Tuesday, May 21, 2013

10 Must Read Books (And Then Some More...)

This post was prompted by a Twitter conversation based on a post over at Relevant Magazine, where Nicole Unice gave her 10 books everyone should read by 25-ish. I mentioned that I'd only read two of them - the Bible and Mere Christianity by CS Lewis, and that I'm well over the 25-ish limit. So what would my top ten books for reading at any age be?

1. The Bible
Read it in any version you like, just read it! Rather than reading what others have said about it, or what others think of it, read it yourself and get to know it. As you do so, you'll get to know the God who speaks in and through the words to reveal his word. There are a host of daily Bible reading schemes available online or in Christian bookshops. With 1189 chapters in the Bible, that's an average of 3.25 per day and you'll have read through the whole Bible in a year. Other daily reading notes will give you a chapter or a few verses to think about, but this year I've been trying to read in bigger chunks to get the wider flow of the text. It's been a really helpful approach, and one I'd recommend.

2. A Call to Spiritual Reformation- Don Carson

This book will transform your praying! Carson takes the reader through the prayers of Paul in the New Testament, explaining and applying in such a heart-warming way that you will never pray in the same way again. (Review)

3. Knowing God- Jim Packer

This is the modern classic that deserves being read and re-read by everyone. Knowing God is a clear introduction to the God who has revealed himself in the Bible, which continues to be effective forty years after it was first published. Packer writes in a way that draws the reader in and displays the glory of God.

4. Don't Waste Your Life- John Piper

When growing up and looking to the future, it's often difficult to know what to do with your life. In his forthright and engaging style, John Piper urges the reader to not waste their life on trivial things.

(Honourable mention: This Momentary Marriage- a brilliant book on relationships, marriage, and singleness which should really have made the list in its own right! Read it now, whatever your marital status. (Review)

5. The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness- Tim Keller

It may be surprising that such a recent and small book should make it into my must-read list, but the few pages on the way the gospel brings transformation are essential reading for everyone. Keller helps the reader discover that 'The essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less.' (Review)

(Honourable mention: The Reason for God- Clear apologetics for a postmodern generation (review))

6. God's Big Picture- Vaughan Roberts

This is the most accessible and helpful Bible overview book around, and will help the reader discover the flow and 'big picture' of the whole Bible. Building on the work of Graeme Goldsworthy, Roberts takes the reader through the Bible's story, helping to put all the pieces together and make sense of it all. (Review)

(Honourable mention: Battles Christians Face- encouragement in the midst of struggles)

7. The Cross of Christ- John Stott

The classic evangelical book on the cross; its meaning and implications for the Christian. As in all his writings, Stott is clear, concise, and communicates gospel truth in a way that sticks in the mind and moves the heart. (Review)

(Honourable mention: Basic Christianity- or indeed, anything Stott has written!)

8. The Chronicles of Narnia- CS Lewis

I may be slightly cheating here, by including 7 books as one, but then at the top of the list we have 66 in one! Lewis is the master storyteller, explaining and illustrating the gospel through the interaction of his characters in the land of Narnia. Who could not read of Aslan's sacrifice and not wonder at the ransom paid for us?

9. Beyond Greed- Brian Rosner

For any Christian, it's important to control their money and possessions for the sake of the gospel, rather than letting their possessions control them. This is a great book on greed, money, possessions, and gaining control. (Review)

10. Holiness by Grace- Bryan Chappell

A clear book on how grace works in the life of the Christian to bring transformation and the pursuit of holiness. A message we desperately need to hear in every generation, but none more than our own. (Review)

11! Give Me This Mountain- Helen Roseveare

World famous missionary Helen Roseveare tells how she went from school and medical school to establishing a hospital in the Congo, because of the love of Jesus in her life. An inspiring story, which continues in the later volumes of her autobiography.

I also asked the question on Twitter and here were some of the suggestions:

Any other suggestions for this list?

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