We have compiled a list of Christian books that have helped us in our walk with the Lord - books that have inspired, encouraged and challenged us to lead more godly lives. But before you read any further we’ll just explain the star rating.
* Means easy to read and excellent if you’ve recently become a Christian. These will also tend to be smaller publications perfect for those who’ve never really been into reading.
* * Great for those who read quite a bit already and like to get their teeth into something.
* * * Books that can be hard going and take some concentration (you may even need a dictionary by your side!) but are definitely worth sticking at – it’ll be worth it in the end.
The Bible The Bible is the inspired word of God. It was written by holy men as they were moved by God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness. No human book can compare with this book, and none of the books listed below can rival or replace it.
The Holiness of God - R.C. Sproul **
I was really blessed by this book as it deals with who God is and how holy He actually is. It was an eye-opener to me and I realised how unholy I am before God. I recommend it for everyone seeking to become more Christlike.
Self-explanatory title really! Discusses who God is and tackles attributes like His sovereignty, foreknowledge and holiness. Very clear, practical and straightforward.
If You Could Ask God One Question - Paul Williams and Barry Cooper *
Often we can find it hard to explain even simple things to non-Christians. This book gives the answer to many of the questions they ask. Each short chapter has as its title a question that atheists often ask, such as ‘If You're Really There, God, Why On Earth Don't You Prove It?’, ‘Why Do You Allow Suffering?’ and ‘What About Followers Of Other Religions?’ Each chapter answers the questions clearly and in a way that is easy to understand. I've found this book really helpful and great to quote to non-Christian friends.
The Pursuit of Holiness - Jerry Bridges *
This book is small, extremely practical and thoroughly biblically based. It helps, encourages and challenges us to lead holy lives.
Holiness - J.C. Ryle **
“Here is the whole reason why many professing Christians never seem to get on; they are careless and slovenly about their private prayers. They read their Bibles but little, and with very little heartiness of spirit. They give themselves no time for self-inquiry and quiet thought about the state of their soul.” Ryle, in this weighty book brings to light the very real need for all people to be holy. Hebrews 12:14 speaks of “holiness without which no man shall see the Lord”. The all-important question that Ryle raises is this: “Do we have holiness? Will we see the Lord?” After asking these questions he goes on to explore the ways in which one should be holy, why holiness is necessary, and concludes by pointing to the only place where holiness can be found. He concludes: “Never complain of the times, but cease to do evil, and labour to do well, and all will be well; get but better hearts and better lives, and you will quickly see better times.”
A View of the Covenant of Grace - Thomas Boston ***
Have you ever wondered what the covenant of grace actually is? Perhaps you have heard people talking about it, or perhaps you talk about it yourself, without fully understanding what it is. This is a vital divine truth to come to understand, as our salvation is intimately connected with God having made this covenant from all eternity with his Son, Jesus Christ. Thomas Boston, in typical puritan style, leaves no stone unturned in his minute analysis of this topic. However, his writing is not just a dry lecture, but rather ties together deep biblical understanding and insight with a continual pointing of the reader to the wonders of Christ. This book has been extremely helpful to me, and I thoroughly recommend it!
Walking with God - Richard D. Philips **
This is more of a devotional book, with a very clear explanation of 12 of the most well-known Psalms, focusing on discipleship. I have found it so uplifting and I learnt a lot that I had never thought about with regard to these passages of Scripture.
Dare to Stand Alone – Stuart Olyott *
This commentary on Daniel is part of a series which has been specifically designed to be accessible to the average reader. It aims to help its readers enjoy studying Daniel and learn how this Old Testament book applies to us today. It provides a great biblical encouragement to stand alone in a hostile, unbelieving world.
The Gospel As It Really Is - Stuart Olyott **In this commentary on Romans, the author makes complex arguments understandable even to those who have limited knowledge of the Gospel. A most worthwhile read for those who want a clear understanding of the rich theology of Romans.
