What are the best Christian books that you should read in 2023?
In this blog post I want to give you the top Christian books that I’ve read and that have helped me. Not only have these books helped me grow my faith, but they have also inspired many of the blog posts on this site. So I want to share them with you!
This list is in no particular order, I’m not ranking them. Nor is this a list of the best Christian books of all time or that are coming out this year. On this list you will see new books, old books, and the in-between.
This is more of a personal list that I hope will give you some ideas of what to read this year.
The Best Christian Books You Should Read
Maybe you are thinking, well I’m not much of a reader. Yeah, me neither. At least not naturally. Reading for me is more of a discipline than a natural passion.
But I’ve found reading to be something that has brought tremendous growth in my life and faith. And overtime I’ve also found enjoyment in it.
I say that to encourage you if it’s been a while since you’ve read a book; maybe pick one up this year. It’s a great way to learn and grow your faith. Plus you can always get the audiobook if you really hate reading.
Alright, let’s jump into the best Christian books I have read.
1. Core 52 by Mark Moore
If you are looking for a great way to grow your faith and increase your Bible knowledge Core 52 is a GREAT book to start with. This book was written by a former professor of mine, and I can’t recommend it enough.
This book is a daily 15 minute guide that will give you the framework to grow your faith by studying God’s Word. You will gain the tools you need to the life God created you for.
There’s also a follow up to this book that focuses on Jesus, called Quest 52 and editions written specifically for families and students.
Core 52 Book Description:
Most of us want to know the Bible better, but few reach our goal, often because we’re too busy or we don’t know where to start. Core 52 removes both barriers, offering a common-sense solution that fits into our busy lives. Respected Bible professor and teaching pastor Mark E. Moore developed this proven process from thirty-five years of helping people grow deeper in God’s Word.
Each week features a brief essay, memory verse, Bible story, trajectory verses, and practical ways to put what you’ve learned into practice. An optional “Overachiever Challenge” offers the chance to memorize the top 100 Bible verses by year’s end.
This simple approach allows you to become familiar with the big ideas of the Bible in less time and with less effort than other reading plans. In one year, you can master the core of the Bible—focusing on topics from God’s will to worry, happiness to holiness, and leadership to love. These fifty-two core passages are lenses through which you can read the rest of the Bible with clarity and confidence.
You can buy them here: Core 52: A Fifteen-Minute Daily Guide to Build Your Bible IQ in a Year and Quest 52: A Fifteen-Minute-a-Day Yearlong Pursuit of Jesus
2. Good Boundaries And Goodbyes by Lysa TerKeurst
This is the first book I’m reading in 2023 and it’s a good one. I originally bought this book because I am planning a future sermon series at Storyline about creating boundaries. But as I read it I’ve personally learned a ton from it.
The reality is most of us struggle with setting healthy boundaries. In her book, Lysa talks about how boundaries are not just a good idea, but a GOD idea. Through powerful personal stories, practical advice, and insights from her counselors, this is a top Christian books that everyone should read.
Is it unloving or selfish to set a boundary? Are Christians ever called to walk away from a relationship that’s no longer safe or sustainable? Lysa TerKeurst deeply understands these hard questions in the midst of relational struggles.
But after thousands of hours of counseling intensives and extensive theological research that transformed the way she defined healthy relationships, Lysa is now more committed than ever to loving people well without losing the best of who she is. She wants to help you do the same. In these pages Lysa will help you:
- Understand the five factors to remember when implementing healthy boundaries.
- Determine the appropriate amount of personal and emotional access someone has to you based on how responsible they’ll be with that access.
- Stop being misled and emotionally paralyzed by wrongly interpreted or weaponized scriptures that perpetuate unhealthy dynamics in difficult relationships.
- Overcome the frustrating cycle of ineffective boundary-setting with realistic scripts and practical strategies to help you communicate, keep, and implement healthier patterns.
- Be equipped to say goodbye without guilt when a relationship has shifted from difficult to destructive and is no longer sustainable.
- Receive therapeutic wisdom you can trust directly from Lysa’s Christian counselor Jim Cress, who weighs in throughout the book.
You’ll be relieved to learn that boundaries aren’t just a good idea, they’re a God idea.
