These are the five books that I most enjoyed of those which I read this year:

05. Bart D. Ehrman. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why.

I read part of this book a year or so ago. It was not until I had to do some reading from this book for one of my classes this term that I really began to enjoy it. Ehrman did a few things for me via this book: (1) He peaked my interested in textual criticism. (2) He showed me the value of textual criticism as relates to the study of Christian origins. (3) He showed how important it is to place faith in Christ and not in the Bible (this does not mean one does not affirm the truth of the Bible; it means one’s faith should not stand or fall based on doctrines like inerrancy and inspiration).

Ehrman reaches a lot of conclusions with which I disagree. Often I felt that he read the Bible like a fundamentalist. Nevertheless, I am very glad I read through it.

04. Nicholas Perrin. Thomas: The Other Gospel.

I have never given extra canonical books much interest. It was not until these last few months that I realized how important it is to become familiar with these works and the doctrine found in them. One of those books is the Gospel of Thomas.

I know there are several other important works on Thomas that I hope to read soon, but Perrin’s was enjoyable because you get his perspectives as well as a critical introduction to the works of others like Elain Pagels and April DeConick. Perrin proposes that the original Thomas is a product of Syriac Christianity and it was likely written in Syriac. Even if one is prone to affirm as earlier date for Thomas it is worth reading Perrin’s work because there are some important arguments that must be addressed.

03. N.T. Wright. Justification: God’s Plan, Paul’s Vision.

To put it simply this is a must read book for anyone interested in current trends in Pauline scholarship. While I read this work I read many of the essays in Justification and Variegated Nomism, V. 2. as well as G.P. Waters’ Justification and the New Perspective on Paul. I don’t think I have come away with an opinion on this whole justification discussion, but I have a lot to think about.

02. J.R. Daniel Kirk. Unlocking Romans: Resurrection and the Justification of God.

I read this book earlier in the year. One thing that I really enjoyed is this book by Kirk really goes to great lengths to emphasis the importance of the resurrection in Romans. I think many Christians leave resurrection from a Pauline perspective to 1 Corinthians 15. This is wrong. It is central to Pauline theology and as regards Romans this book presents a very convincing argument for reading resurrection as a central theme.

01. Richard Bauckham. The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple: Narrative, History, and Theology in the Gospel of John.

Honestly, I have just begun this book but I find it fascinating. Johannine scholarship has been very creative the last few decades, but I am not sure if it has brought us anywhere. I think Bauckham’s work is an old, familiar tune that needs to be heard once again.