What I read in 2023 – The Long List*

After some years of aiming for different goals, I started 2023’s reading with some more deliberate and intentional things that I was aiming for:

  • Read 150 books. // Done, with room to spare
  • At least 20% by non-white authors. // Missed. 23 books were either by or edited/co-authored by non-white authors. 13.14% = requires intentional improvement.
  • At least 30% by female authors. // Missed. 36 books were either by or edited/co-authored by women. 20.57% = also requires intentional improvement.
  • Write and publish, on blog or elsewhere, 50 reviews, of which at least 25 should be of books not written by white men like me. // Done. 51 reviews, and matched the 25 goal.
  • Read more than 50,000 pages.// Done. At the time of writing, Goodreads tells me I’ve read 66,217 pages, which doesn’t include a couple of books below that aren’t on that site (though is probably counterbalanced by the fact I tend to not read indices, and skim bibliographies, which is also counteracted by the unnumbered/roman numbered pages at the front of lots of books)

I’ll have another blog post digging in to that a bit more, and thinking about what I’m reading or planning on reading in 2024. For now, though, in rough order of reading them from January to December, here is the full list of what I read in 2023. You might also enjoy my post about the 20 best commentaries I read, or my Top Ten Books of 2023 [both not live as at 21/12/23].

Below is a sentence or two about each book, a link to the review where I’ve written one, and a star rating out of five.

What I read in 2023 - The Long List

1. First finish for 2023 was a fiction book, Dan Abnett’s Horus Rising – first in an enormous series. Probably the 4th time I’ve read it and it still gets me. Great book. 5/5

2. First non-fiction finish was a niche but enjoyable history of the first 100 years of the Society for Old Testament Study. Some fascinating nuggets. 4/5 (would have liked more reflection on ideological stuff) Read my review of SOTS at 100, edited by John Derick here.

3. Wendell Berry’s What Are People For? Well this was rather marvellous. Not perfect but some gems to revisit, some reminders, some provocations. More Wendell Berry for me in the future I think. 4/5

4. I. H. Marshall’s NIGTC on Luke’s Gospel, which I started in 2022. Marshall on clear and fine form. Showing its age (older than me!) but still fresh at times and certainly thorough. A model of scholarly calm writing. 4/5

5. Carl F. Henry, God, Revelation and Authority Volume VI: God who stands and stays. The last third a hangover form ‘22 – this final volume has been the best I think. Wide ranging and robust. Dated but also prophetic and prescient. Glad that Crossway is keeping it available and in print. 5/5

6. I enjoyed rereading for work purposes a recent NSBT volume, Biblical Theology According to the Apostles, by Chris Bruno, Jared Compton and Kevin McFadden. Published in 2020, I found it still persuasive, and perhaps an NSBT most worth preachers investing in and reflecting on. 5/5

7. Ben Counter’s Galaxy in Flames in the aforementioned Horus Heresy series. Reread and enjoyed again. A great yarn. 5/5

8. John Goldingay’s Genesis was my first experience of Baker’s Exegetical COmmentary on the Old Testament, having been a big fan of the NT series. Goldingay is good value, making a long (725pp plus almost 100 back matter) single volume commentary on Genesis both readable and engaging. Idiosyncratic but illuminating. Occasionally theologically frustrating. Nicely produced by Baker, you can read my review here. 4/5

9. Susan Campbell’s Dating Jesus. A Christ-haunted, beautifully written, painful memoir. Oh, what pain the church can cause! Sobering, entertaining, and fascinating. Food for thought as a father of girls. 4/5

10. Christopher Landau’s Loving Disagreement. I have mixed views about it – see my review in Christianity Magazine! Calm, crisp writing though. 3/5

11. Kirsten Page’s The Wonders of Creation. A brilliant but infuriating book. Too short. Too close to being transcripts. Too many glimpses of what could have been. If it had just been a bit more ‘booked’ then it could have been perfect. Great content and some wonderful turns of phrase. I thought Emily Mcgowin’s response was 5/5, but overall the book is a 4/5 for me. Read my review here.

12 + 15***. Walter T. Wilson’s two volume commentary on Matthew, in the Eerdmans Critical Commentary series. My first experience of this series. Format clear and consistent. Quite a lot of Q! Wilson occasionally dropping some truth bombs, but also often asserting with minimal evidence. Overall a solid commentary with a lot of application for preachers and discipleship. Critical stuff seems largely secondary/footnotes. Again a lovely physical book. You can read more thoughts in my review of both volumes. 4/5

13. Another Horus Heresy novel, Galaxy in Flames captures the scale of two things well – a galaxy at war and the human dynamics of betrayal. 4/5 

14. Daniel J. Harrington’s The Gospel of Matthew in the Sacra Pagina series. An interesting commentary experience. Pub. 1991, but updated 2007. Fine layout apart from slightly annoying bullet point notes on text. Mostly the Roman Catholic interpretative angle doesn’t get in the way – this evangelical reader found the!Q stuff more irritating. 4/5

16. James Swallow, The Flight of the Eisenstein. Another Horus Heresy finish. Probably my favorite of this part of the series – epic scale, great characters, excellent writing that really captures the tension and other emotions. 5/5

17 + 22. Eugene Carpenter’s two volume commentary on Exodus, in the Lexham Press ‘Evangelical Exegetical Commentary’ series. Impressive in it’s detail. I appreciated the biblical-theological and devotional-application comments. Slightly clunky layout and huge footnotes! Technical but useful. I found Carpenter’s second volume better than the first – tighter writing, and good commentary on ch. 35-40 in particular. Still not convinced by EEC format – will try an NT book. But lots of detail esp. on language issues. 4/5