You can buy it here: Good Boundaries and Goodbyes: Loving Others Without Losing the Best of Who You
3. The Question That Never Goes Away: Why? by Philip Yancey
I’ve read this short book a few times and constantly find myself referring back to it. It’s an incredible book that looks at why God allows such pain and tragedy in this world.
What I love about Philip Yancey’s writing style is that he includes stories of people that are going through the topic of his books. This book centers around the tragedy that struck several communities: Columbine, Sarajevo, Fukushima and Sandy Hook. They are powerful, personal, and heart-wrenching stories. And Yancey does an excellent job walking us through where was God and how should Christians respond.
This is a short book that you will not be able to put down. I believe each follower of Jesus should read this book.
In his classic book Where Is God When It Hurts, Philip Yancey gave us permission to doubt, reasons not to abandon faith, and practical ways to reach out to hurting people.
And now, thirty years after writing his first book, Yancey revisits our cry of “Why, God” in three places stunned into silence by the calamities that have devastated them. At some point all of us will face the challenges to faith Yancey writes about and look for the comfort and hope he describes.
There are reasons to ask, once again, the question that never goes away: Where is God when we suffer? And Yancey, once again, leads us to find faith when it is most severely put to the test.
You can buy it here: The Question That Never Goes Away
4. Between Two Trees by Shane Wood
This book was written by a former professor of mine, Shane Wood. This book talks about the tragedy of sin and the mission of redemption that Jesus undertook.
Many Christians simply don’t understand what sin is and how it impacts our life and faith. This book will give you a much better understanding of sin and greater appreciation for the work of Jesus.
This book has influenced several of the posts I’ve written, most notably: What Is Sin (why it’s more than missing the mark)
The problem of Eden is much worse than you thought, but the solution is much better than you could have ever imagined.
Between Two Trees reveals that the real tragedy of Eden is a union with death, a union that produces division and despair. Life isn’t lived under Eden’s tree of life or beneath the healing leaves of the tree in the New Jerusalem. It is lived between them. And between these two trees, life is hard. In spite of this tragedy, Between Two Trees will challenge you to embrace hope, love, and the beauty of reconciliation at the true tree of life: the cross of Calvary.
By exploring the problem of Eden and the power of the cross, Shane Wood calls us to walk on a path to transformation, a path to union with God. The book journey ends under the shade of the tree of life in the New Jerusalem with God s unfinished creation now complete. Yes, Eden, but more importantly, you. The unfinished creation in us.
You can buy it here: Between Two Trees: Our Transformation from Death to Life
5. Soul Strength by Alan Ahlgrim
This book is written by Alan Ahlgrim, who was my pastor growing up, and I worked briefly with him before he retired. But this book isn’t on here just because I know him; it’s an excellent read full of powerful principles that will transform your life and faith.
I read this book as we were going through a move and job transition. And it helped me to see the importance of developing/investing in strong relationships and gave me the tools to do so.
The reality is you were created for relationships, yet most of us struggle in finding the right people. Wherever you are at in your faith, this will challenge you and help you find relationships that will deepen and enrich your life and faith.
In Soul Strength, Dr. Alan Ahlgrim explores twelve principles that will help you experience deeper relationships than ever before and, in the process, discover the secret to creating the kind of growth and transformation you crave.
The missing element in spiritual transformation for many-even for many in Christian leadership-is life with the right people. Whether you are an established church leader or a brand-new believer, you’ll learn:
- Why people need to hear your story
- The difference between living heart strong and head strong
- How to solve the “Am I good enough?” dilemma
- Why authenticity is foundational to soul strength
- How to manage toxic people in your life
- The five things common to life-giving relationships
Personal transformation isn’t a destination, it’s a journey-one you can’t take alone.
You can buy it here: Soul Strength: Rhythms for Thriving
6. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
This is a book my wife bought and when I saw it on our coffee table I picked it up. At first I was drawn in by Ann Voskamp’s writing style; I’ve never read a book with a style like hers. But then I was struck by her approach to gratitude.
I tend to be a person that is always focused on what is next. But One Thousand Gifts challenged me to pause and see all of God’s blessing in the here and now. And not just in the big things, but the small. It’s a great book to check out!
In One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp invites you to discover a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of living that is fully alive, and a way of becoming present to God that brings deep and lasting joy. It’s only in the expression of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we’ve always wanted . . . a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. Come to feel and know the impossible right down in your bones: you are wildly loved by God.
