On My Shelf helps you get to know various writers through a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lives as readers.
I asked Andrew Wilson—author and teaching pastor at King’s Church, London—about what’s on his nightstand, the books he re-reads, books that most help him teach Scripture to others, and more.
What's on your nightstand right now?
An alarm clock and a pint of water. (It never ceases to amaze me that Americans keep theological books on their nightstands; in the UK, we tend to keep them in our offices or studies.) But assuming this is a way of asking “What books are you reading this month?” I’ll try a different answer. I’m halfway through Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels by Richard Hays, Civilization by Niall Ferguson, and a collection of essays on liberalism by John Gray. I’ve just finished Rod Dreher’sThe Benedict Option and Tish Harrison Warren's excellent Liturgy of the Ordinary. (Next to my bed I also have Lonely Planet’s guide to France. For daydreaming purposes.)
What are some books you regularly re-read and why?
Every Lent I re-read one chapter (“Yeshua”) in Francis Spufford’s Unapologetic, because it makes the Jesus story fresh like nothing else I’ve read. I don’t find prayer easy, so I try to have a book on prayer with me all the time, which means I’ll probably go back to Pete Greig’s God on Mute and Paul Miller’s A Praying Life in due course (I’m currently in Tim Keller’s Prayer). Then there are books that just refresh me in God when I read them: Eugene Peterson’s The Contemplative Pastor, Kevin DeYoung’s The Good News We Almost Forgot, G. K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy. I also love David Bentley Hart’s (terribly titled but brilliantly written) Atheist Delusions, just for fun.
What books have most profoundly shaped how you serve and lead others for the sake of the gospel?
John Piper’s Desiring God and The Pleasures of God turned my world upside down when I was in my early 20s, and they continue to shape my preaching and teaching today. N. T. Wright’s Christian Origins and the Question of God series grounded me in the historicity of the New Testament. Mike Reeves’s The Good God made the Trinity not just fresh but also delightful, as well as comprehensible. Peter Leithart’s 1 and 2 Kings commentary helped me read and teach Scripture with fresh insight and confidence. And perhaps a surprising one, but Donald Miller’s Searching for God Knows What articulated the problem with the human race in a way that I had never seen done before, and permanently changed the way I do apologetics.
What books have most helped you teach Scripture to others?
The ones I’ve just mentioned, but also several commentaries that reach the parts other beers don’t reach. (I hope that language translates into American.) Alec Motyer’s The Prophecy of Isaiah is stunning, as is Douglas Moo’s Romans and Don Carson’s The Gospel According to John, and Peter Leithart’s A Son to Me. I’d also add a couple of older works: Augustine’s Confessions, Luther’s rants, the Heidelberg Catechism, and Pascal’s Pensees.
What are you learning about life and following Jesus?
George Muller was right: my first duty in the morning is to have my soul happy in the Lord. We have three young children, all of whom are up early, and I have a new commute to London to contend with, so it isn’t always possible to have a “quiet time” first thing in the morning. But my spiritual fruitfulness rises or falls with the extent to which I am happy in God, because until I am, I am no use to anybody. Rachel will confirm this, I suspect.
Also in the On My Shelf series: Barton Swaim • Sally Lloyd-Jones • Darryl Williamson • D. A. Horton • Carl Ellis • Owen Strachan • Thomas Kidd • David Murray • Jarvis Williams • Gracy Olmstead • Matthew Hall • Drew Dyck • Louis Markos • Ray Ortlund • Brett McCracken • Mez McConnell • Erik Raymond • Sandra McCracken • Tim Challies • Sammy Rhodes • Karen Ellis • Alastair Roberts • Scott Sauls • Karen Swallow Prior • Jackie Hill Perry • Bruce Ashford • Jonathan Leeman • Megan Hill • Marvin Olasky • David Wells • John Frame • Rod Dreher • James K. A. Smith • Randy Alcorn • Tom Schreiner • Trillia Newbell • Jen Wilkin • Joe Carter • Timothy George • Tim Keller • Bryan Chapell • Lauren Chandler • Mike Cosper • Russell Moore • Jared Wilson • Kathy Keller • J. D. Greear • Kevin DeYoung • Kathleen Nielson • Thabiti Anyabwile • Elyse Fitzpatrick • Collin Hansen • Fred Sanders • Rosaria Butterfield • Nancy Guthrie • Matt Chandler