18. Adele Berlin, Poetics and Biblical Interpretation. Lots of good stuff in this little older book. Helpful on Ruth and some quotes/points will make their way into advice to authors for sure. Annoying to have endnotes but otherwise a pleasure to read. 4/5

19. Race for Justice, edited by Richard Reddie. An informative and eye-opening book. Wanted a concluding chapter and more time on Wales/Scotland/Ireland. Mixed bag of essays – I wrote a short review here. 3/5

20. Graham McNeill, Fulgrim. A fiction finish. One of the characterization high points of Horus Heresy. Not just the titular character but various others. Superb insight into human flaws and great action. It’s excellent. 5/5

21. Christopher J. H. Wright’s Exodus in the fairly new Story of God commentary series from Zondervan. Wright writes brilliantly and there are some gems here. I have mixed views on the StoG format – it works but occasionally feels forced. Interested to see it with another genre of biblical book. A good commentary on Exodus – though my pick remains Desi’s AOTC. 4/5

23. A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament, edited by Miles V. Van Pelt. From a self aware, winsome and helpful Reformed perspective, this is a superb resource from Crossway. A vital resource for preachers in my opinion – it’ll go on the ‘editing commentary’ shelf right next to my desk. You can read my short review of it here. 5/5

24. Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive. First library book of the year. It’s really rather brilliant, in its way. A helpful prompt to run more and keep reading. Anything. Honest, painful, purposeful writing. 5/5

25. R. T. France, The Gospel of Mark, in the NIGTC. A good book to finish on a Sunday before church! Marks Gospel is punchy and fascinating – I’d not gone through it with a big commentary before and it was a delight. France still holds up. As ever a lovely physical book from Eerdmans. 5/5

26. Mitchel Scanlon, Descent of Angels, in the Horus Heresy series is a cracker. Great action, backstory and account of a world changing. 5/5 

27. Nobuyoshi Kiuchi’s Apollos Old Testament Commentary on Leviticus is excellent – in my not QUITE as readable as Wenham’s classic NICOT, BUT quirky take on holiness makes sense of Lev. and his NT/BibTheo work is excellent. A superb commentary from  – perhaps overlooked but worth a read (and 30 years more recent than Wenham) 5/5

28. A Biblical-Theology Introduction to the New Testament, edited by Michael J. Kruger. Another gem from Crossway. Another solid building block for a preachers library and a solid example of how edited collections and the reformed tradition are brilliant. Another short review here. 5/5

29. Dan AbneTt, Legion. A Horus Heresy finish that has improved with re-reading. Serpentine and winding, it works well and introduces new characters brilliantly. At its heart this is a book about relationships, betrayal and loyalty – but not always clearly. 5/5

30. David Lyle Jeffrey, Luke in the Brazos Theological Commentary. A perfectly readable but unexciting commentary – however some moments were great and Jeffrey occasionally waxes lyrical in ways that inspired my devotional reading. That’s why it’s 4 stars not 3. 4/5

31. Michele Saracino, Christian Anthropology. A rather strange book. Caught between a devotional and academic style, and genuinely bizarre at times. Some nuggets amongst the dross, but not strong overall imo. 3/5

32. Gordon Wenham’s Numbers in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary. This mornings devotional finish is a gem. It’s a classic for good reason – extraordinarily readable whilst doing a lot, including some quite causal but firm source criticism. 5/5

33. John G. Gager, Reinventing Paul. Gager writes well – though annoying to have endnotes not footnotes – and is provocative. Apparently a classic in some schools of thought – I can see way and it had me going back to the text. I need to read more about Paul next year! 4/5

34. Ben Counter, Battle for the Abyss. Another of my favorite HH books. Great action at micro and macro levels, superb betrayal and relational dynamics – and it’s got spaceships. 5/5

35. The Arts as Witness in Multifaith Contexts, edited by Roberta R. King and William A. Dryness. Mixed bag – as can be the case with edited collections. Some strong essays, some too descriptive to be much more use than as a historical record imo. Nicely produced by IVP-USA – good spread of cultures and images. Will be of more interest to others I imagine. Short review here. 3/5

36. Anna Reid, Borderland: A Journey through the history of Ukraine. This has been a fascinating read. An exemplar of publishing – first in the 90s, updated mid 2010s, I picked up a battered paperback in the library. Gripping story, writing and deeply haunting reading it in February 2023, as Russia’s invasion continued. 5/5

37. Graham McNeill, Mechanicum. Re-read McNeill’s ‘Mechanicum’ from the Horus Heresy and found it improved for me – more appreciative of the sub-plots and the way characters develop. Also TITAN* BATTLES. 5/5 (*for the uninitiated titans are enormous robots. So pretty cool if, like me, you are basically 12 inside).

38. Lore Ferguson Wilbert, A Curious Faith. A really rather nicely written book, with a great core message, personable personal narrative, and a haunting familiarity with pain. Some quibbles, but overall recommended. I reviewed it for Premier Christianity. 4/5

39. Edward W. Klink III, John, in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. A really good commentary on John, and for a longer book the ZECNT format works well. Definitely one to keep close by and pretty laser-focused on exegesis and application/useful theology. Nicely produced by Zondervan in a physical format that grew on me. In my review I revisited it and was even more impressed. 5/5

40. Edward J. Woods, Deuteronomy, in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary. Good for being concise, clear and calm. Leans a lot on McConville’s AOTC – but is more accessible overall. A good intermediate commentary with some real nuggets. 4/5

41. Julia Boyd & Angelika Patel, A Village in the Third Reich. This has been a sobering, fascinating and deeply informative read. Highly recommended. Will go on to read ‘travellers’ by the same author, I think. 5/5