A new introduction and ribbon marker enhances this beautiful tenth anniversary edition. As Ann invites you into her own beautiful, heart-aching moments of amazing grace, she gently teaches you how to:
- Biblically lament loss and turn pain into poetry
- Intentionally embrace a lifestyle of radical gratitude
- Slow down and catch God in the moment
Not a book merely to read, One Thousand Gifts is an invitation to engage with truths that will serve up the depths of God’s joy and transform your life forever. Leave pride, fear, and control behind, and abandon yourself to the God who overflows your cup.
You can buy it here: One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
7. 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! This book is easily one of the best Christian books I have read.
This book has inspired several posts, for more check out: Rethinking The Traditional View Of Hell
Is God a sadistic torturer? Coldhearted judge? Genocidal maniac?
Unfortunately, our popular caricatures often make him out to be.There are some questions no Christian wants to be asked. Many today believe hell, judgment, and holy war are “skeletons in God’s closet,” tough topics that, if looked at closely, would reveal a cruel, vindictive tyrant rather than a good and loving God. And we aren’t comfortable with the answers we’ve been given.
“How can a loving God send people to Hell?”
“Isn’t it arrogant to believe Jesus is the only way to God?”
“Why is there so much violence in the Old Testament?”
In this book, we’ll pull these bones out into the open to exchange popular caricatures for the beauty and power of the real thing. We’ll discover these topics were never really skeletons at all . . . but proclamations of a God who is good “in his very bones,” not just in what he does, but in who he is. We’ll fling the wide the closet door and sing loudly, boldly, and clearly: God is good and coming to redeem his world.
Buy here: The Skeletons in God’s Closet: The Mercy of Hell, the Surprise of Judgment, the Hope of Holy War
8. What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey
If you are keeping track this is the second Philip Yancey book on this list. And I’ll be honest… I could easily fill this list of best Christian books with Philip Yancey. They have been my favorite to read and made a huge impact on my faith. I simply cannot recommend his books enough.
In What’s So Amazing About Grace 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.
If I had to rank this books, this would be towards the top of the list of best Christian books I have read.
Grace is the church’s great distinctive. It’s the one thing the world cannot duplicate, and the one thing it craves above all else–for only grace can bring hope and transformation to a jaded world.
In What’s So Amazing About Grace? award-winning author Philip Yancey explores grace at street level. If grace is God’s love for the undeserving, he asks, then what does it look like in action? And if Christians are its sole dispensers, then how are we doing at lavishing grace on a world that knows far more of cruelty and unforgiveness than it does of mercy?
Buy here: What’s So Amazing About Grace?
9. Embodied by Preston Sprinkle
Few people have I seen display such an incredible balance of truth and grace as Preston Sprinkle. Embodied is a Biblical and compassionate guide for Christians who want help navigating conversations about transgenderism. It deals with not only what the Bible says, but how to apply it with LOVE and COMPASSION. Something the church isn’t known for doing.
If you are a leader, have kids, or work with kids this is a must read.
Preston Sprinkle draws on Scripture, as well as real-life stories of individuals struggling with gender dysphoria, to help you understand the complexities and emotions of this highly relevant topic. This book fills the great need for Christians to speak into the confusing and emotionally charged questions surrounding the transgender conversation.
With careful research and an engaging style, Embodied explores:
- What it means to be transgender, nonbinary, and gender-queer, and how these identities relate to being male or female
- Why most stereotypes about what it means to be a man and woman come from the culture and not the Bible
- What the Bible says about humans created in God’s image as male and female, and how this relates to transgender experiences
- Moral questions surrounding medical interventions such as sex reassignment surgery
- Which pronouns to use and how to navigate the bathroom debate
- Why more and more teens are questioning their gender
Buy here: Embodied: Transgender Identities, the Church, and What the Bible Has to Say
10. Not In It To Win It by Andy Stanley
Like it or not the next election cycle is just around the corner. And it will likely be just as divisive and nasty as the last few, maybe worse. And if we are honest, the church hasn’t handled it well at all. We’ve been more concerned with winning than our God-given mission.
In this book Andy Stanley challenges this approach and shows us how we can get back to being the church. It’s a thought-provoking read that you should pick up before the political ads start again.
