From Rembrandt to Joseph Noel Paton, the Bible has been the subject of painting and the arts for hundreds of years, visually beautifully depicting deeper interpretive readings of the scriptures and the thoughtfulness and philosophies of life which have sprung from its application. So too, in literature, intelligent scholars through the ages have published innumerable insights about the Bible, its interpretation and influence.
Every thoughtful Christian can probably appreciate these 40 volumes in the journey to grow into a deeper understanding of life and existence through the Bible.
Including such great authors and thinkers as C. S. Lewis, Thomas Kempis and Martin Luther, our readers recommend the reading of these books for profound scriptural knowledge. These books have influenced countless Christians across vast periods of time.
These 40 books are organized into a free slideshow which will both provoke and validate you in your reading and scholarship. Even if you are short on time, you will probably grow deeper by choosing to read at least one of these influential books. Though potentially challenging, we believe it will be well worth your while.
1. How Should We Then Live? — Francis A. Schaeffer
Theologian and thinker Francis A. Schaeffer wrote this major book in 1976 as a reflection upon society's state of affairs while presenting the need for affirmation of a Christian ethic and biblical morals in culture.
"Few Christians have had greater impact during the last half of the twentieth century than Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer," Lane T. Dennis, publisher of Crossway Books, wrote in the foreword of the book. "A man with a remarkable breadth of cultural interest and with penetrating insight into post-Christian, postmodern life, Schaeffer was also a man who cared deeply about people and their search for truth, meaning, and beauty in life. If there is one central theme throughout Schaeffer's twenty-four published books, it is that 'true truth' exists as revealed in the Bible by 'the God who is there,' and that what we do with this truth has decisive consequences in every area of life and culture."
2. God in the Dock — C. S. Lewis
God in the Dock is comprised of C. S. Lewis' essays posthumously collected, addressing theology, ethics, religion, spirituality and thought and expressing his profoundly Christian observations and insights as one of the greatest Christian thinkers of our time.
3. Knowing God — J. I. Packer
J. I. Packer, in his classic work Knowing God, has greatly shaped Christian readers to know God more deeply by sharing about God and his attributes — His love, grace, majesty and wrath — and the benefits of an intimate relationship with Him.
4. The Imitation of Christ — Thomas à Kempis
One of the most widely circulated and translated Christian titles other than the Bible itself, The Imitation is a devotional and religious classic written in the 1400s by an Augustinian monk which clarifies instructions for withdrawing from worldly vanities and seeking spiritual life.
5. Absolute Surrender — Andrew Murray
Based on a series of Andrew Murray's sermons, this work provides a step-by-step challenge for readers to truly surrender life absolutely to God and to fully experience the fruits of the Holy Spirit and Christian liberty.
6. Commentary on Galatians — Martin Luther
Martin Luther's writing in the 500 years since the Reformation has influenced far reaching spheres across Christianity, religion, democracies, economies and societies. And as he studied Galatians, as well as Romans, Hebrews, and Psalms, he developed the doctrine of justification by faith alone, by God's grace. This book, his commentary on Galatians, has become a classic masterwork.
7. Life Together — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Renowned German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer sustained a fellowship in an underground seminary during the Nazi years of Germany. In Life Together, he recounts practical advice on how to sustain real Christian fellowship for families and groups.
8. The Hiding Place — Corrie ten Boom
The Hiding Place is Corrie ten Boom's account of helping Jews escape from the Nazis. Her family perished in concentration camps and she was the only survivor. This book shines a light on the dark history of the time and about how faith ultimately overcomes evil.
9. Foxe's Book of Martyrs — John Foxe
First published in 1563, Foxe's Book of Martyrs challenges believers to live out the faith under any and every circumstance — no matter the cost — by telling the courageous stories of dozens of Christian martyrs tracing back to Reformation-era England.
10. Institutes of the Christian Religion — John Calvin
A seminal work of the Protestant Reformation, Institutes of the Christian Religion serves as an introduction to Protestant faith and is still read by theology students today. The book covers a variety of doctrines, from the church to justification by faith, and from God's sovereignty to Christian liberty — a monumentally important publication from the 16th century.
11. The Ragamuffin Gospel — Brennan Manning
The classic Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning illustrates the need for the acceptance of God's grace by all people and emphasizes the power of grace to change lives — in spite of our own failures, misgivings and disappointments.
12. The Phenomenon of Man — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In his quintessential work and French bestseller, visionary theologian and biologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin discusses the evolution of living organisms from inorganic matter — and argues that humanity, too, is also evolving toward an "omega point."
13. What's So Amazing About Grace? — Philip Yancey
Yancey coins the term "scandal of grace" in his best-known book What's So Amazing About Grace? He shares about grace at the street level and how Christians should show more of it, as grace is enough to cover even the most horrific sins of mankind.
14. A Christian Manifesto — Francis A. Schaeffer
Schaeffer's 1981 manifesto was meant to be a Christian response to The Communist Manifesto of 1848 and the Humanist Manifesto, and literally calls Christians to be the salt of culture and history-makers by returning to faith in Jesus Christ and the Western Judeo-Christian values.
15. The Problem of Pain — C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis, in his 1940 classic The Problem of Pain, attempts to reconcile God's goodness and power with the reality of pain, suffering and evil in the world — tackling human sinfulness, animal suffering and the existence of hell — and rejecting these as reasons for disbelief in God.