42. Mike Lee, Fallen Angels. Another Horus Heresy finish. Great example of two threads related in one narrative. 5/5

43. L. Scott Kellum’s Acts in the Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament, from B&H Academic. The EGGNT looks to be a really helpful tool for keeping gk. going, and Kellum’s volume is also a helpful commentary and library builder/research tool. I reviewed it here. 5/5

44. Ajith Fernando’s Deuteronomy in Crossway’s Preach the Word series. Underwhelmed by this – nicely produced and some good writing, but also bloated (700 pages!) and quite a lot of assertion without reason. Not quite sure who it’s for or whether I’ll keep it or give it to someone else. Interested in alternate opinions too, so let me know in the comments if I’ve got this wrong! 3/5

45. David F. Firth, Joshua, in Lexham’s Evangelical Biblical Theology Commentary. Absolute gold. A great commentary, and an excellent book. Right, focused, practical and technical. I was a Firth fan before but he’s opened up Joshua for me in a way I hadn’t appreciated before. Superb publishing from Lexham. Read my review for more about why it is so good. 5/5

46. Graham McNeill, A Thousand Sons. Finished this entry in the Horus Heresy for the first time on the third attempt – well worth persevering. Great action and lore, some excellent characters and good writing that makes you empathize with the antihero. 4/5

47. Richard Lints, Uncommon Unity. An interesting book from Lexham Press. Not what I expected at all – but has left me thinking. Great to see Lints being theological for a variety of topics (I loved and reviewed his NSBT back in 2014). Very American centric. 4/5

48. David Brown, Reconnect Your Church. Really practical, readable and clear – I think this would be a good read for most leaders/teams post-Pandemic, as well asl for revitalization projects. 5/5 – and I wasn’t necessarily expecting that for a book I was only aware of from working for the publisher!

49. Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans (2nd. Edition), in Baker’s Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. A fine commentary on Romans, nicely produced by Baker Academic, Schreiner seems to me fair in his approach to the text, and this volume balances readability and depth well. Not 100% convinced by some formatting decisions either, but a good resource. 4/5

50. Natalie Brand, Priscilla, Where are you?. A fine little volume from Union Publishing. Well worth picking up for the encouragement and vision of theology and joy that Brand shares. Not just for women! 4.5/5

51. Laura A. Smit and Stephen E. Fowl, Judges and Ruth in the Brazos Theological Commentary. A mixed bag. Smit on judges is solid and careful – 4/5. Fowl on Ruth is odd – more concerned with defending the Theological Interpretation of Scripture/the idea of the BTC than doing the job! 2/5 Overall 3/5 which is annoying as Smit’s work is stronger. The challenge of paired volumes! You can read my review here.

52. Anthony Thiselton, 1 Corinthians: A Shorter Exegetical and Pastoral Commentary. This book is a gem. It’s like sitting in a room with Thiselton. His bigger (magisterial) NIGTC is in the background, and it’s the kind of commentary one thinks Paul would appreciate. An excellent example of the fruits of scholarship being helpfully distilled and disemminated. 5/5

53. Nijay K. Gupta, Tell Her Story. A very readable and calm little book on a big topic from Gupta. Unlikely to convince hard complementarians, a useful call to examine the text, and a good counterpart to some other books. Will be one I recommend as an aspect of a whole-Bible egalitarian approach. 4/5

54. David G. Firth, 1&2 Samuel, Apollos Old Testament Commentary. This is a fine and very readable commentary on 1&2 Samuel. Firth is on solid form, writing well and with the depth I’d expect from the AOTC. One I’ll refer back to – particularly the parts I disagreed with! 4.5/5

55. John Calvin and Evangelical Theology, edited by Sung Wook Chung. This has been an enjoyable read – with a few essays sparking ideas and further avenues for my own thinking. A mostly very good edited collection – good mix of scholars and also classic/newer topics. 4/5 You can read a short review here.

56. George H. Guthrie, 2 Corinthians in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. BECNT is generally good format but this example felt a little long-winded. Slightly uneven level (sometimes very technical, sometimes less so) stops it being five stars. That said, Guthrie showed me 2 Corinthians afresh and I’m more excited about the epistle now! 4/5

57. Rose George, The Big Necessity. I thoroughly enjoyed George’s book on shipping. This, on sanitation and human waste was similarly engrossing. Well written, sobering in terms of the justice issue, and eye-opening-ly human. 5/5

58. Timothy S. Laniak, Shepherds After My Own Heart. This IS a gem. Traces the theme through the texts and let’s the text dictate what it teaches. This is biblical theology for the church. Excellent. No wonder it’s a bestselling classic for Apollos in the NSBT series.  5/5 Doubly poignant to read a copy belonging to a late friend who was a wonderful pastor.

59. Lissa M. Wray Beal, 1&2 Kings, Apollos Old Testament Commentary. Wray Beal’s AOTC on 1&2 Kings is excellent. Published well before I worked at IVP, so I reviewed it here and hope that review will persuade some folk to read it! 5/5

60. N. T. Wright, Galatians, Commentaries for Christian Formation. A genuinely entertaining read. It’s definitely Wright on Galatians  – the intro nearly put me off – but there are some gems in a very readable and formation-focused commentary. Interesting new series from Eerdmans, I plan on reading Goldingay’s contribution on Proverbs in the New Year – and am intrigued to see what’s next. 4.5/5 You can read my review here.

61. Jill Duff, Lighting the Beacons. An exhilarating, encouraging and exhorting book from one of the best Bishops in the current Church of England. Really good little book – provocative and wise and sensitive and bold. One to revisit. 5/5

62. Roddy Braun, 1 Chronicles, Word Biblical Commentary. Helped me to appreciate 1 Chronicles afresh – and the clunky WBC format actually helps with a book like that that has so many changes, lists and styles. Readable within its limits, now a little dated (1986). 4/5 I wrote a review of it here.

