In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach.
These are the details on the 25 books I would recommend to a young Christian. Every word below is a quote from Goodreads or Amazon’s websites. Links provided throughout.
My advice about your reading life: Pray first, then read the Bible, ask questions and pray some more. Journal daily. Read numerous translations if possible. Take notes, think and pray some more. Worship always. Meet with people or phone a friend and share about what you are learning and what God is doing in your life…. Then read books, that aren’t the Bible.
These are in no particular order, thumb-nail sketch biographies first:
Born into a Methodist family, Watchman Nee experienced a religious revival, and joined the Church of Heavenly Peace, Fuzhou in 1920 at age 17 and began writing in the same year. In 1921, he met the British missionary M. E. Barber, who was a great influence on him. Through Miss Barber, Nee was introduced to many of the Christian writings which were to have a profound influence on him and his teachings. Nee attended no theological schools or Bible institutes. His knowledge was acquired through studying the Bible and reading various Christian spiritual books. During his 30 years of ministry, beginning in 1922, Nee traveled throughout China planting churches among the rural communities and holding Christian conferences and trainings in Shanghai. In 1952 he was imprisoned for his faith; he remained in prison until his death in 1972. (1)
Watchman Nee’s great Christian classic tracing the steps along the pathway of faith and presenting the eternal purpose of God in simple terms. Its central theme: “Christ our Life. (1)
An inspiring look at Ephesians and the believer’s association with Christ, the world, and Satan. (2)
Oswald Chambers was born to devout parents in Aberdeen, Scotland. At age 16, Oswald Chambers was baptized and became a member of Rye Lane Baptist Chapel. Even as a teenager, Chambers was noted for his deep spirituality, and he participated in the evangelization of poor occupants of local lodging houses. Oswald married Gertrude in May 1910, and on May 24, 1913, Gertrude gave birth to their only child, Kathleen. In 1915, a year after the outbreak of World War I, Chambers was accepted as a YMCA chaplain. He was assigned to Zeitoun, Cairo, Egypt, where he ministered to Australian and New Zealand troops, who later participated in the Battle of Gallipoli. Soon his wooden-framed “hut” was packed with hundreds of soldiers listening attentively to his messages. Confronted by a soldier who said, “I can’t stand religious people,” Chambers replied, “Neither can I.” Chambers was stricken with appendicitis on October 17, 1917 but resisted going to a hospital on the grounds that the beds would be needed by men wounded in the long-expected Third Battle of Gaza. On October 29th, a surgeon performed an emergency appendectomy, but Chambers died November 15, 1917 from a hemorrhage of the lungs. He was buried in Cairo with full military honors. Gertrude, for the remainder of her life published books and articles for him edited from the notes she had taken in shorthand from his sermons. Most successful of the thirty books was, “My Utmost for His Highest”, which has never been out of print and has been translated into 39 languages. (3)
Henry Blackaby is founder and president emeritus of Blackaby Ministries International, an organization built to help people experience God. He and his wife Marilynn have five children and fourteen grandchildren and live in Rex, Georgia. (4)
Dr. Richard Blackaby is the president of Blackaby Ministries International (www.blackaby.org) where he works with his father Henry. He is an author and a popular international speaker. Richard is married to Lisa and they have three amazing children: Mike, Daniel, and Carrie. Richard has a Ph.D. in history. He loves reading biographies and hockey. He works with leaders in the home, church, and business community, helping them develop their leadership to higher levels.(5)
Claude King serves as Discipleship Specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources. He and his wife Reta are natives and current residents of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. After attending school in New Orleans, Claude began work as an editor at the Baptist Sunday School Board in Nashville, Tennessee. After a writer cancellation, he coauthored his first book (“WiseCounsel: Skills for Lay Counseling” with John Drakeford) out of sheer necessity to meet a deadline. He met and began working with Henry Blackaby in 1986. That relationship led to their developing “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God” which was first released in 1990. (6)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian. He was also a participant in the German Resistance movement against Nazism, a founding member of the Confessing Church. His involvement in plans by members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office) to assassinate Adolf Hitler resulted in his arrest in April 1943 and his subsequent execution by hanging in April 1945, shortly before the war’s end. His view of Christianity’s role in the secular world has become very influential. (9)
What can the call to discipleship, the adherence to the word of Jesus, mean today to the businessman, the soldier, the laborer, or the aristocrat? What did Jesus mean to say to us? What is his will for us today? Drawing on the Sermon on the Mount, Dietrich Bonhoeffer answers these timeless questions by providing a seminal reading of the dichotomy between “cheap grace” and “costly grace.” “Cheap grace,” Bonhoeffer wrote, “is the grace we bestow on ourselves…grace without discipleship….Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the girl which must be asked for, the door at which a man must know….It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.”