Christ and His Rivals - Douglas Wilson **
This thorough commentary on Hebrews does something that many commentaries don't do, that is to show how the New Testament is founded on the Old Testament. To help us understand Hebrews, then, the book addresses those Old Testament passages that are most quoted in Hebrews. A very worthwhile read for those who want to gain an understanding of how Christ fits in to the Old Testament and is a progression from it.
The Master's Plan for the Church - John MacArthur **
I studied this with my church at our weekly prayer meeting and found it so helpful. It clearly explains God's standards for the church and how we should behave as the bride of Christ. It tackles many issues such as church discipline and leadership.
Caught in the Web - Faith Cook *
The amazing life of Lady Jane Grey is a great example of faith in God, and this fictional account portrays this wonderfully. It is a very light read and does not take long to finish, but is interesting and challenges us all to make a stand, regardless of the cost.
Courtship and Marriage…
Her Hand in Marriage - Douglas Wilson **
An excellent biblical overview of courtship, marriage and the role of parents in their children's relationships…It's one to go over with your Mum and Dad!
I Kissed Dating Goodbye - Josh Harris *
This is a basic overview of why courting is more biblical and preferable to recreational dating. It is useful as an introduction to courtship as a concept and discusses many issues relating to marriage and courtship.
Boy Meets Girl - Josh Harris *
The sequel to "I Kissed Dating Goodbye", this provides excellent tips and advice on courtship and is aimed at couples who are already preparing for marriage and discusses the standards which they should be keeping to.
Help in Living the Christian Life…
Worldliness - Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World - Edited by C.J. Mahaney **
This is written by a number of pastors and church-planters. It covers so many topics including music, clothes, money, marriage, the media and developing a love for the lost. It is really specific, challenging and very thought-provoking. Personally, I found it tore down a lot of my misconceptions and attitudes towards worldliness. I would encourage everyone to read it, regardless of whether you think you need it or not. Prepare to be extremely challenged!
The Screwtape Letters - C.S.Lewis **
These are a collection of letters written as if from one demon to another. They give an idea of how we are tempted and in what ways the Devil seeks to take advantage of us and use us for his gain and glory. Very well-written.
Created to Praise – Derek Prime *
A short, readable book which shows how man’s true and ultimate purpose is to glorify God. It explains that we were ‘created to praise’ and so we should praise the Lord in song, prayer, trials, everyday life, death and finally in heaven forever.
The Golden Book of the True Christian Life - John Calvin **
Calvin prays: “Almighty God and Father, grant unto us, because we have to go through much strife on this earth, the strength of thy Holy Spirit, in order that we may courageously go through the fire, and through the water…”
Originally part of his ‘Institutes’ in this short book Calvin exhorts his readers to live a consistent Christian life. He talks about the necessity of real faith and warns that we must throw off pharasaical hypocrisy.
Calvin offers helpful advice for practical Christian living, saying that we are to live in an attitude of self-denial and put Christ first. He then goes on to write about the implications that this will have on the way we behave in this world and the hope that we can have for the next.
I enjoy Calvin because he really wants to communicate practical truth – not impress us with big words! (Being a fairly simple fellow this is quite important to me.) This book rebuked me and opened my eyes – I highly recommend it!
Humility - true greatness - C.J. Mahaney **
“You and I hate nothing to the degree that God hates pride. His hatred for pride is pure, and his hatred is holy.” C.J. Mahaney states very clearly that it is the Christian’s duty to strive after humility, following the example of Jesus Christ. The most important point that Mr Mahaney makes is this: “To learn true humility, we need more than a redefinition of greatness; we need even more than Jesus’ personal example of humble service. What we need is his death.” The conclusion that Mr Mahaney gives in his list of practical suggestions at the end is this: “Always reflect on the wonder of the cross of Christ.”