63. Phil Moore, Straight to the Heart of 1&2 Chronicles. I’m appreciate of these little STTH volumes alongside more trad commentaries. Opens up 1+2 Chron well, without getting lost in woods. A great devotional read. Solid work. 4/5

64. Peter J. Leithart, 1&2 Chronicles, Brazos Theological Commentary. Appreciated a lot of nuggets in this BTC but felt it somewhat thin as a commentary. Possibly more political than theological at points. But a useful amount of New Testament echo and pastoral allusion mean it’s probably worth getting hold of if preaching 1+2 Chronicles. 4/5

65. Peter T. O’Brien, The Letter to the Ephesians, Pillar New Testament Commentary. One cannot give a star rating to a commentary which was removed from sale with plagiarism. However, the writing style is largely warm and devotional, and so it was nourishing whilst also being bittersweet. Like an New Testament Wenham/Motyer to some extent. Excited to read Campbell’s replacement soon.

66. Peter Thein Nyunt, Missions amidst Pagodas. Appreciated this short monograph from Langham. Pretty readable and clear for what it is, and what it is could be useful for those in Buddhist contexts or seeking to communicate the gospel to Buddhist friends and family. Not just Burma! 4/5

67. L. Michael Morales, Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord? I think this actually exceeded my expectations and the hype. Morales has done the church a service – this NSBT is a model of biblical theological scholarship. Loads of connections and riches for preachers and devotions. Stunning. 5/5

68. Hannah K. Harrington, Ezra and Nehemiah, NICOT. A thorough and helpful commentary. Slightly overdone in parts – enormous intro and some excessive excurses. But overall solid work and a good longer/heavyweight commentary to complement eg a TOTC or similar. 4/5 I wrote a longer review of this volume here.

69. Tiberius Rata, Ezra and Nehemiah, Mentor Commentary. This, however, was in my view underwhelming. Not enough depth and the overall feel was not clear in terms of intended audience or level of textual engagement in my view. So good nuggets/insights, and a good table at one one point. Will have to try another Mentor volume. 3/5

70. Sean M. Mcdonough, Philippians, Preacher’s Greek Companion. really interesting concept – breaking down the gk. with selective (ie minimalist, though some good stuff) commentary and preachers helps. A good devotional aid to keep gk. up, and possibly a good addition to a preachers library. Worth investigating. Not a full commentary. 4/5 A short review here.

71. Christopher C. H. Cook, Isabelle Hamley and John Swinton, Struggling with God. Behind a lovely cover is a complex, enigmatic and well written book. Some really helpful stuff, some slightly ambiguous or unclear fudging. Will be a useful tool for leaders, and the more theologically minded strugglers amongst us. Helpful on prayer and honest. 4/5

72. Anthony J. Tomasino, Esther, Evangelical Exegetical Commentary. This seems to me to be an excellent commentary on Esther, and a very fine example of the genre. A strong EEC from Lexham that felt ‘Goldilocks zone’ to me in terms of length and other things. I wrote a review here. 5/5

73. Ros Clarke, Human. A fantastic, sensitive and clear primer on what it means to be human. Notably, it read like she enjoyed writing it. Great stuff. 5/5

74. Paddy Ashdown, A Brilliant Little Operation. A perfectly paced, comprehensively written and very readable book on the Cockleshell Heroes raid of WW2. Impressive writing about a stunning feat of daring and leadership. One to return to. 5/5

75. Charles B. Cousar, Philippians and Philemon, New Testament Library. A slightly odd pairing – not illogical, and Cousar writes well and readably. But the sheer smallness of the volume means it feels cursory rather than thoughtful, and so rather underwhelming. 3/5

76. G. K. Beale, Colossians and Philemon, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. In this BECNT, Beale gives us a superb commentary. Theologically rich and with real care over Old Testament connection/allusion. Some of the additional notes suggest GKB thought he was writing an NIGTC. But overall excellent. 5/5

77. Christopher Ash, Out of the Storm. This from Christopher Ash remains a gem – about 14 years since I first read it. His writing is delightful and I really appreciate the way he balances humanity and awe at divinity. 5/5

78 + 81. James. M. Hamilton jr, Psalms, 2 vols., in the EBTC. A genuinely impressive and fresh Psalms commentary – Hamilton is relentless in his theological project, which makes this a really interesting read. A commentary that reads the text honestly, canonically, and with deep respect for it. It isn’t perfect – and at two (ultimately quite chunky) volumes it arguably wastes some space – but it is very, very good. Overall a 4.5/5 for me.

79. Laurence Rees, Hitler and Stalin. A masterful book. Condenses vast swathes of info and history/geography/ideology etc, and in the writer getting out of the way. Sobering in it’s careful – meticulous – retelling of a period of history and two men. Challenging that the enemy of my enemy is not my friend. 5/5

80. Charlie Connelly, Attention All Shipping! A Journey Through the Shipping Forecast. Single holiday finish was a perfect read for a beach holiday. As a keen but somewhat lapsed (London, toddlers, finances) sailor this was tremendous fun – and enjoyably written. 5/5

82. Arabic Christian Theology, edited by Dr Andrea Zaki Stephanous. A worthy but mixed bag of essays in a nicely bound hardback edited collection – I’d recommend some parts more than others. Suffered from some inconsistency (stylistic/editorial) and some over-long pieces but overall am glad I read it. 3/5

83. Taylor S. Schumann, When Thoughts and Prayers Aren’t Enough. This moving book on gun violence written by a shooting survivor is a gem of a book. Beautiful writing, very educational. Some quibbles on a few things – and I’m sure pro-gun Christian brothers and sisters would have more – but a helpful book on this divisive issue. I’m open to recommendations that are more ‘pro-gun’, too! 4/5

