An avid book lover, I’m often asked for – and interested in – good book recommendations. I decided to make a list, once and for all of the top 5 Christian books that have changed my life (other than the Bible). I’ve read a lot of good books, so this was hard. Being a book lover, there were a few ties.
Some of these are contemporary and some oldies but goodies:
1. C.S. Lewis: Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters. OK, this was a tie, because I love C.S. Lewis and each book had equal impact. Mere Christianity showed me the beauty of apologetics and explaining the basics of the faith in a straightforward, philosophical way, while The Screwtape Letters is an exercise in creative thinking – specifically, looking at the great battle of daily life from the perspective of the enemy.
2. Donald Miller: Searching for God Knows What and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. One of my favorite authors, this was also a tie. Mille is most famous for Blue Like Jazz and his modern Storyline. His writing is personal, honest and thought-provoking – three important qualities for any modern author. Always stimulating but never scholarly or preachy, finishing one of Miller’s books makes you feel like you just finished a conversation with a friend.
3. The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman. This book is a must read for any human being who wants to communicate with other human beings. It teaches you how to identify the love languages of the people you care about (married, single, friends or relatives) and how to successfully communicate with them on their level.
4. The Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey. Not sure if this qualifies as a Christian book, but Ramsey is an outspoken Christian and the founder of Financial Peace University, so we’ll count it. Every person in America should read this book, period.
5. The Maker’s Diet, by Jordan Rubin. In a slew of modern diet books, this was one of the originals – published in 2004, Rubin’s book is more medical than weight-loss focused. A Messanic Jew, Rubin was diagnosed with a severe case of Crohn’s colitis that almost cost him his life. He tried every health, wellness and medical treatment known to man until discovering The Maker’s Diet, based on Biblically-based Jewish kosher laws (organic foods, limited meat, no pork, select dairy and grains, but above all – no processed foods, preservatives, chemicals or pollutants, right down to the water we shower in and the products we put on our skin). If you are going to read one book for healthy living this year, read this one.
6. The End of the Spear, by Steve Saint. The most fascinating missions-related book I have ever read, this book literally made me laugh and cry. Joining the violent Ecuadorian tribe that killed his father deep in the Amazon jungle, Saint’s mission to bring them the gospel is one of the most poignant tales of forgiveness and modern missions I have ever read.
7. The Heavenly Man, by Brother Yun. Every now and then you read a book that blows your paradigm of what it means to be a believer and how God works in modern times out of the water. This story of the faithfulness and discipline of one of persecuted China’s most dedicated house church leaders shook me to the core the first time I read it. Mind = blown.
8. Radical, by David Platt. This book is well, radical. And yet Biblical at the same time. While many view Platt’s premises on evangelism and missions extreme (it is), the book is an electric jolt for comfortable American faith. I can’t say I “enjoyed it,” but it did make an impression.
9. For Men Only and For Women Only, by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn. Want to know the root of understanding the opposite sex? These two short books will get you started. In sea of relationship books, these stand out as a quick, blunt and piercing must read, guaranteed to change the way you view the opposite gender.
Good books are like old friends, and I’ve read all of these multiple times.
What are some of your favorites?
“When I get a little money, I buy books. If any is left, I buy food and clothes.”
“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.”
— Joyce Carol Oates