The Cost of Discipleship is a compelling statement of the demands of sacrifice and ethical consistency from a man whose life and thought were exemplary articulations of a new type of leadership inspired by the Gospel, and imbued with the spirit of Christian humanism and a creative sense of civic duty. (9)
A masterpiece of satire, this classic has entertained and enlightened readers the world over with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life from the vantage point of Screwtape, a senior tempter in the service of “Our Father Below.” At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C. S. Lewis gives us the correspondence of the worldly-wise old devil to his nephew Wormwood, a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary young man. The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging and humorous account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written. (10)
Aiden Wilson Tozer was an American evangelical pastor, speaker, writer, and editor. After coming to Christ at the age of seventeen, Tozer found his way into the Christian & Missionary Alliance denomination where he served for over forty years. In 1950, he was appointed by the denomination’s General Council to be the editor of “The Alliance Witness” (now “Alliance Life”).
Born into poverty in western Pennsylvania in 1897, Tozer died in May 1963 a self-educated man who had taught himself what he missed in high school and college due to his home situation. Though he wrote many books, two of them, “The Pursuit of God” and “The Knowledge of the Holy” are widely considered to be classics.
A.W. Tozer and his wife, Ada Cecelia Pfautz, had seven children, six boys and one girl. (11)
“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” This thirst for an intimate relationship with God, claims A.W. Tozer, is not for a select few, but should be the experience of every follower of Christ.
Here is a masterly study of the inner life by a heart thirsting after God. Here is a book for every child of God, pastor, missionary, and Christian. It deals with the deep things of God and the riches of His grace.
In The Pursuit of God, Tozer sheds light on the path to a closer walk with God. (11)
This famous story of man’s progress through life in search of salvation remains one of the most entertaining allegories of faith ever written. Set against realistic backdrops of town and country, the powerful drama of the pilgrim’s trials and temptations follows him in his harrowing journey to the Celestial City.
JERRY BRIDGES was an author and conference speaker. His most popular book, The Pursuit of Holiness, has sold over one million copies. Jerry was on the staff of The Navigators for over fifty years, and currently served in the Collegiate Mission where he was involved primarily in staff development, but also served as a speaker resource to the campus ministries. (15)
Gene Edwards is one of America’s most beloved Christian authors. He has published over 25 best-selling books, and his signature work, “The Divine Romance,” has been called a masterpiece of Christian literature. He has written biblical fiction covering nearly the entire Bible, with titles that include the following: “The Beginning,” “The Escape,” “The Birth,” “The Divine Romance,” “The Triumph,” “Revolution,” “The Silas Diary,” “The Titus Diary,” “The Timothy Diary,” “The Priscilla Diary,” “The Gaius Diary,” and “The Return.”
Gene grew up in the East Texas oil fields and entered college at the age of 15. He graduated from East Texas State University at 18 with a bachelor’s degree in English history and received his M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Gene is part of the house-church movement, and he travels extensively to aid Christians as they begin meeting in homes rather than in church buildings. He also conducts conferences on living the deeper Christian life.
Gene and his wife, Helen, reside in Jacksonville, Florida, and have two grown children. (17)
Hannah Whitall Smith, (1832-1911) was a speaker and author in the Holiness movement in the United States and the Higher Life movement in the United Kingdom. She was also active in the Women’s suffrage movement and the Temperance movement, helping found the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.
Hannah was no stranger to the difficulties of life. Although she had seven children in all, only three survived to adulthood. (18)
Hurnard’s early writings (especially Hinds’ Feet on High Places and the sequel Mountain of Spices) were embraced by the mainstream Christian community, but later on in her life she seems to have departed from orthodoxy. (19)
In Celebration of Discipline, Foster explores the “classic Disciplines,” or central spiritual practices, of the Christian faith to show how each of these areas contribute to a balanced spiritual life. (20)
On Feb. 28, 1944, they were betrayed and Corrie and several relatives were arrested. The four Jews and two underground workers in the house at the time of the arrest were not located by the Nazis and were extricated by the underground 47 hours after they fled to the tiny hiding place (located in Corrie’s room).