84. F. F. Bruce, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, WBC. A fine commentary on the letters to the Thessalonians which has convicted me of the churches need for them today. A bit jumbly (too bitty) on 2 Thess imo but overall good, if aged. 4.5/5 (closer to 4 but a high 4!). I noted at SBL there is a revised edition.
85. Timothy A. Brookins, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, paideia. This was a pleasure to read. I appreciated this commentary, from a series I’ve not engaged with much. Brookins writes well, engages widely, and thinks about the reader. A quality work. 5/5
86. Jonathan Thomas, Intentional Interruptions. This little book from Christian Focus is genuinely excellent. You can read why I think that in my review for Premier Christianity Magazine. Some niggles and oddities, mostly in terms of the copy-editing which marred my experience. Not the author’s fault! I’ll be warmly commending it to many. 5/5
87. T. M. Luhrmann, When God Talks Back. Re-reading after ~11 years in the vineyard, this remains helpful. The observation that God, to believers, is ‘realer than real’ remains true. Helpful for self-reflection. Could do with an update or sequel. 4/5
88. Carmen Joy Imes, Bearing God’s Image. Thoroughly enjoyed this new book. Excellent biblical theology, marred somewhat by endnotes (why, publishers,why?) and very readable. I share more thoughts in my review – this is helpful for pastors and compares nicely to Ros Clarke’s more pastoral/doctrinal ‘Human’. 4.5/5
89. Tremper Longmann III, Proverbs, in the BECOT. Underwhelming. Long and yet lacking in depth (minimal Hebrew, mostly in footnotes, means it’s somewhat unclear who it’s for) – topical studies at various points are more useful but don’t fully redeem it. Disagree quite firmly with his relatively disunited approach to the book. Overland’s new AOTC for a better single volume. 3/5

90. James Swallow, Nemesis. This is a Horus Heresy book I’d struggled to read before, but persistence paid off. Some slogging amidst some great action and dialogue – to finally finish, but worth it. Nice snapshot of the Emperor. 4/5

91. Gerald L. Bray, The Pastoral Epistles, in T&T Clark’s International Theological Commentary. A fine theological commentary on the pastorals. Well written – and very readable for the most part – it occasionally could have been more tightly edited. Will refer back to not least for engagement with historic interpretation. Occasionally some assertions looking for arguments! 4/5 You can read my review here.
92. Lizzie O’Hagan’s Love at First Sight. Rom-com novels aren’t my normal fare, but I enjoyed this. Brilliant fun and annoyingly clever. Well worth a read for those of us in mixed or merging organizations – and the twists were not what I thought was going on. 5/5
93. Ben Chang, Christ and the Culture Wars. An interesting book. More useful to most folk in my opinion than Rise and Triump of the Modern Self by Carl Trueman, and largely written calmly and kindly. Would be good for most folk in conservative churches to read carefully. Workmanlike on diagnosis, minimal but helpful on cure. Some odd editing and endnotes didn’t help. 4/5

94. Knut Martin Heim, Ecclesiastes, TOTC. A superb little commentary. Heim takes an interesting angle informed by stand up/humour and critique of empire – makes for a really interesting read. I wanted it to be longer! 5/5

95. Daniel C. Fredericks & Daniel J. Estes, Ecclesiastes & The Song of Songs, AOTC. This is a good example of a paired volume. Workmanlike and helpful commentary on Ecclesiastes, and a really good bit of work on the Song, in my layman’s view. 5/5
96. J. Cheryl Exum, The Song of Songs, Old Testament Library. This on the Song is a slightly quirky one – format not super clear but Exum writes well even when I completely disagree with her. Probably not much use for preachers but well worth a read for a non-evangelical perspective. 4/5
97. Julia Cameron, John Stott’s Right Hand. his was a genuinely moving, engaging and nicely written book about someone I’ve heard a lot about and know even less about. Well worth a read whatever you think about Stott – Frances is a fascinating character in her own right. 5/5 A short review explains why you should read it, even if you don’t care about Stott.

98. Thomas Schreiner, Hebrews, EBTC. A very readable and encouraging commentary on Hebrews. Felt like Schreiner got well into the text, and was delighted by it, and sought to enthuse the reader. My one criticism is that the BT could have been more integrated. Beautifully produced by Lexham. 5/5

99. Danielle Treweek, The Meaning of Singleness. This is a gem: clearly serious, calmly readable, and provocatively biblical. A genuinely excellent book. 5/5 Here’s a longer review.
100. Five Views on the New Testament Canon, edited by Stanley E. Porter and Benjamin P. Laird. This is an excellent example of the multi-perspective genre. The contributors mostly bring their A-game, and the editors introduce and conclude the volume well. Very useful little book. 4/5 (the Orthodox perspective meandered and the liberal Prot was meh IMO – read my review to find out more).
101. Paul D. Wegner, Isaiah, TOTC. This is an excellent and workmanlike commentary on Isaiah. Wegner ably replaces Motyer’s Tyndale, and complements Motyer’s classic standalone. A shade under 500 pages it’s fairly long (as is Isaiah!) but up to date on scholarship and comprehensively readable. 5/5

102. Alice T. Ott, Turning Points in the Expansion of Christianity. I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated this book from Alice Ott. I’ve  written a brief review – it’s one I’ll recommend widely! 5/5

