Top 25 Christian Books

Photo Credit: demandaj via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: demandaj via Compfight cc

Here is my personal list of must-read books. Outside of the Bible, these are the writings that have shaped me more than any other as a Christian. I return to each of these books from time to time, and in my opinion every Christian should have them on their shelf, or at least borrow them from a friend who does.

Without further adieu, then, I present to you in no particular order–


1. The Gate Seldom Found by Raymond Reid. Read my review.

2. The Divine Romance by Gene Edwards. A stunning presentation of God’s relentless passion and pursuit of a bride. An absolute must-read.

3. The School of Christ by T. Austin Sparks. Sparks is never an easy read, but the riches of his ministry are always well worth the labor. Personally speaking, there are depths of Christ I’ve glimpsed in Sparks’ writings that I’ve never seen anywhere else.

4. Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards. A classic work on submission and authority, as seen through the lives of Saul, David, and Absalom. Plenty of insight here into the ways of God.

5. The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee. From beginning to end this book will arrest you with the reality of God in Christ. Nee approaches the subject of what many would call the “overcoming” life or the “victorious” Christian life and shows that according to the New Testament this is really the “normal” Christian life meant to be enjoyed by all God’s people.

6. Against the Wind by Markus Baum. A gripping biography of Eberhard Arnold and the Bruderhof movement. Underlines on almost every page.

7. Practicing His Presence by Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach. I’m talking about the Seedsowers edition here. Brother Lawrence’s work has long been hailed as a classic, and rightfully so, but I actually got more out of Laubach’s writings than I did his. I was helped through this book to “see” the Lord within me for the very first time, and that was indeed a glorious moment.

8. Practical Expression of the Church by Witness Lee. Lots of people shy away from this brother, but he had an incredibly rich ministry of Christ. Ephesians is a wonderful letter containing the heavenly revelation of the church, but the fulfillment of God’s purpose demands a practical fleshing out of those truths here upon the earth. Lee deals with such issues in this book.

9. Torch of the Testimony by John W. Kennedy. “A 2000-year history of those Christians and churches who have stood outside both the Catholic and Protestant traditions.” Enough said.

10. Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. A modern classic by a great man of God. One of the first Christian books I ever read. Worth coming back to time and time again.

11. God’s Spiritual House by T. Austin Sparks. Lots of wonderful insight here into Christ and the church.

12. Jesus & Non-Violence: A Third Way by Walter Wink. Best stuff I’ve yet to read on the subject on non-violence from a Christian perspective. From Wink’s exegesis of certain problematic gospel passages (e.g. “Do not resist evil”), to his compare-and-contrast of the message of Christ with Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, to the many real-life examples he gives of successful campaigns of non-violent resistance, this little work speaks with convincing power.

13. Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. This book broke my heart with God’s concern for the poor and gave me an entirely new view of the gospel of the kingdom. 

14. A Testament of Devotion by Thomas Kelly. Unique for its Quaker perspective, this book will give you an exceptional glimpse into a life lived “from the Center.” It is a must-read for any and all who desire to practice the presence of God.

15. Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. Wonderful allegory on the spiritual life of a beliver, and how God uses sorrow and suffering in our lives to transform us into His image and make us more than conquerors through Him.

16. So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore by Wayne Jacobsen. Hugely influential to me at the time I read it. A wonderful book for those who are transitioning out of the setting of institutional Christianity. I’ve met Wayne once and he is a great guy.

17. Against the Tide: The Story of Watchman Nee by Agnus Kinnear. Get a glimpse of the man behind the ministry. Knowing the context behind Nee’s writings enriches them even further. This book should raise the standard for any Christian worker. One of the four biographies every Christian needs to read.

18. The Ultimate Intention by Devern Fromke. Though written in terms unfamiliar to most evangelical readers, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It will broaden your horizons to catch a glimpse of God’s eternal purpose in Christ, forever changing your perspective to encompass the whole of God’s will rather than just individual parts.

19. Two Kinds of Righteousness by E.W. Kenyon. I found this book on a clearance shelf at a local bookstore for $1.50, and it was well worth the cost! At the time the Lord was taking pains to convince me of my righteousness in Christ, and what can I say but He sealed the deal through this little book. Can’t thank Him enough.

20. The Early Christians in Their Own Words by Eberhard Arnold. A compilation of writings from second and third century Christian writers. If you ask me, Arnold’s overview of the early church in the introduction is the best part of the whole thing. Very stirring.

21. The Centrality of the Cross by Jesse Penn-Lewis. Read my review of it here.

22. Prem Pradhan: Apostle to Nepal by Seedsowers. If this brother were still alive I would get on a plane and go meet him today, if that tells you anything. I talk a little about the book here.

