Christianity is based on the Bible, by far the most widely read
book of all time. It was the first book ever made on the printing
press, and over 6 billion copies have since been printed. It has been
translated into more languages than any other book in history. It can
be read here.
Recommended readings on the truth of Christianity
Recommended reading and audio for professing Christians on faith
and its practice
- Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig. A
classic book of evidences for the veracity of the Christian faith.
- Jesus' Resurrection: Fact or Figment? by William
Lane Craig and Gerd Ludemann. A debate between a prominent
Christian scholar and a prominent atheist on the historicity of the
resurrection versus a hallucination theory. I personally find
Craig's arguments compelling. For a taste of how Craig makes his
Easter Enigma: Are the Resurrection Accounts in Conflict? by John
Wenham. Critics often attack the bible by saying that the gospels
contradict each other. Nowhere is this attack more felt than in the
resurrection accounts, in which the four gospel writers give four
broadly similar accounts, but with some striking differences. This
masterful and short book (roughly 150 pages), by John Wenham, who
taught Greek at Oxford University, is a gripping and insightful
journey into how to read the gospels. It contains many rich insights
into how to understand the genre of the New Testament. Wenham lived
in Jerusalem for some time, and begins the book with a layout of
Jerusalem so that you can visualize locations and paths (identifying
the path that Mary Magadelene took from the tomb, for example). He
carries the reader with suspense as he unfolds each of the characters
and how they relate to the resurrection story. You will never read
the story of the resurrection the same way again. You will also
appreciate how, in fact, cursory reading finds contradictions while
careful reading finds unity.
- Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old
Testament God by Paul Copan. The New Atheists (Dawkins,
Hitchens, Harris, Dennett) and many others claim that the God of
the Old Testament is genocidal, misogynistic, narcissistic, and
capricious. Copan brilliantly responds to these allegations.
the Secular City by J.P. Moreland. An excellent, modern, and wide
exploration of the question of "How do I know there is a God?" and
"What is the evidence for Christianity?" Good reading for those who
appreciate a scholarly, intellectual defense of Christianity.
Christian Belief by Alvin Plantinga. Let's face it -- Plantinga
(professor emeritus of philosophy at Notre Dame) has developed a
corpus that smashes atheism to bits. His writing is dense and
difficult, but richly rewarding.
- Christian Think
Tank - a great website with basics of the faith and evidences for
its veracity. There is enough here, with enough depth, to study
profitably for several months. Much of the website is Q&A between
very thoughtful writers.
Excellent books on church life and prayer life:
Baptism: Since baptism is the beginning of our Christian life,
we should diligently strive to understand it correctly. There are two
errors circulating in our day that have led to significant error and
confusion. (If you don't know what they are, read the first book
Kneeling Christian. One of the most influential books on
prayer ever written, the author (an "unknown Christian") simply
goes to the Scripture and points out how important prayer is to the
life of a believer. The first chapter alone is worth the price of
the book. In it, the author states that a person's greatest regret,
once in heaven, will be to look back and wonder why he or she
didn't pray more. When a person realizes how much can be gained by
praying, it should astound us that we don't spend more time on our
knees. Each chapter is filled with helpful and motivating insights.
This is one book worth reading -- and re-reading -- every year.
- The Doctrine of
Repentance by Thomas Watson. A good case could be made out for
believing that repentance is one of the least used words in the
Christian church today. In a world that will not tolerate the
mention of sin, and in churches where it has been defined only in
sociological terms, the biblical teaching on repentance has
inevitably been ignored. Knowing what repentance is, and actually
repenting are essential to true Christianity. Jesus Christ himself
said that if we do not repent, we will perish! It is vital,
therefore, to read and study what Scripture has to say about this
theme. Few better guides have existed in this or any other area of
spiritual experience than Thomas Watson. He was a master of both
Scripture and the human heart, and wrote with a simplicity and
directness that keeps his work fresh and powerful for the
- True Christianity by
Charles Finney. Perhaps only once or twice in a lifetime, a person
might read a book that changes the very direction of their life.
autobiography of Charles Finney, it struck me that his Christian
experience was unlike anything that I had ever heard of -- a journey
to a new world full of power and transformation. A subsequent and
deep intrigue about how he understood the gospel led me to compile and
edit this book of lectures written by Charles Finney: an attempt to
gather his best material about what he understood the core of
Christianity to be. (Many of the chapters are taken from his
Lectures on Revivals of Religion). The content of this book
challenged me to live the true Christian life in new and deeper ways.