103. Walter C. Kaiser with Tiberius M. Rata, Walking the Ancient Paths. his is a readable and exegetically useful commentary on Jeremiah published by Lexham. I would have liked more summary material at the end of sections, but for looking at the text this is a valuable tool. 4/5
104. Aaron Dembski-Bowden, The First Heretic. An enjoyable fiction finish. Packs a lot in – both relentless action and intrigue, and some lore-filling flashbacks and vignettes. A cracker. 5/5
105. John Goldingay, Lamentations, NICOT. Underwhelmed by this – unusual for both author and series! Felt Goldingay didn’t do his exegesis justice, and I was not convinced by his alterations to the NICOT formula. (This is one of 3 Lamentations commentaries I’ve worked through – comparison hurt it, but it’s deeper than that as my review explores). 3/5
106. Isaiah-Ezekiel, ESV Expository Commentary. A good if massive (1200+ pp and it’s not a small format!) ESVEC. Fyall on Isaiah helpful. Hwang on Jeremiah v v good, with interest emphasis on communication. Gibson on Lamentations very helpful, esp BT+application. Duguid on Ezekiel excellent, esp BT. Overall scrapes 5/5 You can read my review here.
107. Gina Hens-Piazza, Lamentations, Wisdom Commentary. A fascinating feminist commentary in a series I’ll need to read more of. Very readable, provocative but not always in the ways you might expect. One to ponder in addition to the usual suspects, as I note in my review. 4/5
108. Alec Motyer, The Message of James. Thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated this sensitively updated classic. Motyer is a pleasure to read. 5/5
109. Dai Hankey, Hopeward. I reviewed this lovely little book for Premier Christianity Magazine, I appreciated most of this little book – some parts spoke deeply to weariness, others didn’t ‘click’ for me so well. 4/5
110. Paul Heiney, One Wild Song. A simply gorgeous book. Painful, beautiful, unputdownable. I love how he writes. Devoured in one sitting and it will haunt me – not least with it’s themes mental health, sailing and fatherhood/sonship. 5/5
111. Joe M. Sprinkle, Daniel, EBTC. It’s great, but it’s not quite brilliant. A solid commentary (~333pp) is followed by a helpful overview of BT themes in Dan. (100pp) Could’ve been brilliant if they were more integrated. Solid 4/5
112. God’s Heart for Children, edited by Rosalind Tan, Nativity A. Petallar, and Lucy A. Hefford. Imperfect, but well structured and with more than an eye on how things cash out, this is a worthwhile read. I expand on that summary in my short review. 4/5
113. Hazel Rolston, Beyond the Edge. This is a beautifully written, harrowing yet hopeful book on post-natal depression and more. An overlooked gem from IVP. 5/5
114. David R. Helm, 1-2 Peter and Jude, Preaching the Word. I’ve not always got on with the PTW series but Helm nails 1-2 Peter and Jude. Devotionally rich, but with some good theological and exegetical technicalities going on in the background. Very readable. 4.5/5 (I occasionally felt the illustrations/intros to some passages were overblown).
115. Kate Adie, Corsets to Camouflage. This was an interesting if occasionally plodding read. 3/5, probably not going to come back to it.
116. John Goldingay, Hosea-Micah, BECOT. An impressively readable commentary on a chunk of the Minor Prophets. Goldingay balances clarity and intrigue, and let’s the weirder and harsher elements of the text speak well. 4/5
117. Dan Abnett, Prospero Burns, Horus Heresy. This remains a really clever, engaging and thought-provoking entry in the series. Not perfect as it sometimes grinds, but worth pushing through. 4/5
118. Leonardo De Chirico, Engaging with Thomas Aquinas. Finished the first editorial read of the manuscript of this new book from De Chirico. Excited to see it out on the Apollos imprint from in spring 2024 (in time for what could have been his 800th birthday in 2025).
119. Daniel-Malachi, ESV Expository Commentary. This is another solid ESVEC from Crossway. Highlights for me included Chase on Daniel, Sklar on Jonah, Firth on Habakkuk and Eric Ortlund on Malachi. 5/5
120. Jack Battrick, Brownsea Islander. A lovely little history of Brownsea told primarily through the eyes of one of its last ‘proper’ inhabitants. A magical place – we camped there the week I read it – and this is a book I return to whenever I’m down in Poole. 4/5
121. Graham McNeill, The Outcast Dead, Horus Heresy. This holds up. A cracking read – an interesting tale of mental recovery intertwined with pursuit, and more. 5/5
122. Anthony R. Petterson, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, Apollos Old Testament Commentary. This is an excellent entry in the AOTC from Petterson. Particularly strong on biblical theology, I appreciated both his clear textual work and theological observations. Definitely a solid technical commentary on these three of The Twelve imo – 5/5
123. Linford Stutzman, Sailing Through Acts. This remains a great book. Combining sailing, history, geography and Paul. Gripping and fascinating. 5/5
124. Gav Thorpe, Deliverance Lost, Horus Heresy. This is great – excellent action, espionage and despite reading it multiple times I always get the twist wrong. Brilliant stuff. 5/5
125. Libby Purves, One Summer’s Grace. And another sailing book – in this case one that’s got me daydreaming of a similar trip… haunting reading it in light of Nicholas’s suicide (see ‘One Wild Song’ by Paul, Libby’s wife, further up the thread). Still gripping and even sweeter to read as the parent of 3yo! 5/5
126. Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, NICNT. I appreciated the readability and balance of this commentary on Revelation (where often there is not much balance). Lacked a certain ‘edge’ but definitely a useful tool, if starting to get a little longer in the tooth (as a fellow child of the 90s I need to be careful) 4/5
127. Dan Abnett, Know No Fear, Horus Heresy. This is just superb. The format – multiple storylines on a linked timeline – works well, the characters are excellent, and Annette switches gears perfectly. A Horus Heresy highlight every time I read it. 5/5
128. Anwarul Azad and Ida Glazer, Genesis 1-11, Windows on the Text. A fascinating, well written and very readable commentary on Gen. 1-11. Will be interested to see the series grow. Very useful for pastors in our multi faith world – but also clearly Christian. Some odd editorial choices and a slightly fiddly layout make it a 4/5 – see my review for more (And why you should get it!)
129. Nicholas Heiney, The Silence at the Song’s End. A gorgeous, haunting little book. Having read around Nicholas’s life and death, providence placed a copy in a charity shop yesterday. This will stick with me a while. 5/5
130. Jacques Ellul, Apocalypse: The Book of Revelation. Both impenetrably weird and poignantly readable at times, Ellul’s book is fascinating. Probably more useful to the theologian than the preacher – though potentially a fun wild card. 3/5 (one due to endnotes, diabolical for a book like this)
131. The Primarchs, edited by Christian Dunn. Three excellent Horus Heresy short stories- on the Iron Hands, the Dark Angels and the Alpha legion. I felt the Fulgrim one was a bit gratuitous. 4/5
132. Charles L. Quarles, Matthew, Evangelical Biblical Theological Commentary. A generally excellent commentary on Matthew by Quarles and beautifully physically produced by LexhamPress. Let down by some annoying editorial/formatting choices, like Psalms not Psalm, random white gaps. Overall a solid 1vol – though at 828+xxiii pages, it’s big. 4/5 (
133. James Swallow, Fear to Tread. Even on its second reading this is excellent. Incredible tension, good action, and yet superb insight into micro and macro issues in the Horus Heresy universe. And some cracking quotes! 5/5
134. Christopher Watkin, Biblical Critical Theory. Finished this finally – it was a slog (especially first 2/3rds). Mulling a longer review but for some criticism see my short goodreads instant reaction. Some nuggets but buried too hard to recommend. Still not clear about who it’s ‘for’. 3/5
135. Tim Challies, Seasons of Sorrow. This is a profoundly beautiful little book. Raw and yet wonderfully crafted. Thank you, Tim, for this gift. A rare book that blends deep pain, deep theology, and good craft. A definite BOTY contender for me. 5/5 will recommend widely. I wrote a short review.
136. Ted Turnau, Oasis of Imagination. I think this is my IVP Book of the Year – and I didn’t expect that. Stunningly readable, well written and beautifully engaged with a LOT. Does what ‘Biblical Critical Theory’ fails to do in some areas. Superb. Well commissioned and  edited by two colleagues. 5/5
137. Pekka M. A. Pitkanen, Joshua, Apollos Old Testament Commentary. To me, this is a helpful technical commentary on Joshua from the AOTC. Very good on archeological issues – and some helpful comments on Israel that felt very pertinent. Pair this with Firth’s EBTC from Lexham and I think you’d be well in to preach the book. 5/5
138. Michael F. Bird and Nijay K. Gupta, Philippians, New Cambridge Bible Commentary. An admirably brief commentary on Philippians in a series that’s new to me. Bird and Gupta work well together – this is a good commentary for those interested in issues around the text and Paul. Sometimes unclear and a bit jumbled with excurses. 4/5 I wrote a shortish review here.
139. Shadows of Treachery, edited by Nick Dunn and Nick Kyme. A good anthology of Horus Heresy short stories. No duds. A couple dragged a bit but the majority were excellent. 4/5

