My Top 50 Christian Books of All Time
Today, I am going to present my top 50 Christian books of all time. I love to read. I don’t get to do it as often as I used to. I have a shelf with about 20 books waiting to be read. Some of them have been on there for a couple of years. That said, I have several large bookshelves filled with books that I have enjoyed.
I now buy ebooks for all my easy reading or novels. They take up no space and are mobile. However, I still want the physical book when I am going to read something substantial. It’s easier to find my notes on real paper. I remember highlights better in my mind because somehow I can see the page in my mind’s eye. There’s just something about a physical book that is more satisfying than an ebook.
Either way, books are a great way to increase our knowledge, grow in faith and learn from others.
Following, you will find my top 50 Christian books of all time. Many of these are on other lists that can be found everywhere. Then there are other books that have never made those lists. This list is my own. I’ve read them. I’ve enjoyed them. Often, I find myself going back to them. Enjoyable and Useful – can’t beat that!
If you have not read any of these, I urge you to do so. You will not be sorry. Some of them might be more difficult to read than others, but I assure you, what you get out of them will be worth every effort you put into them.
So, without further ado, here are my top 50 Christian books of all time, in no particular order other than the way I found them on my bookshelf:
The Knowledge of the Holy
A. W. Tozer
Tozer, a Christian author, evangelist and mystic, and contemporary of C.S. Lewis, brings us to a better understanding of what God is in this book about the attributes of God. Originally written in 1961, this book was instrumental in spurring on my passion for sharing God’s attributes with Christians.
Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
The first in a 16-book series regarding the End Times. First published in 1995. The final book was published in 2006. Entertaining, fast-paced and easy reading makes for a page turner. Be prepared to read all sixteen. You won’t be disappointed. None of the movies compare to the books.
J. I. Packer
Author and theologian, Packer has been writing for decades. This is probably his most well-known. The first edition came out in 1973. Filled with information regarding the attributes of God and what they mean to us. Another book that greatly motivated my desire to teach the attributes of God.
C. S. Lewis
Perhaps the book that heads up most Top-10 lists, including mine, this classic is composed of broadcasts Lewis did during World War II in 1943. This may be the most quoted book of pastors and evangelists today. A giant among giants.
The Imitation of Christ
Thomas a Kempis
The ultimate devotional. Written around 1420, it is still one of the greatest books for the building up of one’s spiritual life. I’ve read the entire book and have gone back to read bits and pieces over and over again. It does not get old. My favorite devotional book.
The Practice of the Presence of God
Brother Lawrence was a cook and dishwasher for a monastery in France in the late 1600’s. He desired to spend all his time with God and wrote about the difficulties of this discipline. This version of his letters also includes Frank Laubach’s endeavor to do the same. Both are inspiring. My life has been tremendously influenced by this book. Highly suggested.
On God and Christ – The Five Theological Orations and Two Letters to Cledonius
Gregory of Nazianzus
One of the Cappadocian Fathers of the 4th-century, Gregory is most known for his work in Trinitarian theology. Writing during a time when the relationship of the Father and the Son was being debated, Gregory tirelessly taught the importance of the Triune God. Modern-day Christians would do well to read this.
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners
Bunyan shares his conversion experience. How different than the way modern-day Christians receive Christ! Today, we say the sinner’s prayer and go about our life. Bunyan knows the gospel but relates his internal struggles with doubt. He will not quit until he has fully entered the kingdom! Great read especially for those who have read Pilgrim’s Progress.
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs
In 1563, Foxe recorded the stories of the martyrs who were dying for their Christian faith. Jesus told us we will be persecuted if we follow him. Foxe holds these people up for us to remember what it means to be a follower of Christ. Many still undergo this type of persecution in the world today. Let’s never forget.
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
In 1741 in Connecticut, Jonathan Edwards preached what many consider the most famous American sermon. Most Americans know nothing about this great man or his sermon. A quick read, this message will have an immediate impact. It reminds Christians to be grateful for the cross and implores unbelievers to run to it quickly.
