I thought for starters I would share some of my favorites. This list isn’t comprehensive and there a lot of great books left out, but I am convinced that every Christian should get around to reading each of these as soon as they can.
Pilgrim’s Progress | John Bunyan (Medium). How could I not recommend this? Translated into more than 200 languages, this book has blessed countless Christians in giving them encouragement and instruction through the journey of Christian toward the Heavenly City. You can read it for free here. Also, you can read/listen to John Piper give a biography on its author, John Bunyan (highly recommended).
Why We Love the Church | Kevin DeYoung (Medium). We are not saved to be alone, but, by God’s grace through Christ, we have been saved into the Church He loves. May we love her as He does. No one communicates the necessity and beauty of being a part of the the local church like DeYoung does. In an age where it’s acceptable for Christians to critique the Church’s faults from a distance without lifting a finger to help, this book is a needed gem.
Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church | Donald Whitney (Easy to Medium). Whitney is widely known for his Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (also good), but I think this lesser known sequel is superior. Whitney does a fantastic job laying out the communal nature of the Christian life as well as give very biblical and practical ways to make sure you are both being blessed by and blessing the Church.
Just Do Something | Kevin DeYoung (Easy). You will no doubt see that I am a big fan of DeYoung because of books like this. In a biblical, clear, concise, gracious, humorous, and pastoral way, DeYoung helps to answer the frequently asked question, “How can I know God’s will for my life?”I have read lots of good books on this subject, there are none gooder than this.
Spectacular Sins | John Piper (Easy). I heartily recommend anything by John Piper, but I especially recommend this short jewel. Piper takes on the “spectacular sins” of the Bible (e.g. the Fall, the fall of Satan, the Tower of Babel), and shows how God had wisely brought them about in His Sovereign power ultimately for the glory of Jesus Christ. You can see John Piper explain the book here.
Knowledge of the Holy | A.W. Tozer (Medium to Advanced). I still remember where I was when I read the infamous first line of this book, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” It’s short, but packs a punch of theological goodness. You can read it for free here, but I highly recommend marking up a hard copy of your own. The only reason for the Medium to Advanced rating is that his language can sometimes be a little more difficult.
Holiness | J.C. Ryle (Easy to Medium). “It is thoroughly Scriptural and right to say ‘faith alone justifies.’ But it is not equally Scriptural and right to say ‘faith alone sanctifies.’” There are a lot of folks who have a lot of bad ideas about what the Christian life should look like and what spiritual maturity is. Ryle does an excellent job explaining the Christian’s pursuit of holiness in a clear, compelling, and stirring way.
The Holiness of God | R.C. Sproul (Medium). A lot of people love talking about God’s love, mercy, grace, and kindness, but avoid speaking of His wrath or justice because they (a) don’t like it or (b) don’t know what to do with it. Dr. Sproul helps tremendously in this book by putting, “the holiness of God in its proper and central place in the Christian life. He paints an awe-inspiring vision of God that encourages Christian to become holy just as God is holy.”
The Gospel and Personal Evangelism | Mark Dever (Easy). The Church has been commissioned to make disciples who then go and make disciples. In order for this to happen, we need to know how to share the gospel. Dever does a great job in laying down the basics in the nature, practice, and follow-up of evangelism.
Basic Christianity | John Stott (Easy). Stott lays out the good news clearly by getting into the person of Jesus Christ, the need of Mankind for salvation, the work of Christ on the cross, and the necessary response of Man to receive salvation. Fantastic for new believers and non-believers alike.
The Cross of Christ | John Stott (Medium to Advanced). This book blew my mind and filled my heart with increased affections for Jesus. No one writes like Stott and no book touches the cross like this one does. If you haven’t read this yet then stop what you are doing, click here, and Amazon Prime this sucker to your doorstep immediately.
Systematic Theology | Wayne Grudem (Medium). There are a lot of really good Systematic Theologies out there by very capable men. However, I have yet to see any as helpful as Wayne Grudem’s. There are none more clear, more accessible, more thorough, and more packed with goodies like personal application questions, memory verses, bibliographies, historic creeds, and relevant hymns than this beast of a book. Don’t be intimidated by the size or read it from cover to cover. Take on each topic as you desire and find a lavish feast for your soul. Lady Wisdom cries aloud in the streets, “Don’t be a fool and buy this book.”