The book can also be read in pdf form by clicking here.
- King Jesus Claims His
Church by Finny Kuruvilla. I wrote this book to touch on the
core issues of the Christian life, particularly in connection to
the church. Many people today say, "I'm spiritual, but not
religious." Such language reveals a hunger for God but a distaste
for the church. Even in the church, Christians are asking, "Is this
what church is supposed to be?" Many Christians sense deep down
that there is supposed to be something more, but are unsure of what
that something is. King Jesus Claims His Church presents a
stirring, bold vision for the church that is both biblical and
Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee. A friend recommended this
book to me as the most influential book outside the Bible that
affected him. Nee was a Chinese believer who could read the Bible in
ways that will astonish and bless you. Dripping with powerful
insights, this book should especially be read by those who want to
understand faith and belief better. This content represents core
material that all believers should know. The Normal Christian
Life has revolutionized many lives with his understanding of grace
and what it is to be "in Christ." Nee is a controversial figure for
other reasons, but the content of this book is practically unanimously
judged to be his best and most helpful.
Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life by William Law. This
book is one of the classics of the millenium on Christian living.
While not easy reading, it can set your heart aflame in age of
laxity and disobedience. Drink deeply and slowly from this rich
Sexual purity and addictions:
Inspirational Christian biographies:
- Baptism: A Biblical
Study by Jack Cottrell. Baptism has too often been something that
divides Christians even though it is supposed to do the opposite
(Eph. 4:5). This book is a biblically grounded tour of the subject of
baptism, simply by taking the reader through the relevant texts from
the New Testament. A must read.
Baptized Life by Tom Jones. An uplifting book that contends that
reflecting on our baptism should dramatically impact our spiritual
life today -- precisely the argument that Paul makes in Romans 6:1-14.
Are you living the baptized life?
- What the early
Christians believed about baptism by David Bercot (free online).
Our convictions should come from the Scriptures but validation by the
early church (pre-325 AD) is a helpful check. The early church in
fact had a view of baptism that comports with the view in the above
vindication of trine immersion as the apostolic form of
Christian baptism by James Quinter. When one carefully
studies the structure of Matthew 28:19-20, it becomes evident
that triple immersion was envisioned. Naturally, this was the
exclusive interpretation of the early church. Single immersion
was first introduced in the fourth and fifth century by the
Eunomians and Sabellians, those who denied the Trinity.
On divorce and remarriage:
the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson by Courtney
Anderson. A beautifully written and inspiring account of the first
missionary to ever leave America.
- Praying Hyde: Apostle of Prayer edited by E.G. Carre. So few of us today pray as we ought, even though prayer is one of the most important things that we can do. This book is a compilation of several writers on their recollections of a man named John Hyde, one of the greatest prayer warriors of our time. It is inspiring and instructive reading in order to show us what a prayer life should be like.
Autobiography of Charles Finney. When I first read this in
college, I felt like I was voyaging to a new planet. It's inspiring
to read what a person committed to the Lord can do.
On nonresistance (biblical nonviolence):
Pastor by Roger Hertzler (free online pdf). Concise, clear, and
biblical, this is easily the best book on the subject of divorce and
The Mystery of Christ and the Church by David Engelsma. The New
Testament repeatedly describes marriage as being a lifelong bond that
only God can break through the death of one of the spouses. Such an
understanding prohibits remarriage while the former spouse lives. So
few preachers today defend this teaching. Three books from different
perspectives nicely defend this high view of marriage. We in the
church should not be deceived by the many false views propagated
On the Bible and the canon:
- Finny Kuruvilla, King Jesus Claims His Church. This book
addresses nonresistance from within the Bible's larger teaching on the
on amazon.com or
from Scroll Publishing.
