Ten (ish) Books Every Christian Should Own and Read

Someone asked me a few weeks ago for a recommended reading list for the new year.  So, here is a top ten (ish) as of now.  There are readers out there who put me to shame, so feel free to let me know what you might add!

The first item on the list shouldn’t be on the list, because it should go without saying—a Bible.  Not just any Bible, though, but a good, text-only translation of the Bible.  Every Christian should become conversant in the book God gave us, and a faithful translation is essential.  Moreover, Christians need a Bible that won’t distract them with commentary and notes from others, which is where the text-only version comes into play (getting an MSB below is great, but you need to read a Bible in which you are free to observe on your own first).  Good translations include the English Standard Version (what I preach from) or the New American Standard Version.  The King James Version would also fall into this category, though its language proves difficult for modern audiences (The New King James Version is a good alternative).

Okay, with that said, let’s start the list:

  1. A MacArthur Study Bible (MSB).  As a twenty-first century believer, you’ll need help to understand the background and historical context of the books of the Bible.  The MSB represents years of expertise from the professors at the Master’s College and Seminary, becoming an invaluable resource to the Body of Christ full of notes, maps, and charts.  You can purchase a MacArthur Study Bible today in multiple versions, including the ESV, NASB, NKJV, and even the NIV.
  2. Knowable Word, Peter Krol.  Krol wraps a powerful Bible study tool in a small package, paring acres of difficult hermeneutical texts down into this accessible 100+ page resource.  His book leaves you with confidence that you can actually understand Scripture through the tested Observe-Interpret-Apply method.
  3. Knowing God, JI Packer.  This classic may be a bit heady in places, but it will ultimately challenge you to reconsider and refine what you mean when you say you “know God.” 
  4. A Gospel Primer for Christians, Milton Vincent. I’ve read it several times in the past few years to remind myself of the clear scriptural truths concerning the gospel. It is an essential read for Christians young and old.
  5. Our Sufficiency in Christ, John MacArthur. This book calls believers to the center of our faith—Jesus Christ—and challenges us to reject anything which might rob us of trusting fulling in Him.
  6. Whichever of these three is (or mix-and-match as) appropriate: 
    1. Disciplines of a Godly Man, Kent Hughes
    2. Disciplines of a Godly Woman, Barbara Hughes
    3. Disciplines of a Godly Family, Kent and Barbara Hughes.  Another required read for parents in particular would be Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Tedd Tripp.
  7. Understanding End Times Prophecy, Paul Benware.  Everyone has an opinion on what the end-times will bring, and the world seems obsessed with this question.  The Bible talks about the events surrounding Christ’s Second Coming in a way that tells Christians God wants them to know.  This book will give you a good overview of the biblical scenario that will soon unfold.
  8. Charismatic Chaos, John MacArthur.  This lightning-rod will help you develop an understanding and wariness of some of the Holy Spirit hucksters and hustlers the Bible warned us about.  A good follow-up to this book is Strange Fire, edited by the same author.
  9. Think Biblically, John MacArthur and the Faculty of TMC.  Being a Christian doesn’t stop at learning about God and believing the gospel; Christians must develop a thorough-going Christian worldview on science, social issues, politics, etc.  This book is a great place to start.
  10. Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, Mark Dever.  If you are not in a church, God wants you in a sound fellowship of believers under the preaching of His Word.  This book will help you either gain appreciation for your local fellowship or send you on a path to look for a biblical congregation.   
There we have (what we could round to be) ten books every Christian should read.  

And Valley of Vision to have a book to pray through.

Have a blessed year in reading!

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