I often get asked for books that I would recommend. Here are some of the books that have influenced me the most over the years.
My Baker’s Dozen Recommended books for every believer:
1. Holiness by J.C. Ryle
This has been one of the most influential books that I have ever read, the evangelical Bishop of Liverpool applying God’s word to our hearts in a call for holy living.
2. Experiencing God’s Presence by Matthew Henry
Matthew Henry, the well-known Bible commentator, writes this wonderful treatise on prayer and upon waiting on God’s hand to move in your life.
3. Keeping the Heart by John Flavel
Flavel, one of the great Puritan authors, writes this short treatise on the importance of guarding your heart from sin and from error. It is very practical and will minister to your soul.
4. Spiritual Depression by D.M. Lloyd-Jones
It seems that spiritual depression is one of the greatest challenges to our culture today, especially for those who lead in churches. The good doctor spends time reflecting on the sources of spiritual depression and its cure.
5. Five Great Evangelists by John Armstrong
Short and very readable biographies of five great evangelists from history. Armstrong looks at the lives of George Whitefield, John Wesley, Duncan Matheson, Howell Harris, and Ashael Nettleton. These are inspiring and encouraging and well worth the read.
6. Then Sings My Soul by Robert Morgan
These are short devotions based on many classic hymns, also containing little tidbits about the hymn background. Good stuff.
7. Enjoying the Presence of God by D.M. Lloyd-Jones
Again, the good doctor focuses on the heart of the believer as he comes into the presence of God.
8. A Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes
Another Puritan classic designed to minister to the hurting soul. Heavy, but a must read.
9. A Call to Prayer by J.C. Ryle
A short tract by the evangelical Bishop reminding us of the importance of prayer.
10. How Readest Thou? by J.C. Ryle
A short tract by the evangelical Bishop reminding us of the importance of reading the Bible and of understanding it as God’s inerrant word.
11. A Faith to Live By by Donald Macleod
For those who might not have grown up in the Reformed tradition or for those who are still learning how to apply their theology to life, this is a great little book designed to do both.
12. TULIP by Duane Edward Spencer
This is a book by an ex-Methodist minister who left his pulpit and became a Calvinist through his study of scripture. This is his exposition of what are known as the “Five Points of Calvinism.”
13. The Holy War by John Bunyan
Most people are familiar with Bunyan’s classic, Pilgrim’s Progress. This is a different allegory from a slightly different angle, but equally as delightful.
For those who might like a little more depth:
14. Lectures on Theology by John Dick
Hard to find Systematic Theology from a very influential Scottish divine. His writings influenced many of the theological giants that would follow like Alexander, Hodge, and Dabney.
15. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim
A rich treat on the life of Christ from the perspective of a Jewish Rabbi converted to Christianity. A wonderful read with much insight into the Jewish traditions that shaped Jesus’ life and teaching.
16. Old Paths by J.C. Ryle
A series of essays on important theological matters; a worthwhile read.
17. John G. Paton: an autobiography by John Paton
Paton was the second missionary to the island of Tana in the New Hebrides (the first missionaries were eaten by the Cannibals that lived there!). His biography reads much like an adventure novel as he faces challenge after challenge working with these cannibal tribes.
18. Evidences of Christianity by Archibald Alexander
An excellent work of apologetics from the very first professor of Princeton Seminary.
19. The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis
One of the most vexing problems that faces many Christians today is the problem of pain and sin within this world. Lewis does an excellent job of framing the question and providing a Christian apologetic for dealing with the challenges brought. Note that Lewis does some weird things when it comes to animal pain, but, hey, no one is perfect.
20. Miracles by C.S. Lewis
Many are familiar with Lewis’ book, Mere Christianity; this book is another apologetic work, from a presuppositional perspective, on the miraculous. In this book, Lewis exposes the dangers of naturalism and shows the philosophical path that secular humanism takes one down. Excellent, though Lewis does a few weird things when it comes to a theistic evolution, just keep that in mind.
21. Kingdom Education by Glen Schultz
A good call providing a Biblical rationale for educating your children with a Christian worldview, not with the secular-humanistic worldview provided by state-run schools.
22. Total Truth by Nancy Pearcy
Dr. Pearcy was one of Francis Schaeffer’s students and applies much of his apologetic vision to our modern culture. A very worthwhile read.
23. Practical Discourses on God’s Sovereignty by Elisha Coles
Very hard to find, but rich discourses on the Sovereignty of God by a lesser known Puritan writer.