The Pilgrim’s Progress
A True Christian Classic written in 1676 – I believe this book is the second most published book in history after the Bible. It is an allegory; the story of Christian, a man whose faith journey resembles that of all Christians. If you haven’t already, you must take this trip with Christian – I have…several times.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia)
In this classic children’s tale, published in 1950, we go back to World War II and follow four children as they astonishingly enter into a new reality: a world called Narnia. This is actually the second book in the entire series, though it may be the most well-known. If you are like me and want to read the entire 7-book series, I got this box set.
I had read this book because I understood it was instrumental in the conversion of C. S. Lewis. While I prefer Lewis’ Mere Christianity, I found Orthodoxy interesting in its own right. A more difficult read, not so much due to language as to the 1908 style. That said, substance over style any day. I wouldn’t start here, but I would come back to this after reading some of the others.
The Screwtape Letters
This book consists of letters written by Screwtape, an experienced demon, to his nephew Wormwood, teaching him how to best affect the humans in his charge. Insightful, funny, worrisome. Take a peak behind the curtain into the spiritual realm. I’ve done a book study on this and our church experienced this on Broadway.
My Utmost for His Highest
Chambers died in 1917 but his wife, who was also his secretary, had copious notes from his sermons. She gathered 365 of them, at 500 words each, and in 1924, had published My Utmost for His Highest. Great book for a year’s worth of daily devotionals.
The Autobiography of George Mueller
Mueller was a Prussian (German) pastor living in England. In 1836, he began to care for orphans. He never asked for any money but through prayer received whatever he needed. This book is his diary during these times. As with any diary, it can become repetitive but stick with it. His faith and prayer life will transform anyone looking to deepen their spiritual walk.
On the Incarnation
St. Athanasius of Alexandria
Athanasius is one of the forgotten heroes of Christianity. In the 4th-century, most Christians had become Arians (Jehovah’s Witnesses are Arians). It was “Athanasius contra mundum” – against the world. Read the thoughts of the person who returned the church back to the true faith. C.S. Lewis’ Introduction is insightful as well.
Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ
This book was originally titled A Short and Easy Method of Prayer. A devotional book by Madam Guyon, a French Christian Mystic written in 1685. Many of the great Christians in history have been moved by the book including John Wesley, Watchman Nee and Hudson Taylor. This book reminded me to seek Him out in the scriptures.
Written in 1959, Prayer helped remove the Thee’s and Thou’s from our prayers and replace them with more informal conversations. Number 1 on Christianity Today’s list, this book reminds us that God is our Abba and we can come to Him as His child. Remember, God is also Holy and we come in reverence as well. This book helped teach me how to pray aloud.
A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life
Written in 1729, the title of this book is exactly what the book is about. Using examples, Law reminds us of our need to live piously if we are truly to be saints of Christ. No salvation by works here, but a reminder that Grace is not cheap. Jackie and I have read this together several times.
In His Steps
In 1896, Sheldon wrote this classic about a pastor who asks his congregation to ask What Would Jesus Do before doing anything for a year. A little dated in its storyline of the Temperance Movement, but I feel the concepts in this book are still valid for the church today. The church would do well to read this little book.
The New England Primer
John Cotton and David Barton
From the Foreword: “introduced in 1690, was the first textbook printed in America. For a century after its introduction, it was the beginning textbook for students; and until well into the twentienth century, it continued to be a primary text in all types of American schools.” Look into this book and you will quickly realize that elementary children then knew more about the faith than most adults today. Every homeschooler should have one. Adults too.
Lord Teach Us to Pray
Published after his death in 1921, this book is a compilation of Whyte’s sermons on prayer. Whyte was considered one of the great preachers of his time and reading these sermons will help us see why. Personally, this might be my favorite book on prayer.
Your God is Too Small
J B Phillips
Written in 1952, this little book has a powerful punch. I believe most people get their ideas about God from their childhood, resulting in a childish faith. Here, Phillips gives examples of the way we think of God – The Policeman, The Grand Old Man, and so on. Then he wakes us up to the God who is greater than any conception we try to fit Him into.
