30 Books Every Christian Should Read

I believe that reading books written by other, wiser Christians is one of the most effective ways to grow as a Christian. But with millions of books available and thousands more being written every year, how can you know which ones to read? In order to help you, I compiled a list of thirty books I think that every Christian should read. This list isn’t exhaustive by any means, and there are many others that should be on the list, but this should get you started.

Heaven by Randy Alcorn – Given the fact that we will spend eternity in heaven, we should know at least something of what it will be like. Randy Alcorn answers many common questions about heaven and paints a biblical picture of what eternity will be like.

Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions by Arthur Bennett – These Puritan prayers will fuel your personal prayer life with their rich view of God.

The Discipline of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges – What is the connection between God’s grace and our personal pursuit of holiness? Jerry Bidges answers that question.

Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges – All of us will go through trials of some sort, and this book will equip you to trust God in even the most difficult circumstances.

Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs – If you find yourself struggling with contentment in your job, marriage, or any other situation, this book is for you.

Spurgeon: A New Biography by Arnold Dallimore – Charles Spurgeon was a giant of the Christian faith, and this biography will stir you to love God, pursue God, and trust in God like Spurgeon.

The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made by Mark Dever – The Old Testament can be a very confusing place. In this book, Mark Dever provides a short, yet very helpful overview of every book in the Old Testament, making this a key tool for your personal Bible study.

The Message of the New Testament: Promises Kept by Mark Dever – This is another helpful Bible study tool in which Mark Dever provides a short overview of every book in the New Testament.

The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever – Who should evangelize? What should we say when we evangelize? Mark Dever answers these questions and more in this short book.

Just Do Something: How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc. by Kevin DeYoung – How can you know God’s will for your life? Find out by reading this book.

What Is the Gospel? (9Marks) by Greg Gilbert – We absolutely cannot afford to get the gospel wrong, and this book will help you have clarity on the various facets of the gospel.

According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible by Graeme Goldsworthy – The Bible is more than just a series of books, it’s the story of what God is doing in history. Get an overview of that story in this book.

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem – This is the most helpful theological reference I own. If you have questions about demons, the Bible, church government, the Holy Spirit, or just about anything else, you can find the answer here.

God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation by Andreas Kostenberger – The institutions of marriage and family are under attack in our culture. This book will help you have a biblical understanding of many different issues, such as divorce, homosexuality, birth control, and the role of men and women.

Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney – There are few things more important to God than humility. If you want to grow in humility, read this book.

Living the Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing by C.J. Mahaney – How can we live in the joy and freedom of God? How can we grow as Christians? By keeping the gospel as the central thing in our Christian lives.

Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen – This book is a tough read, but it’s really valuable. John Owen examines the workings of sin and shows us how to defeat sin and temptation.

Knowing God by J.I. Packer – If you want to know what God is like, this is your book. J.I. Packer examines the various attributes of God, such as his holiness, his love, his justice, and his eternity.

Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist by John Piper – There are few books that have my understanding of what it means to love God than this one. Loving God is more than just duty, it is delight.

What’s the Difference?: Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible by John Piper – Men and women are given specific roles by God. In this very short book, John Piper explains those roles from a biblical perspective.

Finally Alive by John Piper – The phrase “born again” has been blurred and even distorted in our culture. In this book John Piper explains the real meaning of what it means to be born again.

God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God’s Love as the Gift of Himself by John Piper – What is the gospel really about? The gospel is not primarily about having our sins forgiven, it is primarily about getting God himself.

Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace by Gary and Betsy Ricucci – Every married couple should read this book multiple times. In it you will find biblical principles and practices for establishing a healthy, romantic, God-honoring marriage.

The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul – This is not a safe book. If you read it you will find yourself trembling before the holiness of God.

Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul – Have you ever struggled with the doctrine of election? In this book, R.C. Sproul dispels common myths about election and shows how it is actually a very glorious doctrine.

The Cross of Christ by John Stott – The cross is the centerpiece of Christianity, and as you read this book you will find yourself amazed at what God has done through the cross and incredibly grateful for the cross.

