Posted by: jmark | November 6, 2004

Build your own library – a plea for reading

If we were to measure the interest Christians have in Christianity by the books they have on their shelves, many would seem to be distinctly uninterested.

Spurgeon, preaching on Paul’s words, “Bring me my cloak and books”, pleads:

“Even an apostle must read. How rebuked [we] are by the apostle! He is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has been preaching at least for thirty years, and yet he wants books! He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He had had a wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things which it was unlawful for a man to utter, yet he wants books! He had written the major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books!

The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own…

YOU need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers, and expositions of the Bible. We are quite persuaded that the best way for you to be spending your leisure, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, “Bring the books” — join in the cry.”

With this in mind here’s a list of basic books in various categories to get your library started:

Reference
21st Century Bible Commentary – IVP
New Bible Dictionary – IVP
NIV Complete Concordance
Survey of the Bible – William Hendriksen
New Bible Atlas – IVP
Matthew Henry’s Commentary

Understanding the Bible
How to read the Bible for all its worth – Gordon Fee & Douglas Stuart
Knowing Scripture – RC Sproul – IVP

Doctrine
A summary of Christian doctrine – Louis Berkhof – Banner of Truth
Holiness of God – RC Sproul
A Journey in Grace – RP Belcher – EP
Transforming Grace – Jerry Bridges – NavPress
Knowing God – JI Packer
Foundations of the Christian Faith – JM Boice – IVP

Christian Living
Pursuit of Holiness – Jerry Bridges – NavPress
Practical Godliness – Jerry Bridges – NavPress
Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian life – Don Whitney – Scripture Press
Guidance and the Voice of God – Philip Jensen & Tony Payne – Matthias Media
Don’t waste your Life – John Piper – Christ is all Media
If God already knows, why Pray? – Douglas Kelly
A heart like his – RM Pippert

Devotional
The Cross He bore – FS Leahy – Banner of truth
Just Like Jesus – Max Lucado
In the grip of Grace – Max Lucado
Pursuit of God – AW Tozer
The Joy of fearing God – Jerry Bridges
The Biblical Doctrine of Heaven and Hell – Edward Donnelly – Banner of Truth

Books to help in daily bible reading
Expository Thoughts – JC Ryle – Banner & EP
Prayer, Praise and Promises – Warren Weirsbe
Romans – Stuart Olyott – Welwyn Commentaries – EP
The Shepherd King – Roger Ellsworth – EP
Sermon on the Mount – DA Carson – Paternoster

Evangelism
Out of the Salt Shaker – RM Pippert – IVP
Know & Tell the gospel – John Chapman – Matthias
Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God – JI Packer
Questioning Evangelism – Randy Newman

Evangelistic
I will never Become a Christian – Peter Jeffery – EP Wales
A Fresh Start – John Chapman – Matthias Media
A Sneaking Suspicion – John Dickson – Matthias
Turning Points – Vaughan Roberts – Paternoster
Basic Christianity – John Stott

Defending your Faith
Truth under attack – Eryl Davies – EP
Answer to Tough Questions – Josh McDowell
The Case for Christ – Lee Strobel
The Answers Book – Ken Ham et al – Answers in Genesis
Persuasions – Douglas Wilson – Canon Press

Biography/Church History
Sketches of Church History – SM Houghton – Banner of Truth
Men of Purpose/Men of Destiny – Peter Masters – Wakeman Trust
Singing in the Fire/Sound of Trumpets – Faith Cook – Banner
Shadow of the Almighty – Elisabeth Elliot
King of the Cannibals – Jim Cromarty – EP

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Responses

  1. I don’t know if you have ever studied Knowing God but we are doing that on my site.

    You are welcome to use my weekly Kowing God study, along with the study materials I have put together to help you, if that interests you.

    http://beyondtherim.meisheid.com/index.php?cat=26

  2. Have you seen the new Berkhof collection from Logos Bible Software? I thought you might be interested:

    Louis Berkhof Collection (14 Vols.)


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