – a genuinely brilliant bit of writing that took me out of my comfort zone and into other cultures. 

The best book on the Psalms I read in 2022 – apart from one that I edited which comes out in 2023 – was W. David O. Taylor’s ‘Open and unafraid’. It’s stunning, perhaps especially in hardback, and if commend it to you. 

The best book of or based on sermons I read in 2022 was John Webster’s ‘Confronted by Grace’ – this is a marvellous book that showcases Webster’s theological depth and doxological wisdom. 

Two Old Testament commentaries stirred my heart this year – among a number of commentaries I read this year. Elaine M. Phillips Obadiah, Jonah and Micah in the AOTC is a genuinely prophetic book. Gordon J. Wenham’s NICOT on Leviticus remains a classic of the genre. 

I enjoyed a number of books looking at what it means to be human, from different angles. A particular highlight was Lucy Peppiatt’s Imago Dei – a Cascade Companion that is an excellent overview. More pastorally, or devotionally, Alan Noble’s ‘You Are Not Your Own’ is an excellent unpacking of that complex truth.

Working for a Christian publisher there are lots of things I could but won’t say about books – particularly Christian books. But one highlight was a book edited by a colleague and profoundly unpacking the book of James – David Gibson’s ‘Radically Whole’. From another publisher, and a book I wish we’d published (not that we had the opportunity, but I loved it) is Joy Clarkson’s ‘Aggressively Happy’, a quirky, beautifully written book that I’ve revisited already.

Three of my Top Twenty books were published by our American cousins, IVP USA – in addition to the Noble title above, I really appreciated Tish Harrison Warren’s ‘Prayer in the Night’ (not least as when struck down by Migraines or wallowing in depression, prayer is all I can manage), and the now more than a decade old ‘The Next Evangelicalism’ by Soong-Chan Rah. This is a profound bit of writing that has ‘come true’ in some ways – and not in others.

Finally, three books that I hope and think will shape my reading, editing and writing going forward – in different ways. Tim Chester’s ‘John Stott on the Christian Life’ is a good introduction to Stott’s way of being and doing, and a challenge to learn from a wise departed brother. Mburu’s ‘African Hermeneutics’ was the best of a bunch of strong books I read from Langham Publishing this year – Mburu offers both a good book on hermeneutics, and a good insight into African Christianities, as well as some provocative and generative theological writing. Finally, a Tolkien book – ‘Tree and Leaf’ – which I thoroughly enjoyed and will revisit regularly. I need to reread more Tolkien in 2023.

So that’s my Top Twenty books of 2022 – in the image below you’ll see my Top Ten.


Top Ten of 2022

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