Confession… I’m not much of a reader. It just doesn’t come naturally to me. I’d much rather go and do something or sit and watch some football. I wish I had the desire to read more, but it’s more of a discipline than a joy. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy the books I read, I do. I just don’t have desire innately in me to pick up a book. I have to remind myself to read. And it’s always a great reward when I do.
Reading is one of the best ways a Christain can grow and learn more about their faith. There have been several books that have made an impact on my spiritual life. These books have been books that have changed the way I view the Bible, interact with God, and treat others. The books in this list are all books I have read. There are other books that I’m sure are excellent, but cannot recommended until I stop watching football long enough to read them. I believe these are 7 books every Christian should read.
This list is a mix of classics and some more recent books. If you have a book that’s made an impact on your faith, make sure to share in the comments!
Skeletons in God’s Closet by Joshua Ryan Butler
Hell is probably one of those topics you dread being asked about. It can seem like God’s dirty secret, his skeletons in the closet. This book pulls the bones out into the open to exchange popular caricatures for the beauty and power of the real thing. What we thought were skeletons aren’t really at all. Rather what this book discovers is that God is good in his very bones. In what he does and who he is.
If you are like me and have questioned the traditional view of hell and want a better picture of what is going on, check out this book!
What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey
I’ll be honest… I could easily fill this entire list with Philip Yancey’s books. They have been my favorite to read and made a huge impact on my faith. If you only read one of his books, you HAVE to read this one. Yancey examines the true grace that is shocking and scandalous. Grace that shakes our conventions with its insistence on getting close to sinners and touching them with mercy and hope. It forgives the unfaithful spouse, the racist, the child abuser. It loves today’s AIDS-ridden addict as much as the tax collector of Jesus’ day. What makes this book so powerful is not just the insight Yancey offers, but also the stories he tells. He goes and meets with the people that have given and received this scandalous grace.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
What good would a list like this be without at least one book by C.S. Lewis? In this classic Lewis examines the common ground that we have as Christians and delivers a powerful apologetic as to why we should believe. I’m sure many of you have read this book. But if you haven’t do yourself a favor and get it today! While on this C.S Lewis kick, let me also recommend The Screwtape Letters.
The Bible Tells Me So by Pete Enns
If you lean toward a more traditional, or fundamental, reading and understanding of the Bible, this book will probably be a challenge for you. However I firmly believe you should read authors you agree with and those you disagree with. While many will disagree with Enns’ conclusions (I disagreed with a few), we need to wrestle with the question’s he brings up.
The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Drawing from the Sermon on the Mount, Bonhoeffer examines the difference between cheap grace and costly grace. Here’s the best summary I found: “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.” This book was originally written in German and then translated to English. The book doesn’t read as smoothly as others, but it’s well worth the effort.
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
I don’t know if this book made such a profound impact on me because of how good it is or because of the life stage I was in. It’s probably a mixture of both. This book helped me see the story that God tells with our lives, but how we often settle for a much less exciting narrative. This booked helped me live a better story with my life.
When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
Few books have changed the way I view helping people as much as this one. This book examines the way that we do outreach and sees the damage that approach has done. Rather than offering a quick fix this book focuses on solving the underlining cause. Poverty is much more than simply a lack of material resources, and it takes much more than donations and handouts to solve it. When Helping Hurts shows how some alleviation efforts, failing to consider the complexities of poverty, have actually (and unintentionally) done more harm than good.
This is certainly not an extensive list. There are many other great books out there. But each of these books have made an impact in my life, and I believe they will in your life too. These are 7 books every Christian should read.
What books have you read that made an impact on your faith? What would you recommend?