23. Prophetic Ministry by T. Austin Sparks. Sparks gets to the root of what it means to bring back into view God’s eternal purpose. This is not like most of the “prophet” writing you’ll encounter in Charismatic circles, so don’t be alarmed.

24. The Inward Journey by Gene Edwards. One of the most practical treatments of the cross that I’ve ever read. Bearing the cross is a subject can be easily misconstrued, but it is vital to those who would learn how to walk in the Spirit.

25. Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Not so much the entire book but because of the best chapter on Christian community I’ve ever read.

Have you read any of these books? What would your own must-read list include?

17 responses to Top 25 Christian Books

  1. I loved the divine romance.

  2. Yeah, Tractor, I read the Divine Romance straight through in a single day the first time I got a hold of it, though it wasn’t until subsequent readings that its message really impacted me. But it had a profound effect on my life, that’s for sure.

  3. Dear brother,

    I’m so thankful that you have a realization of the incredibly rich ministry of Witness Lee. Many people shy away from him, and he was very maligned throughout his ministry. Nevertheless, his ministry is rich with the experience and enjoyment of Christ.

    “The Practical Expression of the Church” is also one of my favorite books of his that I’ve read. It’s a very good book to read as a complement to Watchman Nee’s “The Normal Christian Church Life.”

    Much grace to you, and I look forward to keeping in touch.

    • I agree completely. Witness Lee was much maligned during the period of his ministry; mostly by well-meaning religious organizations and institutions who had difficulty letting go of tradition that they might take hold of Christ. His expositions are among the finest ever written. His complete bible ‘commentary’, “The Life Study of the Bible” is pure masterpiece.

  4. Greetings Joe! Thanks for the comment.

    I’ve yet to know any man or woman who was instrumental in advancing some aspect of the Lord’s purpose in the earth was not also very much opposed in their time here. Opposed even by many well-meaning evangelical brothers and sisters, at that. It seems to come with the territory.

    Where are you writing from? Have we ever met?

  5. Loved your list. David Wilkerson was quite fond of The School of Christ and said he had read it a few times before it really hit him and he returned to it often.

    Have you read What Shall This Man Do? by Nee? I found it a great follow up to the Normal Christian Life.

    • Chris,

      I have read that one, actually. Didn’t get near as much out of it as I did Normal Christian Life, but that’s not saying much; chances are I didn’t give it the thorough consideration I should have.

      What is your connection with David Wilkerson? I have the same copy of School of Christ which was put out through World Challenge; got the book at a Bible college which was founded through Wilkerson’s ministry.

  6. I have been reading his sermons for over 20 years and he sent me, and probably a lot of other people as well, a copy back in the mid 90s. Like some other books that have impacted me, it sat on my shelf for a few years collecting dust before I read it. Others in that category include books by Corrie Ten Boom, A.B. Simpson, and Oswald Chambers.

  7. Josh, I just discovered this great list! Some of the books you mention are also on my top list (which I don’t have it yet on my blog, but it’s “in my mind”).

    From Watchman Nee I also love both the Normal Christian life and the Normal Christian Church life – the latter is eye-opening concerning many things in the practical church life today.

    And from Witness Lee – did you read any of his extensive commentaries in “the life-study of the Bible”? I love the life-study on Romans, wow, I never appreciated the first part of Romans as when I read the life-study on it!

    I also love the Practice of God’s presence by Bro. Lawrence – though “mystical”, we are one with the Lord in our spirit, and we need to practice living in His presence.

    As a PS, I have to read, The Divine Romance – sounds really good! Is it fiction all, or does it have some documentary elements in it?

    • Divine Romance is biblical fiction–if that is even a term. Gene takes creative license to build a striking narrative of certain events in scripture from the creation of the world to Christ’s coming again to take His bride to Himself.

  8. Great list Josh. I’m currently reading a lot of Gene Edwards books including The Divine Romance and Climb the Highest mountain… Climb the Highest Mountain is blowing my socks off!!!!!

  9. Great books! Most of those are on my list too, bro!

  10. The books ‘He came to set the Captives Free’ – by Rebecca Brown M.D and ‘The Spiritual Man’ – by Watchman Nee; These books, and the Lord’s grace, ushered me into experiencing ‘Spiritual Realm’ and come to a knowledge that the Lord is now actually turning the World up-side down preparing the ‘Church’ for the Rapture. Halelujjah!

  11. Get Eckhard Schnabel’s EARLY CHRISTIAN MISSION – 2 fat volumes – an incredibly researched and rich resource of that will ensure you don’t miss or overlook important information or just accept suppositions that are mistaken. For example I didn’t understand that Paul began, and never ceased, his ministry immediately and didn’t hide in Arabia to get revelation and then wait until he was called in Antioch years later. I’ve had several misconceptions corrected.

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