140. David Gibson, The Lord of Psalm 23. Hiding behind this lovely Crossway cover is a superb bit of ‘deeper devotional’ writing by

David Gibson. He writes warmly, reads deeply, and it’s apparent his own shepherding has been shaped by this text. 5/5 I wrote a short review here.
141. Graham McNeill, The Angel Exterminatus. A clever bit of writing with three plots and several scenes that force you to have sympathy for villains. A great Horus Heresy entry. 4/5
142. Ted Turnau I and Ruth Naomi Flloyd, Imagination Manifesto. This is BRILLIANT. So much more than a distillation of the big book, this is a manifesto rooted in scripture for such a time as this. Seriously. Grab it online or at your local Christian bookshop. 5/5
143. John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans. A genuinely BEAUTIFUL bit of publishing – both physically and in what it’s publication says. Having Murray’s classic commentary in one beautifully finished volume is genuinely excellent. As a commentary it’s a classic for a reason, and whilst it’s mostly aged well, it’s not perfect. A solid resource. 4/5 You can read my review here.
144. Jo Frost and Peter Lynas, Being Human. This is an ambitious and very readable book from Frost and Lynas. It’s excellent for cultural conversations (on that I’d nearly give it 5/5) but slightly less strong on the theological anthropology (3-4/5, due in part to the participation part). Overall, 4/5 – see my review for a bit more.
145. Oliver R. Barclay and Robert Horn, From Cambridge to the World. As the subtitle notes, this is 125 years of student witness, in Cambridge but with lessons for the global church. A fascinating book, perhaps in need of an update. 4/5
146. Constantine R. Campbell, The Letter to the Ephesians, Pillar New Testament Commentary. A stunningly good commentary. Readable and well-researched, Campbell does a great job replacing O’Briens volume *with fewer pages*. Calm and careful on contentious things, strong on theology and Union with Christ. 5/5 A review can be found here.
147. Rosaria Butterfield, Five Lies of Our Anti-Christian Age. The very definition of a mixed bag. Beautifully written, and nicely produced by Crossway; this is a book with aspects that are 2/5, through to 5/5. Unconvinced by some assertions – yet much in agreement too. Occasionally inconsistent. Very readable. 3 or 4/5.
148. Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Betrayer, Horus Heresy. A gruelingly engaging fiction finish. Brutal but disarmingly human. 5/5
149. Nijay K. Gupta, Galatians, Story of God Bible Commentary. Really enjoyed this. Significantly more useful to the preacher, I think, than Wright’s CCF. Would pair well with Keener. An excellent example of this series, Gupta does a grand job of teasing out the rich theology and praxis of Gal. The StoG format works well here. 5/5 A medium-length review here.