What would you do? by John Howard Yoder. This book tackles the
question of pacifism versus "just war." How literally do we take the
Sermon on the Mount with its commands, "Turn the other cheek" and "Do
not resist an evildoer"? The cover of this book actually reads: "If a
violent person threatend to harm a loved one... What would you do?"
Most of us have been taught a non-pacifist ideology, and so the first
question I (and pretty much everyone else) asks a nonresistant person
is, "If someone were going to harm your child, would you let them?"
Well, this book is exactly a response to that question. Written by
John Yoder, a smart Mennonite thinker, this short book (141 pages),
will challenge any non-pacfist to think deeply about what Jesus meant
on the Sermon on the Mount, and how it applies to our own lives, the
concept of war, etc. Highly provocative. There are essays in this
book from many other thinkers such as Leo Tolstoy.
- George Kalantzis, Caesar and the Lamb: Early Christian
Attitudes on War and Military Service. A professor at Wheaton
College surveys the early Christian writings and concludes that the
ante-Nicene (pre-325 AD) church was uniformly opposed to war.
- David Bercot, What the Early Christians Believed about War
(audio CD), available
from Scroll Publishing.
- Leonard Verduin, Anatomy of a Hybrid: A study in church-state
relationships (Eerdmans, 1976). A brilliant book on the
relationship of the state and the church. Available on amazon.com or from Scroll Publishing.
- Pacifism and
biblical nonresistance by J.C. Wenger (free online essay). Wenger
makes a strong case for biblical nonresistance, exploring the New
Testament and views of the early church. The early church was
consistently against any form of killing or war; it was not until
the fourth century, after Constantine, that the church's views began
to change. For other essays from authors in the "peace churches" (Anabaptist, Mennonite, Brethren, etc.) on this subject, click here
Revisited by Michael Kruger. The best book out there on why
Christians should have confidence in the biblical canon. While the
focus is on the New Testament, the book has relevance to the entire
and the Bible by John Wenham (third edition). A Christ-centered
approach to understanding the authority of the Old Testament Canon.
Also covers the New Testament canon and the apocrypha.
Old Testament Canon of the New Testament Church by Roger Beckwith.
This is the most monumental work on the Old Testament canon ever
written. A deep and scholarly investigation into the Old Testament
canon used by Jesus, the apostles, and the early church. Also covers
questions including the order of the books in the canon and the
Matthew, Mark, and Luke by John Wenham. Don't believe the
silliness about Q and the late dating of the gospel accounts. This
former professor at Oxford convincingly argues for an early date for
the gospel accounts (he believes Matthew could have been written in
the 30s) and the traditional order of composition (Matthew, Mark,
Luke) as opposed to Markan priority.
On the Arminian versus Calvinist debate:
- A Case for Amillennialism by Kim Riddlebarger.
Understanding eschatology, the study of the last days, is a
challenging task. However, because it is difficult does not mean that
we should shy away from the task. After all, books like Revelation
promise a blessing to those who hold fast to the words of the book
(Rev 22:7). Most popular bible teachers teach an eschatology called
dispensational premillenialism, which is a view that was founded in
the 19th century. In this book, Riddlebarger makes a compelling case
for amillenialism, which was the dominant eschatology of most of
church history, including the Reformation. I've read several good
books on eschatology, and this one is by far the best. The author
covers all the relevant issues in a balanced and insightful fashion.
To get a taste of the contents of the book, click here.
Caelorum: Patterns of Millennial Thought in Early Christianity by
Charles Hill. Persuasively demonstrates that the earliest view of the
church was amillenial and opposed to an intermediate state (Hades) for
Christians, favoring instead the belief the upon death, believers
proceeded directly to the presence of God.
On missions, apologetics, and evangelism:
- Grace, Faith, Free Will: Contrasting Views of Salvation by Robert Picirilli.
