I read a lot and am often asked what I think other Christians should read as well. I consider it an integral part of my work, and I always encourage Christians to read more. So, in an effort to stoke your literary fire a bit, I would like to offer my top 5 list (apart from the Bible) of what I think every Christian should read and understand (in no particular order)…
Authority by: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Lloyd-Jones delivered three messages on authority which were compiled to make this short, but very important volume. He covers the authority of Christ, the authority of the Scriptures, and the authority of the Holy Spirit. As a people (i.e. Americans) who question and often reject all forms of authority, Lloyd-Jones delivers a masterful reminder of our true authority and what it means in our daily lives as God’s people.
The Marrow of Modern Divinity by: Edward Fisher
In my opinion, one of the most important issues Christians need to understand is the relationship between the law and the gospel. This classic work from the 1600’s has not disappointed when it comes to causing a bit of a stir, however it remains the most unique treatment of this very important issue. For those who have not spent a lot of time reading older literature, it might prove a bit more difficult, however it’s not a hard book to read or understand by any means. It’s as entertaining as it is helpful, and I think it’s the perfect antidote for legalism and antinomianism in the church today. The specific edition I have linked to includes the valuable explanatory notes of the puritan Thomas Boston along with an Introduction by Philip Ryken and an historical Introduction by William Vandoodeward.
Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul by: Octavius Winslow
Let’s face it: Christians get discouraged and we begin to grow stagnant or even cold in our affections for God. At times, it may be an indication of a person’s true condition and whether or not they are in the faith. However, sometimes we lack in spiritual growth and vitality and don’t know the way out. Personal Declension is one of the most stirring, helpful, encouraging and convicting books I’ve ever read. I turn to Winslow each time I’m feeling discouraged in my communion with God and find fresh words for my weary soul. He has packed mountains of help and wisdom into this volume – read it carefully and prayerfully.
The Pilgrim’s Progress by: John Bunyan
You didn’t expect me to leave off the best-selling Christian book in history, did you? Bunyan’s allegory of the life of Christian is a memorable classic that Christians should be familiar with (especially if they want to understand a lot of reformed preacher’s illustrations!). There’s nothing quite like The Pilgrim’s Progress in terms of biblical fidelity, entertainment value, and thought-producing insight into the heart of a Christian. No Christian should reach the Celestial City without having a good knowledge of The Pilgrim’s Progress!
Undiscerned Spiritual Pride by: Jonathan Edwards
At the beginning of each year I re-read Edwards on Spiritual Pride. It’s a short read, but it packs a powerful punch. It’s a particularly helpful work for young people and those in the ministry. Most people don’t assume they’re prideful, and particularly when it comes to our spiritual lives. However, argues Edwards, that’s what it’s undiscerned and why we need to be made aware of it time and time again. Spiritual pride lurks in the shadows – are you willing to root it out?
What about you? What are your top 5 reads for every Christian?
(By: Nick Kennicott)