Is it possible to disagree politically and love unconditionally? The reaction of evangelicals to political and cultural shifts in recent years revealed what they value most. Lurking beneath our Bible-laced rhetoric, faith claims, books, and sermons is a relentless drive to WIN!
But the church is not here to win. By every human measure, our Savior lost. On purpose. With a purpose. And we are his body. We are not in it to win anything. We are in it for something else entirely. That something else is what this book is about.
- How to take a stand the right way. You’ll learn how to make your case with a posture of humility and understanding, rather than being fueled by the fear of losing something.
- How to view politics through the lens of faith. Learn curiously, listen intentionally, and love unconditionally.
- How the life of Jesus and his teaching applies to modern-day challenges in a fresh way. The “biblical” stand may not be what we’ve been taught.
Jesus never asked his followers to agree on everything. But he did call his followers to obey a new command: to love others in the same way he has loved us. Instead of asserting our rights or fighting for power, we need to begin asking ourselves: what does love require of me?
Buy here: Not in It to Win It
11. Hope In Times Of Fear by Timothy Keller
We are surrounded by things to be fearful of. Yet as Christians we do not have to succumb to that fear. And that’s exactly what Hope In Times Of Fear is all about.
In this book Keller reminds followers of Jesus exactly where their hope should be. It’s a powerful book that I think is very needed right now. And that’s why it makes this list of best Christian books.
The Resurrection accounts of Jesus in the Gospels are the most dramatic and impactful stories ever told. One similarity unites each testimony–that none of his most loyal and steadfast followers could “see” it was him, back from the dead. The reason for this is at the very foundation of the Christian faith.
She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. (John 20:14)
Hope in the Time of Fear is a book that unlocks the meaning of Jesus’s resurrection for readers. Easter is considered the most solemn and important holiday for Christians. It is a time of spiritual rebirth and a time of celebrating the physical rebirth of Jesus after three days in the tomb. For his devoted followers, nothing could prepare them for the moment they met the resurrected Jesus. Each failed to recognize him. All of them physically saw him and yet did not spiritually truly see him. It was only when Jesus reached out and invited them to see who he truly was that their eyes were open. Here the central message of the Christian faith is revealed in a way only Timothy Keller could do it–filled with unshakable belief, piercing insight, and a profound new way to look at a story you think you know. After reading this book, the true meaning of Easter will no longer be unseen.
Buy here: Hope in Times of Fear: The Resurrection and the Meaning of Easter
12. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
What good would a list of best Christian books 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 recommendThe Screwtape Letters.
Not only is this on my list of best Christian books, this is one of the all time best Christian books.
In the classic Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, the most important writer of the 20th century, explores the common ground upon which all of those of Christian faith stand together. Bringing together Lewis’ legendary broadcast talks during World War Two from his three previous books The Case for Christianity, Christian Behavior, and Beyond Personality, Mere Christianity provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear this powerful apologetic for the Christian faith.
Buy here: Mere Christianity
13. 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.
This book is a classic and deserves to be on any list of best Christian books.
One of the most important theologians of the twentieth century illuminates the relationship between ourselves and the teachings of Jesus
What can the call to discipleship, the adherence to the word of Jesus, mean today to the businessman, the soldier, the laborer, or the aristocrat? What did Jesus mean to say to us? What is his will for us today? Drawing on the Sermon on the Mount, Dietrich Bonhoeffer answers these timeless questions by providing a seminal reading of the dichotomy between “cheap grace” and “costly grace.” “Cheap grace,” Bonhoeffer wrote, “is the grace we bestow on ourselves…grace without discipleship….Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the girl which must be asked for, the door at which a man must know….It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.”
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.
Buy here: The Cost of Discipleship
14. Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning
I’ll admit, I’m a little behind the times on this one; it was released quite some time ago. I’ve always heard a lot about Brennan Manning but never actually read any of his books. After picking up this book I was quickly sucked in. It’s a candid and vulnerable look at what keeps us away from God’s love. I found this a great book to read and reflected on my own relationship with God.
If you are like me and have never read Brennan Manning’s books check them out!
Is an impostor robbing you of God’s love?