The author of the book does an outstanding job about presenting both sides of the Calvinist/Arminian debate in a fair and balanced manner. For those who think about these issues, he raises a number of very challenging points in his own defense of Arminianism that, no matter what your beliefs, are worth thinking deeply about.
- Against Calvinism by Roger Olson. A concise and well written book against Calvinism.
- Preaching so as to Convert Nobody by Charles Finney.
An incisive, penetrating analysis of how not to preach. This is a
must-read for those who attend church -- for those who preach in order
to improve their messages, and for those who listen so as to recognize
gospel preaching from worldly preaching.
Genesis debate Three pairs of scholars debate the interpretation
of the word "day" in Genesis chapter 1. A well-referenced and
- Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ
by Harold W. Hoehner. If you are a biblical student with an affinity
for history, this is a very valuable resource. Hoehner works through
in detail how to form a chronology of Jesus' life. He argues very
convincingly that Jesus was crucified on Friday, April 3, 33 AD. His
well referenced book will help you to understand how to use
extrabiblical data (such as Roman history and the Jewish historians
Philo and Josephus) in piecing together a chronology. Very technical
and detailed (not an easy read), this book is a valuable reference for
any serious student of New Testament chronology.
at the Religious Roundtable by Timothy Tennent. A fascinating
book of fictional dialogues between a Christian, Buddhist, Muslim,
and Hindu where one may understand the answers to questions
commonly posed by other faiths.
Islam by Norman Geisler and Abdul Saleeb. A prominent Christian
thinker and a former Muslim wrote this well-rearched and thoughtful
book describing the Christian response to Islam. For an unrelated
website with a lot of content about the Christian response to Islam,
of Conscience by Raymond Franz. A former member of the
Governing Body of the Jehovah's Witnesses describes the organization
from the inside and many of the reasons for its problems today. It
is an honest and level-headed examination of the group.
Fraud by Kay Burningham. The title is unfortunately offensive, but a lawyer and former Mormon gives her case against Mormonism.
Story of Christianity (2 volumes) by Justo Gonzalez. A clear,
nonsectarian overview of the history of the church.
- Kregel Pictorial Guide to Church History by John Hannah. This book covers all of church history in less than 25 pages. At first I was skeptical as to what it could cover, but it's actually quite good. It also comes with a nice chart.
Online bibles in the original languages:
- Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ronald Sider (5th edition).
This book challenges the church to be faithful to God's call to live
simply and help those in need. Sider's thinking has sharpened over
the decades, which is reflected in this latest edition of the book
(published in 2005) and its footnotes. Though the book has a single
author, many people over the years have contributed to its contents,
including several economists. You will learn a tremendous amount
about the state of the world today (alone worth the price of the
book). I disagreed with Sider in his negative remarks on population
growth (he is consistently quite against high fertility) and on his
high view of political activism (I personally don't think that is the
way to real change). Despite that, there is a much in the book worth
- Vegetarianism as
Stewardship (free online reading) While eating meat is clearly
described as an issue of liberty (Romans 14), the Bible forbids
cruelty to animals (Proverbs 12:10, Deuteronomy 25:4). Unfortunately
the vast majority of meat produced in the United States comes from
intensely cruel practices. Christians should not patronize this.
Also, 80% of the grain raised in the United States goes to feed
animals, a factor that is driving global grain prices higher which
greatly hurts the poor. The command to love our neighbor, especially
our poor neighbors, therefore involves eating a simple plant-based
diet. This very brief essay on the merits of vegetarianism from a
Christian perspective -- addressing issues of health, environment, and
God's ideal. Click here or here for a fuller
Hebrew-English bible This is a free, online bible (Old
Testament only) with one column in Hebrew, and the second in English. The English is the
1917 Jewish Publication Society translation. The Hebrew fonts are
fairly decent, certainly much better than any other site I have seen.
- Greek New
Testament Actually read the New Testament online in the original
languge! Very clear fonts make this site very valuable. In addition, you
can click on any word and get its parsing.
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