16. The Return of the Prodigal Son — Henri J. M. Nouwen
The Return of the Prodigal Son is one of Henri Nouwen's most popular books and was written after the theologian encountered and meditated upon the Rembrandt painting of the same name. The book illuminates all aspects of the famous biblical parable for fresh understanding by readers.
17. Letter From Birmingham Jail — Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Letter From Birmingham Jail is an open letter written on April 16, 1963, as a response to a letter Martin Luther King, Jr., received from critics, fellow clergymen who asked him to drop his campaign for non-violent action. The letter, which famously stated, "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," became one of King's most powerful written statements and a rally call for an end to racism.
18. Peace With God — Billy Graham
Billy Graham is known by many as the most prominent preacher of the 20th century, with the Gospel message reaching hundreds of millions and even billions of people through his rallies and media. In his classic book, Peace with God, Graham shares how every person can receive inner peace from God for free, by grace.
19. The Philokalia
Other than the Bible, the Philokalia has been referred to as the principle spiritual text for the Eastern Orthodox Church, written by spiritual masters between the 4th and the 15th centuries and compiled by St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain and St. Makarios of Corinth in the 18th century. The writings are focused on spirituality and man's union with God.
20. Hinds' Feet on High Places — Hannah Hernard
Hinds' Feet on High Places is a successful allegorical tale published in 1955 about a symbolic character searching for God's wisdom and guidance to lead her to a higher place.
21. Laudato Si' – Pope Francis
In this letter, Pope Francis calls all Christians and all humans to dialogue about our common home and focuses on consumerism, development, degradation, and the Gospel message as viewed through creation.
22. The Normal Christian Life — Watchman Nee
The Normal Christian Life, a book by Watchman Nee that originated as a series of addresses which later became magazine articles, presents the path of faith and spiritual principles in simplicity as foundations for Christian life.
23. I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist — Norman L. Geisler
I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist guides readers through arguments, examinations and investigations of several aspects of the Christian faith. It is a thought-provoking resource for skeptics about Christianity as well as for Christians hoping to better articulate the faith.
24. Original Blessing — Matthew Fox
Matthew Fox, an influential leader within the Creation Spirituality movement, in this work focuses on the Original Blessing man received from God — in contrast with the Original Sin, the fall of man — and God's creative and spiritual energy expressed in humans.
25. The Language of God — Francis Collins
A leader for the Human Genome Project, Francis Collins advocates in The Language of God for theistic evolution — logically correlating faith and science and presenting evidence for belief while expressing wonder at God's creation.
26. Mere Christianity — C. S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis' famous argument for Christian doctrine was based off of BBC radio addresses he gave during the Second World War and was first published as a unit in 1952.
27. The Screwtape Letters — C. S. Lewis
Another C.S. Lewis classic, this 1941 satirical novel follows a veteran demon who writes correspondence to others in Hell on how to deceive human beings and recent converts to Christianity.
28. My Utmost for His Highest — Oswald Chambers
A daily devotional first published in 1923, this book is a compilation of Oswald Chambers' preaching to students and First World War soldiers, where he served as a chaplain.
29. The Case for Christ — Lee Strobel
In this critically acclaimed apologetics work, journalist Lee Strobel interviews experts to see if there is evidence that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The book traces his own journey from atheism to Christianity.
30. The Pursuit of God — A. W. Tozer
Aiden Wilson Tozer's 1948 classic on how to seek God, the impulse to follow Him, and the need for faith even in secular endeavors continues to inspire to this day.
31. Orthodoxy — G. K. Chesterton
G. K. Chesterton's 1908 apologetics work focusing on how the author came to believe in Jesus Christ has been labeled by many as the prolific author's most important work.
32. The Cost of Discipleship — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
German Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer coined the phrase "cheap grace" in this influential theological work, which powerfully warns Christians against compromising with secular society.
33. Confessions — St. Augustine
St. Augustine of Hippo's personal and profound autobiographical account of his tumultuous spiritual life and pre-Christian misdeeds serves as powerful reading over 1,500 years after it was first published.
34. God's Smuggler — Brother Andrew
Brother Andrew offers an unforgettable and harrowing account of his efforts as a young man to smuggle Bibles into countries where Christianity was persecuted.
35. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus — Nabeel Qureshi
In this heartfelt and intellectual best-seller, Nabeel Qureshi documents his spiritual journey from his devout Muslim upbringing to his conversion to Christianity.
36. Cold-Case Christianity — J. Warner Wallace
Homicide detective and former atheist J. Warner Wallace investigates the claims of Christianity, applying his knowledge of criminal investigation to craft an interesting apologetics work.
37. The City of God — St. Augustine
The City of God is St. Augustine of Hippo's 5th century masterpiece whose philosophical ideas on the righteous City of God and wicked City of Man continue to influence western culture.
38. The Pilgrim's Progress — John Bunyan
John Bunyan's 17th century Christian allegory contains a profound two-part story about a man's journey from the City of Destruction to Heaven, that entertains readers up to the present day. At one point, it was second only to the Bible in popularity.
39. Loving God — Chuck Colson
Former Nixon Administration "hatchet man" Chuck Colson's amazing examination of the cost of Christian discipleship continues to challenge the Church.
40. The Cross and the Switchblade — David Wilkerson
David Wilkerson's true account of his evangelism efforts among troubled inner-city teenagers remains a powerful testimony to the witness even in a violent, drug-ridden setting.