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp – As parents it’s easy to simply want our children to behave. However, if we’re going to honor God we must also get to the heart of obedience.

A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love by Milton Vincent – This little book is a wonderful devotional tool, providing short meditations on the gospel in both prose and poetry. It’s a book that can be read many times.

When People Are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man (Resources for Changing Lives) by Ed Welch – Every Christian struggles with the fear of man, and many times it is a massive struggle. This book is a helpful tool for overcoming the sin of the fear of man.

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney – A rich Christian life doesn’t come without discipline, and in this book Donald Whitney examines many different disciplines for the Christian life, such as Bible reading, prayer, journaling, fasting, and solitude.

+photo by ~Brenda-Starr~

  • http://blog.hankinsfamily.com Elizabeth

    Great list! Thanks for sharing!! In addition to those you've mentioned, Everyday Talk by Jay Younts and When Sinners Say, "I Do" have both been very helpful and influential in my marriage and parenting.

  • http://twitter.com/pedrocaminoread @pedrocaminoread

    Thanks! Will look into them.

  • Anam Cara

    Hmmmm. All modern books. Can't you think of any old ones?

  • http://youngglory.blogspot.com/2009/10/why-big-paws.html Matt Blick

    read 1 4 6 (the autobiography is better) 15 16 19 22 29
    tried 5 and gave up
    got 26 waiting on my 'to read' shelf ready to go.

    13? have you read it? You did say every Christian should 'read' not 'own'

  • http://www.jeritanner.blogspot.com Jeri Tanner

    Thanks Stephen, resources like this are very helpful. I shared it on FB.

  • http://landryglaubemann.blogspot.com Landry Glaubemann

    Hey Stephen have you read them all?

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  • http://www.rootsrain.com Jeff

    I might also add "Money, Posessions, and Eternity" by Randy Alcorn. Especially in our radically materialistic culture. http://www.amazon.com/dp/0842353607?tag=rootsrain

  • http://twitter.com/scotters @scotters

    No CS Lewis in your list…?

  • http://happenings.xrysostom.com/ Walter Snyder

    Luther's commentary on Galatians.

  • http://happenings.xrysostom.com/ Walter Snyder

    ^I should have said the 1535 commentary, the one he loved as his own wife and in which he most beautifully explicates and applies the Gospel against all who would save themselves by works and toward all who are crushed by sin and guilt.

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  • holymoosebomb

    Notice how the bible isn’t on this list lmao

  • ryanroach

    Great list!

  • Gralefrit Theology

    Primitive Piety by Ian Stackhouse & Relating Faith by Rob Knowles.

  • http://thankful-homemaker.blogspot.com Marci Ferrell

    Great list. I never heard of Finally Alive so I’m thankful for that recommendation along with the rest.

  • Todd Wilhelm

    Has anyone actually read completely through Dever’s book on the OT? I have a copy but doubt I will ever get through it! Looks cool on my bookshelf though.

    Quote from C.S. Lewis:

    “There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and
    that the amateur should content himself with the modern books…. [Students are directed not to Plato but to books on Plato]— all about ‘isms’ and influences and only once in twelve pages telling him what Plato actually said…. But if he only knew,the great man, just because of his greatness, is much more intelligible than his modern commentator…. Now this seems to me topsy-turvy. Naturally, since I myself am a writer, I do not wish the ordinary reader to read no modern books. But if he must read only the new or only the old, I would advise him to read the old. And I would give him this advice precisely because he is an amateur and therefore much less protected than the expert against the dangers of an exclusive contemporary diet. A new book is still on its trial and the amateur is not in a position to judge it. It has to be tested against the great body of Christian thought down the ages, and all its hidden implications (often unsuspected by the author himself) have to be brought to light….

    It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old
    one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones….

    We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books. . . . We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century—the blindness about
    which posterity will ask, “But how could they have thought that?”—lies where we have never suspected it, and concerns something about which there is untroubled agreement between Hitler and President Roosevelt or between Mr. H. G. Wells and Karl Barth. None of us can fully escape this blindness…. The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books.”

    Contending For Our All by John Piper, page 11