1 – George Whitefield’s Journals / 2 – George Whitefield: God’s Anointed Servant in the Great Revival of the Eighteenth Century
George Whitefield / Arnold Dallimore
Whitefield was the Great Evangelist of the 1700’s. Friends with the Wesleys and Benjamin Franklin, Journals are his personal thoughts. I read this after reading his biography by Dallimore, which is my favorite biography. Both are great, so I put them together on the list. Journals, like all diaries, has lots of repetition. Well worth it.
This was His Faith
G. Campbell Morgan
Morgan died in 1945. He worked with D.L. Moody and had been the pastor at Westminster Congregational Chapel prior to D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. An editor of several publications, he loved his books. After his death, this book was compiled by his daughter. I have found so many great insights from this book. One of the great Christian minds of his time.
Living Water: Powerful Teachings from the International Bestselling Author of The Heavenly Man
Before reading this book, I had never heard of Brother Yun (pronounced oon). Afterwards, I will never forget him. A Chinese Christian, his messages about the church and faith are spot on and important for the church in America. Another favorite of Jackie’s and mine that we have done several times.
Celebration of Disciplines: The Path to Spiritual Growth
Originally published in 1978, this book has continued to be one of the best manuals on the Spiritual Disciplines. Broken up by Inward Disciplines, Outward Disciplines and Corporate Disciplines. Includes chapters on prayer, study, meditation, worship. This book has been a huge help in developing my own spiritual disciplines as well as being a reference in sermon preparations on the disciplines.
Knocking on Heaven’s Door: A New Testament Theology of Petitionary Prayer
An academic book written 2006, Crump does an excellent job of going through the New Testament and looking at all the prayers of supplication. Not an easy read, but chocked full of insight for anyone who would read it. Several teachings, such as the Persistent Widow and Persistent Friend, are viewed from a more Biblical perspective, destroying the poor teachings we hear about intercessory prayer.
The Testimony of the Evangelists: The Gospels Examined by the Rules of Evidence
Greenleaf was a law professor at Harvard in the 1840’s. While writing his classic book A Treatise on the Law of Evidence, the atheist was challenged by his students to treat the Gospels the same way he would any other piece of evidence. The result was this book and a convert to the faith. Great information about the reliability of the Gospels.
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Hands-down, the best study on the Sermon on the Mount. Originally written in 1959-1960 in two-volumes. This book combines the two. Lloyd-Jones began his ministry in 1927 and succeeded G. Campbell Morgan as Pastor of Westminster Chapel. He is considered one of the great teachers of the 20th century. This book reinforces that reputation.
Want to know more about what Heaven will be like? This book is the definitive resource. Using the Bible as its sole source of answers, Alcorn answers questions like: What will it mean to see God; How will we rule; Will there be space and time? Written in 2004, this book is already a classic.
Preaching and Preachers
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
This is not a how-to, like Haddon Robinson’s classic Biblical Preaching. It is about the art of preaching. A compilation of lectures given to seminary students in 1969, it is prescient in its relevance for today, as evidenced by this 40th anniversary edition (I own the 1972 edition) with essays by Keller, Piper, DeYoung and others. My go-to book on preaching.
The Strategy of Satan
With so many books on the market regarding spiritual warfare, how do you pick one? By looking for a classic written by someone with proper credentials and based on the Biblical texts as opposed to personal experiences. This book, written in 1979, fits the bill and is my favorite in this department.
50 People Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Spiritual Giants of the Faith
This 2009 book provides short bios on 50 Christians who lived in the 16th-20th centuries. These are not meals but appetizers. Wiersbe highlights additional books for each person, allowing us delve deeper. Read a chapter a day, note any recommendations and go from there. It’s what I did and a satisfying ride it was.
Jesus Among Other Gods
As the title implies, this 2002 book compares the message of Jesus to other religious beliefs and centers around the adequacy and uniqueness of the Christian faith. Zacharias is one of today’s great Christian thinkers, which comes through in this book. Not for the young in faith, but filled with insightful gems for those willing to work for it.
The Rapture Question
The former president of Dallas Theological Seminary wrote this in 1979. He describes the rapture from all angles – Pre-trib, Mid-Trib, Post-trib and Partial Rapture. Using the Bible as his reference, he provides great clarity about the rapture. This is the standard book on this subject.