The ten Boom family members were separated and transferred to concentration camps. Corrie was allowed to stay with her precious sister, Betsy. Corrie’s father (Casper), her sister (Betsy) and one grandchild (Kik) perished. Corrie was released in December of 1944.
These acts of heroism and sacrifice became the foundation for Corrie ten Boom’s global writing and speaking career which began after she was released.
Ten Boom has received numerous awards for her writing and speaking. Notably, she was honored by the State of Israel for her work in aid of the Jewish people by being invited to plant a tree in the famous Avenue of the Righteous Gentiles, at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, near Jerusalem. She was also knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands in recognition of her work during the war, and a museum in the Dutch city of Haarlem is dedicated to her and her family. (21)
Corrie ten Boom and her family became leaders in the Dutch Underground, hiding Jewish people in their home in a specially built room and aiding their escape from the Nazis. For their help, all but Corrie found death in a concentration camp. The Hiding Place is their story.
The manuscript, that later became The Shack, was intended only for his six kids and for a handful of close friends. After multiple rejections by publishers, Young and his friends published the book under the name of their newly created publishing company. The Shack was one of the top-selling fiction books of 2008 and will be a major motion picture in Spring 2017.
Young lives in Happy Valley, Oregon with his wife and has six children and several grandchildren. (22)
Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his “Great Sadness,” Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.
Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.
In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant The Shack wrestles with the timeless question, “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?” The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You’ll want everyone you know to read this book! (22)
Steve is considered by many in the church world to be the father of servant evangelism – the notion that “the kindness of God brings us to repentance” (Rom. 2:4). Steve is a multi-faceted pastor and a sought-after conference speaker. He is a leadership coach through his network and he leads several popular websites that include ServantEvangelism.com, ChurchPlanting.com, and Kindness.com. (24)
It was a beautiful winter’s day, showing no signs of what was to come. Steve Sjogren, pastor of one of America’s fastest growing churches, went into the hospital for routine gall bladder surgery and died–twice. What began as a tragic medical accident led to Steve’s encounter with death, an experience of unimaginable peace and some surprises, with comforting words from God, a meeting with an angel, and seeing those who had died before him.
If you, or someone you know, are fearful of dying, curious about heaven, or simply desiring to live life to its fullest, this encouraging book could change how you view life and death. (25)
Nicholas entered the priory in Paris as a lay brother, not having the education necessary to become a cleric, and took the religious name, “Lawrence of the Resurrection.” He spent almost all of the rest of his life within the walls of the priory, working in the kitchen for many of these years and as a repairer of sandals in his later years.
Despite his lowly position in the life of the priory, his character attracted many to him. He had a reputation for experiencing profound peace and visitors came to seek spiritual guidance from him. The wisdom he passed on to them in conversations and in letters would later become the basis for the book The Practice of the Presence of God. (26)
This unparalleled classic has given both blessing and instruction to those who can be content with nothing less than knowing God in all His majesty and feeling His loving presence throughout each simple day. (26)
Dr. Cloud has written or co-written twenty-five books, including the two million-seller Boundaries. His most recent books are Boundaries for Leaders and Necessary Endings. He has earned three Gold Medallion awards, and was awarded the distinguished Retailers Choice award for God Will Make A Way.
As president of Cloud-Townsend Resources, Dr. Cloud has produced and conducted hundreds of public seminars around the country. He speaks on relationships—marriage, parenting, dating, personal growth, and spirituality. His seminars are often broadcast live to over two thousand venues at a time. (28)
Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances — Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions — Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others — Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God’s will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator — Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask: – Can I set limits and still be a loving person? – What are legitimate boundaries? – What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries? – How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money? – Aren’t boundaries selfish? – Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries? Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves. (28)
For kids, Peretti wrote The Cooper Kids Adventure Series (Crossways and Tommy Nelson), which remains a best-selling series for children with sales exceeding 1 million copies. In August 2000, Peretti released the hilarious children’s audiocassette series titled Wild and Wacky Totally True Bible Stories, reprising his role as Mr. Henry, the offbeat substitute Sunday School teacher found in two Visual Bible for Kids videos.
Peretti released his first-ever non-fiction book, The Wounded Spirit in 2000, which quickly became a best-seller. The book addresses the pain of “wounded spirits” and was writted as a result of painful childhood experiences.