The Cross-Centred life - C J Mahaney *
This is a great book. Not only is it well-written, but it is almost life-changing. So much of our lives leave out Christ and the cross. This book goes into great detail about the agonizing death of the Lord Jesus Christ. It also gives great and practical help on how to live a cross-centred life. If we, as Christians, are more cross-centred then we will be better people, for Gods glory.
Root of the Righteous - A.W. Tozer *
Is it right to always be talking about fruit, without understanding where it comes from? Of course, a Christian should be bearing fruit, but this fruit is going to be a consequence of the fact that his roots are in the right place. In this easy-to-read, convicting and exhortational book, Tozer works through many aspects of the Christian life, and how we should have our roots in the right place. Every page seems to have some valuable quote or thought. For example: 'It appears that too many Christians want to enjoy the thrill of feeling right, but are not willing to endure the inconvenience of being right!' and, 'Contentment with earthly goods is a mark of a saint, contentment with our spiritual state is a mark of inward blindness.'
Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices -Thomas Brooks ***
This is a book I cannot recommend highly enough. Every page is convicting but with the conviction comes the remedy and the comfort. Sin and temptation are always at the forefront of a Christian's battle and cannot be forgotten and so books which address this issue are even more worth paying attention to. Satan delights in causing saints to stumble and to lose sight of Christ, but God provides a way out and this book gives a clear and persuasive indication of how we may best resist Satan's devices.
Troubled Journey - Faith Cook **
This is the story of Faith Cook’s childhood in war-torn China as the child of missionary parents. It gives a moving account of God’s great goodness to her and her family through some very sad times. Once you’ve got into the book you’ll most likely be gripped by Faith Cook’s fluent style, but I know that more than a few have struggled through the first few chapters.
Shadow of the Almighty - Elisabeth Elliot *
An account of Jim Elliot’s short life, written by one who knew him very well, his wife! This book is a challenge to us all. Jim Elliot was a man who sought to live his life for God’s glory and who truly gave up what he could not keep to gain what he could never lose.
Through the Gates of Splendour - Elisabeth Elliot *
This is the sequel to ‘Shadow of the Almighty’. Although there is quite a lot of overlap between the two books, I highly recommend them both.
You are strapped to a stake, staring at the flames coming about you, you can smell your skin burning. You can’t do anything. You cry out in pain. You burn to death.
How many Christians today would do that? How many would stand firm for the Truth? For Christ? Would you do it?
In Foxe’s book of Martyrs we read about a great multitude of Christians being crucified, burnt, whipped, imprisoned, drowned…and so the horrible list continues. The time period is from the 1st century all the way to the Reformation (when Foxe was alive).
The Christians portrayed in this book are not radical or extreme. They are normal Christians. But are you like them? Are you willing to stand for what you believe? Will you die for Christ? This book will challenge you. I would highly recommend this, not just because it is a ' good Christian book’ but because it will change your life.
Books Specifically for Women…
Stepping Heavenward - Mrs E. Prentiss *
This book is written in a diary format and tells the story of a young woman in the 1800s on her journey to godliness. It is really interesting and the struggles faced by the protagonist are so relevant to today. Whilst this is more of a light read, it is full of sound tips and advice on persuing godliness.
Women of the Bible - Frances Vander Velde *
A study on women in the Bible and an overview of how all these women present an example which we can apply to our own lives. This book has study notes and questions at the end of each chapter and is extremely helpful.
Daylight at Midnight - Jane McNabb *
If you want a really thorough book on the life of Esther, this is it! Jane McNabb goes through the book of Esther chapter by chapter and gives clear applications at the end of each section. I highly recommend this for anyone who wants to study and understand this Old Testament book better.
Books Specifically for Men …
What He Must be - Voddie Baucham **
Although the main purpose of this book is to prepare young men for marriage it is also of value to all men. The author repeatedly emphasises that personal devotion to the Lord is vital for any man but especially for that man who is leading others, like his family, before God. The four roles which are used to sum up the requirements for a man who wants to marry and lead a family are that he must be: a priest, a prophet, a provider and a protector.