150. Peter H. W. Lau, The Book of Ruth, NICOT. A gem of a commentary from Peter Lau. This new addition to the NICOT is a ‘Goldilocks zone’ book. Enough depth for most uses, readable, canonical, calm and Christological. PROBABLY my new first recommendation on Ruth. 5/5 A short review here.

151. Clive Bowsher, One. Look out for a 5* review in Premier Christianity soon! This is a marvelous little book from Clive Bowsher (author of Life in the Son in the New Studies in Biblical Theology series) distills the theology of his NSBT in an accessible and short little read. 5/5
152. J. Ayodeji Adewuya’s An African Commentary on the Letter to James, Global Readings series. Somewhat disappointed by this short commentary on James – some excellent stuff, but too short and too much of quotation of others. I appreciated Adewuya’s writing and engagement with trad. proverbs. Would love a longer treatment from him. 3/5 I wrote a short review of this short commentary here.
153. Sharon Hastings, Tending to my Thoughts. This is a powerful and profound book about recovery from/with severe mental illness. A much needed and important followup to Sharon’s superb debut Wrestling with my Thoughts, this is the kind of book it is a real honor to work on.
154. Mark of Calth, edited by Laurie Golding. A mixed bag of Horus Heresy short stories. A couple dross, the last one excellent. 3/5
155. Dan Abnett, Unremembered Empire. Remains a classic of the Horus Heresy series, in my view. So, so good. Expertly crafted, brilliant and human in scale. 5/5
156. Katherine Dell, Job, People’s Bible Commentary (BRF). An interesting little book, more devotional than commentary, by a serious scholar. An unexpected, if slightly flawed, gem. 4/5 I wrote a short review.
157. Alan Fadling, A Year of Slowing Down. This 365 day devotional has both deeply fed and deeply irritated me this year. 4/5 (mostly for it’s potentially clever but ultimately gimmicky and annoying feature of having a devotion each week repeat).
158. Alistair Begg, Truth for Life – Volume 2. A genuinely brilliant, impressively consistent 365 day devotional. The Good Book Company have a good thing going here. Begg fed me from God’s word every day – often in such a way that I shared it with others.
159. Lucy S. R. Austen, Elisabeth Elliot: A Life. [at date of publication of this blog post I haven’t quite finished, but will have by Christmas day, Lord willing]
The titles below (totalling twelve) were finished at various points in the year, but due to being primarily ‘work books’, I didn’t tweet about them in the thread. I’ve also not rated them here!
160. Andrew Shead, Walk His Way. This was a pleasure to edit and thus read several times – a devotional book walking us through the Psalms in the way Jesus did. Recommended.
161. Phil Knox, The Best of Friends. This was a really enjoyable project to work on with Phil – and a book that I’ve massively appreciated having feedback from in-real-life family and friends!  Well worth a look – we can all be better friends.
162. Clive Bowsher, Life in the Son, NSBT. As mentioned above in relation to Clive’s other book this year, I really enjoyed working through this recent entry in the NSBT series as an editor.
163. John Valentine, Jesus, the Church and the Mission of God. This major book, which I worked on for Apollos, is I think the first serious biblical theology of church planting. Valentine writes from an Anglican context, but his reflections are useful for all of us.
164. James Hely Hutchinson, Answering the Psalmist’s Perplexity, NSBT. The first NSBT volume coedited by new series co-editor Ben Gladd, this is a fascinating look at the Psalms and covenantal theology.
165. Nicholas Lunn, The Gospels Through Old Testament Eyes. This is a significant Apollos monograph looking at allusions to a range of Old Testament texts in the Gospels. It is engaged enough for scholarly readers, but will be particularly valuable to preachers, and is arranged with them in mind.
166. Mark Broadway, Journeying with God in the Wilderness. A lenten devotional based in the book of Numbers. Readable, wise, and full of hard-won wisdom-through-pain, Mark does a great job of drawing the reader through the book of Numbers and towards the Cross of Christ. Why not order a copy now for Lent 2024?
167. T. Desmond Alexander, The Message of the Kingdom of God, Bible Speaks Today Themes. This is a masterful exposition of a vital theme of the whole Bible, from an author whose work on Kingdom and biblical theology is superlative. Desi does a great job of particularly drawing out the Bible’s teaching about the King. I had the honour of editing this book, with the series editor Derek Tidball, and also the daunting opportunity to write the study guide that goes in the back. Look out for it in January 2024!
168. Nay Dawson, She Needs. A moving, personal and deeply challenging book – Nay invites us all, regardless of our sex or view on complementarianism/egalitarianism, to consider how women could flourish in your local church. Look out for it in March 2024.
169. Wayne Grudem, 1 Peter (Revised Edition), Tyndale New Testament Commentary. It was instructive working with Wayne, and series editor Eckhard Schnabel on the revision of Grudem’s 1 Peter commentary. More than 6 thousand changes to the original, ranging from tweaks to reworks, to removals and additions, make this a proper revision. It was a privilege to watch these two senior scholars interact in the tracked changes, too! Look out for it in June 2024.

170+ 171. L. Michael Morales, Numbers 1-19 and Numbers 20-36, Apollos Old Testament Commentary. This has been a labour of love for the author – and a painful privilege as an editor watching it get cut down to size! Even so, watch out for volume 1 in the Spring of 2024, and volume 2 some time in the Summer.

172. Nam Joon Kim, Busy for Self, Lazy for God. A really interesting book from a South Korean pastor that uses the book of Proverbs to challenge the way we live our lives. I recommend it warmly. 4.5/5

*also an incomplete list
**nine years ago I was an MA student, so can’t be held responsible for publishing decisions.

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