Frank Peretti and his wife, Barbara Jean, live in the Western U.S. In spite of sudden fame and notoriety, Frank still lives a simple, well-rounded life that includes carpentry, banjo making, sculpturing, bicycling and hiking. He is also an avid pilot. (30)
This Present Darkness is a gripping story that brings keen insight into spiritual warfare and the necessity of prayer. Since its original publication more than 2.7 million copies have been sold. The companion volume, Piercing the Darkness, continues the story of the battle between spiritual forces. (30)
He authored over 40 books, wrote nationally syndicated columns, and was a favorite guest of numerous television and radio personalities. (31)
“Heard of this book from a friend as one of the best relationship/marriage books he’d read and recommends it for all men to read. I would agree. Straight from a father to his fixing to get married son, absolutely love his letters about how to treat your wife. Very simple, yet profound in how it can change your marriage just by treating her right, and simply loving her in simple consistent ways! Highly recommend and a great price too :)” (34)
Karen Shedd, away at college, had recently become engaged. Looking forward to a long and happy union, she wrote to her father for advice. (32)
P.S. I’m a 50 year old lady engaged to the man of my dreams. This advice was most welcome.” (33)
H. Jackson Brown, Jr. is an American author best-known for his book Life’s Little Instruction Book which was a New York Times bestseller. Before becoming famous as a writer, Brown acted as a creative director of an advertising agency in Nashville, Tennessee. It was simple words of wisdom gathered from other people and his own experiences that made him a best-selling author.
Brown first published A Father’s Book of Wisdom, which was quickly followed by P.S. I Love You, a collection of sayings and observations from his father and mother. Both were very popular and led to Life’s Little Instruction Book, which was originally written as a going-away present for his college-bound son, Adam. This book contained 511 reminders about “how to live a happy and rewarding life” and became a phenomenal best-seller worldwide. It has logged more than two years on the New York Times best-seller list, including more than a year at the number one spot. Life’s Little Instruction Book was the first book to ever occupy the number one spot on the New York Times best-seller list in both paperback and hardback formats simultaneously. Live and Learn and Pass It On followed and also became a New York Times best-seller.
Brown’s books have been translated into 35 languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. They have spawned calendars, posters, apparel items, daily journals, greeting cards, audiocassettes, screensavers and even fortune cookies. Brown is also said to receive thousands of letters from readers all over the world. Their content ranges from the simple, “I enjoyed your book and I read a page or two every night before I go to bed” to the humbling “your book convinced our family to adopt a special needs child.”
Remarking on his books, Jackson has said, “Most of us know what we need to do to make our lives more fulfilled and useful, but sometimes we forget. My little books are gentle reminders of those simple things which, if done well and in a spirit of love, can significantly change our lives.” (35)
“But it’s not just for young people,” says Brown. “Most of us already know how to live a successful and purposeful life. We know we should be more understanding and thoughtful, more responsible, courageous and appreciative. It’s just that we sometimes need reminding.” Life’s Little Instruction Book™ is that reminder, as well as the perfect gift for a relative or a friend who needs encouragement at any time of the year. (35)
4. Henry Blackaby’s Amazon page
5. Richard Blackaby’s Amazon page
6. Claude King’s Amazon page
7. Experiencing God Goodreads page
8. Experiencing God Amazon page
9. Cost of Discipleship Goodreads page
10. Screwtape Letters Goodreads page
11. Pursuit of God Goodreads page
12. Knowledge of The Holy Goodreads page
13. John Bunyan’s Amazon page
14. Pilgrim’s Progress Goodreads page
15. Pursuit of Holiness Goodreads page
16. A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 Goodreads page
17. A Tale of Three Kings Goodreads page
18. The Christian’s Secret Goodreads page
19. Hinds Feet Goodreads page
20. Celebration of Discipline Goodreads page
21. The Hiding Place Goodreads page
22. The Shack Goodreads page
23. The Final Quest Goodreads page
24. Stevesjogren.com “about Steve”
25. The Day I Died Goodreads page
26. The Practice of The Presence of God Goodreads page
27. I Give You Authority Goodreads page
28. Boundaries Goodreads page
29. John Townsend’s Goodreads page
30. This Present Darkness Goodreads page
31. Letters to Phillip Goodreads page
32. Letters To Karen Goodreads page
33. Letters To Karen Amazon page
34. Letters To Phillip Amazon Page
35. Life’s Little Instruction Book Goodreads page