I love the Bible. All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, rebuke, correction, and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17). That being said, I do have my favorite books of the Bible. Here are my top 10 favorite books of the Bible and why:
10. Philemon – This is a newcomer to the list. For most of my life, I have not given much thought to this tiny letter from Paul. Yet, if you read it closely, you will see a story within the story. It is not just a story of Onesimus and Philemon. It is a story of us all.
9. Malachi – It has been years since preaching through Malachi, but I still remember the awe it would bring to my heart and mind when I did. This being the last word of a major prophet of God (Simeon and Anna were not major prophets, though called prophets) until John the Baptist. I find it interesting that Malachi ends his message stating that God will turn the hearts of the fathers to his children and the hearts of the children to their fathers (4:6), and then the first thing we see about John the Baptist (before he is born, while the angel speaks to Zechariah) is that he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children (Luke 1:17). There’s a lot more to this book, but I don’t have the time (let’s just say: cleansing lye).
8. Daniel – I love Daniel, but not because of all the apocalyptic stuff (though that is interesting when studied correctly). Daniel and his friends are carried off as youngsters, privileged youngsters at that. Yet they were resolved to live for God. D. L. Moody once said that the world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him. I think the world saw it, but it was about 2700 years ago.
7. Judges – Almost for the exact opposite reasons for liking Daniel, I like Judges. Judges is a tragedy. The further you go, the more tragic it becomes. It was written to be that way. If one is not careful, he will miss that the last story actually should go at the beginning of the book if written in chronological order. However, it is written in tragic order. We see God’s people doing the most heinous acts without thinking twice, and it got worse as the book progressed. They did what was right in their own sight. It serves as a warning to us. My favorite story is that of Abimelech (particularly Jotham’s parable). Somehow, by God’s providence, I was preaching this section right before the 2016 elections.
6. The Gospel According to John – The simplicity of this Gospel Account coupled with its outstanding claims to Jesus’ divinity is my favorite of the accounts. There are stories in this that the others just simply do not have (and probably one too many, if you know what I mean). This account has shaped my heart and mind more than any other Gospel Account. My favorite chapter: 6.
5. Philippians – Some of the greatest verses in all Scripture come from this little letter (1:6; 1:21; 2:3-4; 2:5-11; 2:12-13; 3:7-11; 3:12-14; 3:19-21; 4:4; 4:5-7; 4:8; 4:13). I mean you might as well memorize the entire letter! This is the letter to read over and over again when you are in need of encouragement and a reminder that God is working even when you cannot see or understand what He is doing.
4. Ephesians – This is the letter for the church. It’s practicality level is off the charts. In an age where people are angry, easily offended, and seeking their own way rather than the way of unity, it is evident that this letter of Paul’s has not been read, studied, or preached enough.
3. James – Perhaps it is because I just went through this book that I like it so much, but I believe this is probably the most practical of all New Testament epistles for the believer. It gets to the nitty-gritty details of the Christian life. There is not a lot of doctrine in this letter, just evidences of the Christian life. If one is a Christian, here are things they will do. That doesn’t mean that doing them makes one a Christian, but only points to a changed inner-life expressing itself outwardly.
2. Colossians – What Ephesians is for the church, Colossians is for the individual. I know, I know; it was written for the church of Colossae, but its practical living is delivered for the individual as they live in community. This has been my second favorite book of the Bible for years. I’m not sure if anything will ever supplant it. My favorite passage comes out of the second chapter:
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him, (2:13-15, ESV).
1. Romans – No surprise there, if you know me! Romans is the entire Bible in one book. It spends so much time on explaining our depravity, that when one is at the brink of hopelessness, Paul brings in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then he gets into the manifestations of the Christian life–how the gospel changes our heart and our acts. The number of people in the history of the church who were directly impacted for life because of this book is probably without number, but men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and John Wesley are but four. I’m not on the same level as these men, but my life was completely changed by studying this book.
There you have it. My top 10 favorite books of the Bible. What is your favorite? Let me know with your comments.
P. S. – Hebrews should belong on this list as well. Perhaps about 2 1/2. No book is like Hebrews.