Christianity’s Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution–A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First
Written in 2008, this is my favorite history of Protestantism. The “dangerous idea” is that everyone could now interpret the Bible for themselves. McGrath brilliantly delves into that concept and its results. 550 pages but well worth every second.
The Resurrection of the Son of God
The definition of a tome, this volume written in 2003 spans 740 pages. I didn’t read every word, but if you are looking to be immersed in the answer to the empty tomb and the appearances of Jesus after the crucifixion, this book will seep you in the resurrection. The resurrection became alive to me after reading this and I understood why it was the central message of the apostles.
Dale Ralph Davis
I’ve read many commentaries in my day, but this is up there as one of the best. Dealing with a book that most pastors would rather skip, Davis makes Judges an interesting and faith-inspiring study. Published in 2000, Davis was a professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary. I used this as fodder for my Judges Bible study.
Chosen But Free: A Balanced View of God’s Sovereignty and Free Will
As the title says, neither a Calvinist or Arminian, but a balanced view of Election and Free Will. A Biblical look at an issue that is obviously secondary though it has taken on primary importance in too many discussions and teachings. I’m in full agreement with Geisler on this one.
Bible students often make common exegetical mistakes when trying to understand a passage. Published in 1984, Carson’s little book points out four areas where people interpret scripture incorrectly. Examples: Does apostle mean “one who is sent?” Does the use of “agape” always imply a special love? My lesson learned is that we need to be careful when we accept the usual interpretations of many teachers.
This workbook, first published in 1990, is best as a group study. I took the course once and gave it three times. People are always moved by this book. The words most often heard are “life changing.” Even if you cannot join a group, get this workbook and study it on your own. This has been the finest book study I’ve ever encountered.
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
When this was first published in 2008, nobody had heard of Francis Chan. I personally got this book for free at a conference in San Diego where he was a speaker. I was so moved, I got copies for the members of our church. Powerful reminder of God’s love for us with a warning about responding in a lukewarm fashion.
Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire: What Happens When God’s Spirit Invades the Hearts of His People
Published in 1997, this is the story of how God worked through prayer to take Cymbala’s Brooklyn Tabernacle from 15 people to what is now one of the most recognized churches in America. I’ve visited the church several times and it is still a church of prayer. This is a testament of what God can do when His people seek Him.
LaHaye wrote this commentary on the Book of Revelation in 1999. Taking the reader step-by-step through each chapter, this book unveils that which was previously difficult to understand. I’ve done several Bible studies on Revelation and Eschatology and this book is a necessary reference. For anyone interested in the last book of the Bible.
The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
Written in 1910, this is to me the most complete and Biblically based book I’ve read regarding the Holy Spirit. 22 short chapters deepen our understanding of the Third Person of the Trinity. Torrey was the first superintendent of Moody Bible Institute in 1889. His writing is easy to understand. Great for beginners and experts.
A Body of Divinity
Watson was a puritan preacher in the mid-1600’s. This book takes the Shorter Westminster Catechism and gives a Biblical basis for each question. Though reformed in its theology, most of the questions in the catechism are agreeable to all Christians. This is a great book to use as a study for groups or individuals.
The Reformed Pastor
Any pastor who thinks they are too busy to shepherd their flock needs to read this book. I was so inspired by it, I began what we called “Individual Shepherding.” Once a week, I went to each member of the church to disciple and teach for an hour. I created our own catechism and taught it one-on-one. Pastors today need a reformation. This is a good place to start.
Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History: Complete and Unabridged
Eusebius of Caesarea
Anyone who wants to know about the Early Church needs to own this book. Eusebius writes in the 4th century. Some see it as a history text. I read as great stories of great Christians. Tremendous finds in here including the reason for the difference in Jesus’ geneology (pp.17-21)
By the way, if you decide to purchase any of these books using the links, I will get a percentage of the book sale. The price doesn’t change either way, so clicking on the link is a win-win. Thanks for your support!
So there you have it! I hope you have enjoyed the list and more importantly, I hope you will benefit from this list of my top 50 Christian books of all time. If there are any books you love and would like to share, please leave your list and thoughts in the comments.