Top 10 Books of the Last 50 Years!

[From the archives.]


Have you seen this graph? What a great way to depict the most-read books of the last 50 years.

I was expecting to see the Bible at number one, but look at that margin! And I never in a million years would have guessed number two correctly. In fact, some of those books wouldn’t have even entered my mind as making the list at all. For that matter, I’ve never even heard of two of them. Have you heard of them all?

I figure most people have heard of the Bible, but whether people read it is another matter, and (for those who do read it) the way they go about taking in God’s word can be still another matter.

I think of the Bereans, who listened to Paul and Barnabas preach and then fact-checked them against what Scripture itself said. If even the Apostles’ preaching was subjected to such scrutiny, the same applies even more so to those of us who teach and write today.

So if you ever see any discrepancies between what I write and what’s in the Bible, here’s my tip: dump me and go with what the Bible says, please! It’s the noble thing to do.

Then there’s the person who wrote Psalm 119. Now there’s a doozy of a psalm. It’s 176 verses long, and each verse is a shout out in praise of God’s word.

Not only that, but the psalm is divided into stanzas of eight couplets, each couplet within a stanza beginning with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet, each successive stanza employing the next letter, so that the psalmist began the first eight lines with aleph and proceeded to beth for the next eight and so on until reaching taw for the eight couplets of the final stanza.

As C.S. Lewis said in Reflections on the Psalms:

It is a pattern, a thing done like embroidery, stitch by stitch, through long, quiet hours, for love of the subject and for the delight in leisurely, disciplined craftsmanship.

Psalm 119 is nothing less than a love poem to God’s word.

And then there’s Ezekiel’s relationship with God’s word, one that is quite literally visceral:

“But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious people; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”

Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.

And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.

Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. (Ezekiel 2:8-3:3.)

Ezekiel sure knew how to digest the word of God.


Questions to Ponder:

When did you last read the Bible? What part?

What kind of taste did it leave in your mouth? Why?


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13 Responses to Top 10 Books of the Last 50 Years!

  1. Aimee Byrd says:

    Oops, link doesn’t work.
    Great Lewis quote!

  2. The link to the graph doesn’t work. I’d like to see it 🙂

  3. Ezekiel 36. Left a sweeter and more hopeful and profound taste. New Covenant, I’m ready!

  4. I would have guessed number 2 of the books correctly, but only because I’ve recently been studying China (as part of my degree in International Development). Mao also has the dubious honour of being responsible for the most number of deaths of any person in history. Nice bloke. Surprised that Harry Potter is third.

    Yesterday’s Lent reading was when I last read the bible. The passages were from Jeremiah and Luke and were a bit weird. My notes say ‘stay focused on the prize’.

    • Tim says:

      Which passages did you read in Luke and Jeremiah, Sandy? It sounds like an interesting combo to lead to the prize focus aspect of our walk of faith.

      • I’m reading a book called The Little Way of Lent, with daily readings throughout Lent. It expects the reader to have undertaken some sort of fast, so in that context Jeremiah 7:23-28 and Luke 11:14-23 were interpreted by the author of the book as reminding us of the importance of obeying God, staying focused on Jesus, not letting worldly distractions come in, and that the act of fasting itself is a good way to retain our focus and to reorient oneself back to where we should be. The ‘stay focused on the prize’ was my note to myself to remind me that God is the prize and being one with Him is the ultimate goal.

        • Tim says:

          I just read those passages and can see how they would bring that thought to mind, Sandy. Thanks for sharing your Lenten devotional with us.

  5. Jeannie says:

    My last reading was from Luke 12 and what stood out were these 2 parts: “Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” and “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

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