We’ve bought into the lie that we are worthy of God’s love only when our lives are going well. If our families are happy or our jobs are meaningful, life is a success. But when life begins to fall through the cracks and embarrassing sins threaten to reveal our less-than-perfect identity, we scramble to keep up a good front to present to the world―and to God. We hide until we can rearrange the mask of perfection. Sadly, it is then that we wonder why we lack intimate relationships and a passionate faith.
All this time God is calling us to take the mask off and come openly to Him. He longs for us to know in the depth of our beings that He loves us and accepts us as we are. When we are our true selves, we can finally claim our identity as God’s child―Abba’s child―and experience His pure pleasure in who we are. Brennan Manning encourages us to let go of the impostor lifestyle and freely accept our belovedness as a child of the heavenly Father. In Him there is life.
Buy here: Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging
15. Subversive Sabbath: The Surprising Power of Rest in a Nonstop World
This was one of the most challenging books I have read. I’m terrible at taking a true rest. I can take the day off, no problem. But actually resting that day is another story. This book really challenged me to evaluate my life and to actually find time to rest. What I loved about this book was that it mixes the theology of sabbath with the practicality of how to rest in our modern world.
So far I haven’t written anything about this book, but it’s been one of the most personally challenging books which is why it made my list of best Christian books.
We live in a 24/7 culture of endless productivity, workaholism, distraction, burnout, and anxiety–a way of life to which we’ve sadly grown accustomed. This tired system of “life” ultimately destroys our souls, our bodies, our relationships, our society, and the rest of God’s creation. The whole world grows exhausted because humanity has forgotten to enter into God’s rest.
This book pioneers a creative path to an alternative way of existing. Combining creative storytelling, pastoral sensitivity, practical insight, and relevant academic research, Subversive Sabbath offers a unique invitation to personal Sabbath-keeping that leads to fuller and more joyful lives. A. J. Swoboda demonstrates that Sabbath is both a spiritual discipline and a form of social justice, connects Sabbath-keeping to local communities, and explains how God may actually do more when we do less. He shows that the biblical practice of Sabbath-keeping is God’s plan for the restoration and healing of all creation.
Buy here: Subversive Sabbath: The Surprising Power of Rest in a Nonstop World
16. (For kids) Theolaby – The Story of God, by Jennie Allen – 5 Book Series Box Set
This is a beautifully illustrated and well-written set of books for your kids. In this set your kids will learn the story of God and what that means for them. It’s designed to be engaging, thought-provoking, and conversation starting. It’s the perfect introduction to the foundations of faith for you and your kids.
If you are looking for a book for your kids that will spur great conversations this is the perfect book!
Give your kids a big view of God from creation to heaven with this 5-part book set. Theolaby equips parents in the busiest season of life with simple, engaging tools that fuel their kids’ curiosity. These books help our children understand God’s character and their relationship with the Creator. Their little minds grasp more than we think! Each book includes a simple activity guide to help inspire great memories with your kids based on each story you will read to them
- High quality, Lay-flat design: Your purchase includes the keepsake box and each of the 5 books in the series.
- Memorable ESV Scripture references written line-by-line throughout the book.
- Uniquely written in first person. God’s voice to the child in an easy-to-understand, captivating way.
- An activity guide is included in each book to inspire great memories and conversations.
Buy here: Theolaby – The Story of God – 5 Book Series Box Set
Closing Thoughts On The Best Christian Books
Again, this isn’t a list of the top Christian books of all time. Rather these are good Christian books that I’ve read that I think could benefit you in your life and faith.
I would encourage you to pick one or two up. Invest in your faith this year.
What are some of the best Christian books you have read?
Up Next On My Reading List
That’s my list of the best Christian books I have read. I’m still working on a few more, here’s what’s next on my reading list:
- Forgive: Why Should I and How Can I? by Timothy Keller
- Beautiful Union: How God’s Vision for Sex Points Us to the Good, Unlocks the True, and (Sort of) Explains Everything by Joshua Ryan Butler
- A New Kind of Diversity: Making the Different Generations on Your Team a Competitive Advantage by Tim Elmore
- Walking In The Dust Of Rabbi Jesus by Lois Tverberg
- What Is Prayer? (7 Powerful Truths About Prayer) - June 6, 2023
- How To Pray To God (10 Powerful Ways To Pray) - June 5, 2023
- The Life-Changing Romans 8:18 Meaning (present suffering and future glory) - June 1, 2023