For this month’s top ten list, I thought it would be fun to make a list of top ten books in the Bible. These are not, by any means, the ten most impactful nor the most essential books, but rather those that I enjoy reading and, in almost every case, rereading. Of course the four Gospel books are arguably the most important books, along with Genesis and Revelation. Romans is among the most powerful in delivering a message. This list is nothing more than one Christian’s personal preference, so take it as such and know that I would welcome reading your own list! But before we jump into my list, here is a very interesting graphic by BibleGateway with the most popular books:
10. Ezra – This is probably not a book that would make many of your top ten lists, which is part of the reason why I am glad it is so high on mine. I have always enjoyed the story of the man who led his people out of Babylon, displayed dire concern for the welfare of his nation, sparked a spiritual revival, and ultimately saw the rebuilding of the walls in Jerusalem. In particular Chapter 9:5-15 is of note, as that is the part containing a great intercessory prayer on behalf of his nation.
9. 1 Kings – This is probably another unexpected entry, and it is all because of the story of one man: Elijah. It was a tough call between Elijah and Elisha, as both of them have excellent stories embedded in the two books of Kings. But ultimately, Elijah’s showdown with the followers of Baal at Mount Carmel just cannot be topped. Also working in the favor of the books of Kings would be the picture of how a nation’s fervor for God can ebb and flow, usually following the actions and choices of the leader. How great it is when you come to those ones who truly sought after God, breaking down the idolatrous barriers erected by his predecessors. Some might find the book a tough read, being historical and all, but there is a lot of good stuff in here.
8. Ezekiel – It is hard to rate a book so high when I have read it only once, but it has left a lasting impression. I remember reading the book and loving the imagery contained in there, and it had a bigger impact on that first read than either Isaiah or Jeremiah. Its place has dropped over the years, mainly because I have not revisited it, but that is a problem I plan to correct this year as I am reading through each of the prophetic books. It will be interesting to see how this shifts after I get a second read completed.
7. Judges – This book reads like a series of short stories, following the lives of men and women who were called to guide Israel in the right direction prior to their demand for a king. Like the Kings of Israel, some Judges did a better job than others. And the one story in here that steals the show, every time, is Samson. Not only is it really awesome to picture one man fighting with the jawbone of a donkey, but it also serves as a great reminder that even the strongest of men have weaknesses that can humble them. And no man, however strong, is truly strong apart from the power of God.
6. 2 Timothy – One of the shorter books on the list, and the first of Paul’s epistles to grace the list. Like its predecessor, the book of 2 Timothy passes along messages regarding the importance of teaching others and being ready to preach the Gospel. This one scores high on the list primarily because it usually gets read right after I go through the first one, which is a few spots higher on this list. The message resonates with me every time, which is why the two Timothy letters are probably the most-read books in the Bible for me.
5. Titus – This placement can be summed up with two verses: “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” Titus 2:7-8. I love those verses, and those serve as a backbone to what I strive to do as a Christian. This is the shortest of the books on my list, and, like Timothy, has a message that really packs a powerful punch and resonates with my soul. It is now common practice for me to read this right after the Timothies.
4. John – A Gospel book arrives at last, and if you were expecting to find all four of them on this list you will be disappointed. All four of them are excellent, each one having its own unique style and merit. But while Matthew, Mark, and Luke all are centered around the actions and teachings of Jesus, John takes things to a different level and revolves around the spiritual impact of Jesus and his ministry. That is not to say that it is better than the other three, but rather the depth of the material is what makes me return to John time and time again.
3. Joshua – This is the book I often turn to when I am looking to engage in a study of manhood, leadership, and prayer. The man who had to follow in the footsteps of Moses, Joshua leads God’s people out of the wilderness and into the land promised to Abraham. But everything is far from peaceful and Joshua engages in a series of battles where he relies, time and again, on God’s power and God’s commands rather than his own (or what would make sense to us). Joshua’s prayer to stop the sun and the moon is one of the most powerful moments in the entire Bible and to know that I can tap into a fraction of that potential with the proper prayer life is enough to motivate me to draw closer to God through prayer.
2. 1 Timothy – My favorite letter of Paul and my top book in the New Testament. It is no surprise, as previous entries alluded to its presence. The practical advice, geared toward those who are called to teach as well as verse 4:12 make this one a gem among gems in the Bible. As a newer Christian, as well as moderately on the young side in age, I still hold onto 1 Timothy 4:12 as a verse to write upon my heart. I plan to instill it into the hearts of all my children some day, as well. If you haven’t read 1 Timothy in a while, do yourself a favor and dive right in. There is bound to be something there for you.
1. Job – This has been my favorite book ever since my first reading of the Bible. I have read and studied it a few times and still haven’t managed to wrap my head around the magnitude of everything in here. Many people point to the early chapters of God and Satan discussing Job, or look at this as a great book for human suffering, but it is so much more than that. There is an unending reassurance in here that God is in control. Who am I to question why this happened instead of that? Who am I to tell God what I deserve (as if that conversation could EVER go well, as we are all sinners and all deserving of the eternal torment of hell if judged by the merits of our own actions) or do not deserve? The questioning, the doubting, the agonizing all builds up to the crescendo where God steps in and takes over the discussion. And it is wonderful.
What about you? What would your top books of the Bible be? If you decide to do a post on your own blog, be sure to tag me so I can read your list as well!