Recommended Reading List

I would always put The Bible at the top of my recommended reading list for anyone. The Bible translation that I personally recommend is the New International Version. It’s the version that I use in my personal reading anymore. I’ve read through the King James Version, the Revised Standard Version and the New American Standard Version in the past, but I’ve found the NIV generally to be the most up to date and readable. In my pastoral experience, I’ve had a number of people come up to me and ask me which version I was reading from the pulpit, because they found that they could understand that version pretty easily. I am fluent in Greek and Hebrew as well, and often go to the original languages to read individual verses, whole passages and entire books. Moreover, I have also been over the history and transmission of the scriptural manuscripts in some detail. Certainly no translation is 100% perfect, and the transmission of the scriptures over the centuries has not been entirely perfect, but what is written and understandable is more than enough for saving faith in Christ, spiritual growth and a well grounded faith of reasonable convictions.

The following is a list of books which I have found helpful or enjoyable over the years. It is by no means complete, and will definitely be expanded in the future.

  • Christian Classics
  • Contemporary Christian Books
  • Resources for a Well Grounded Faith in a World of Skeptics
  • Deeper Christian Life
  • Prayer
  • Revival
  • Evangelism
  • Adult Singles, Christian or Otherwise
  • Marriage and Family
  • Fantasy, Science Fiction and Children’s Books
  • Spiritual Warfare
  • Biblical Interpretation and Study
  • Christian Biography and Autobiography
  • Theology for Faith and Living
  • For Pastors and Christian Leaders
  • Readable Works on Ancient History

    Christian Classics

    Too many classics are deeply neglected. Here is a small start. The lessons and experience of Christians of ages past are still fresh, instructive and moving today.

    • C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.
    • John Wesley,The Journal of John Wesley
    • David Brainerd and Jonathan Edwards, The Life of David Brainerd
    • Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship.
    • Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together.
    • A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy.
    • Hannah Whithall Smith, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life.
    • Hannah Whithall Smith, The God of All Comfort.
    • John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress.
    • Richard Baxter, The Saints’ Everlasting Rest.
    • Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.
    • A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God.
    • A.W. Tozer, The Divine Conquest.


    Contemporary Christian Books

    I recommend Knowing God very highly, since that’s what being a Christian is all about.

    • J.I. Packer, Knowing God.
    • Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life.
    • Sheldon Van Auken, A Severe Mercy.
    • Ron Hutchcraft, Called to Greatness.
    • Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God.
    • Henry T. Blackaby and Melvin D. Blackaby, Experiencing God Together.
    • Frank Peretti, The Wounded Spirit (the only work that I know of dealing with bullying from a Christian perspective).


    Resources for a Well Grounded Faith in a World of Skeptics

    • James Sire, Scripture Twisting.
    • James Sire, The Universe Next Door.
    • Paul E. Little, Know Why You Believe.
    • Paul E. Little, Know What You Believe.
    • Josh McDowell, More Than A Carpenter.
    • Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ.
    • Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith.
    • Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator.
    • Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Other Gods.
    • C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain.
    • C.S. Lewis, Miracles.
    • Edwin Yamauchi, The Stones and the Scriptures.
    • Edwin Yamauchi, Africa and the Bible.


    Deeper Christian Life

    The trilogy of J. Sidlow Baxter on sanctification may not be currently in print, but it is well worth the reading and understanding. His treatment of the scriptures brings new life to truth which has often lain dormant in the study and often the experience of the church for the past century.

    • A.B. Simpson, The Christ Life and the Self Life.
    • A.W.Tozer, How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit.
    • Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ.
    • Neil T. Anderson, Victory Over the Darkness.
    • J. Sidlow Baxter, A New Call to Holiness.
    • J. Sidlow Baxter, His Deeper Work in Us.
    • J. Sidlow Baxter, Our High Calling.
    • James Gilchrist Lawson, The Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians.


    Prayer

    The books of Andrew Murray and E.M. Bounds are still without parallel, although Wesley Duewel’s book may well come to become regarded as a classic as well.

    • Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer.
    • Andrew Murray, The Ministry of Intercession.
    • Andrew Murray, The Inner Chamber and the Inner Life.
    • Wesley Duewel, Touch the World Through Prayer
    • R.A. Torrey, The Power of Prayer and the Prayer of Power.


    Revival

    • Charles G. Finney, Lectures on Revivals of Religion.
    • Charles G. Finney, Reflections on Revival.


    Evangelism

    • Arthur Blessitt, Street University.
    • Mark McCloskey, Tell It Often — Tell It Well: Making the Most of Witnessing Opportunities.


    Adult Singles, Christian or Otherwise

    The books by Henry Cloud and John Townsend are the only ones that I recommend for Christian singles. They have a particularly good critique of Joshua Harris’s statements in his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye in Boundaries in Dating. For a secular view of developing yourself for regular dating, David Burns’s book is still the best I’ve read, but Cloud and Townsend have much that someone who is not an evangelical Christian would appreciate also.

    • Henry Cloud and John Townsend, Boundaries in Dating: Making Dating Work.
    • Henry Cloud, How to Get a Date Worth Keeping.
    • David Burns, Intimate Connections.


    Marriage and Family

    The book on the Song of Solomon I wish I had written. It is valuable for singles, married people and premarital counselling.

    • Tommy Nelson, The Book of Romance.


    Fantasy, Science Fiction and Childrens Literature

    The books of George McDonald may not be easy to find, but they are well worth the effort. C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy is behind the times scientifically, but very up to date with the philosophical discusssions of emergent evolution and the depictions of spiritual warfare. They are very well written, although That Hideous Strength has a number of Anglo-centric elements that might make it difficult for someone who is not an Anglophile to understand on the first, second or even third try.

    • C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia.
    • C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet (first volume of the space trilogy).
    • C.S. Lewis, Perelandra (second volume of the space trilogy).
    • C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength (third volume of the space trilogy).
    • George McDonald, The Princess and the Goblin.
    • George McDonald, The Princess and Curdie.
    • George McDonald, The Lost Princess.
    • George McDonald, The Golden Key and Other Stories.
    • George McDonald, Phantastes.


    Spiritual Warfare

    • Neil T. Anderson, The Bondage Breaker.
    • Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts, War on the Saints.
    • C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters.


    Biblical Interpretation and Study

    • Walter Kaiser, Toward an Exegetical Theology.
    • Donald Carson, Exegetical Fallacies.
    • Kenneth Kitchen, The Old Testament in Its World.


    Christian Biography and Autobiography

    • Billy Graham,Just as I Am.
    • C.S.Lewis, Surprised by Joy.


    For Pastors and Christian Leaders

    • Steven Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
    • Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor.


    Theology for Faith and Living

    • John Stott, The Incomparable Christ.
    • John Stott, The Cross of Christ.


    Readable Works on Ancient History and Culture

    Much interest in pseudoscience such as UFOlogy seems to me to be based in much ignorance of and unfamiliarity with what is actually known about ancient history and culture. The average person can understand most of these works. I am indebted to Dr. Edwin Yamauchi, whose classes I profited from for all my four years at Miami University, for many of these references, as well as Dr. Peter Rose.

    • John Boardman, The Greeks Overseas.
    • W.K.C. Guthrie, Ancient Greek Religion.
    • E.R. Dodds, The Greeks and the Irrational.
    • H.W.F. Saggs, The Greatness That Was Babylon.
    • L. Sprague de Camp, The Ancient Engineers.
    • A.T. Olmstead, The Persians.
    • Michael Grant, The Classical Greeks.
    • Michael Grant, The Etruscans.
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