Christians are book-people. God gave us His word and it has been preserved in written form. As such, Christians place a great emphasis on literacy and being able to read God’s word for ourselves. Of course, there are other ways that we can engage with God’s word apart from reading (e.g. audio, visual, conversational, etc). But there is no denying that Christians are essentially in one, massive, book club that keeps reading from the same 66 books.
There are many books that are written about Christianity (and some of them are quite good!). Here are five books that I would personally recommend a recent High School graduate read to grow in their love for Christ and their maturity as a disciple. Below, I list them and give a short description as to why I believe these books may be encouraging and edifying.
1. ‘Chosen by God’ by RC Sproul
It can seem as if the whole world is at the fingertips of the recent graduate. But RC Sproul’s book on predestination and God’s amazing grace gives a clear message: God is sovereign and we are not. ‘Chosen by God’ is a fantastic place to start reading as it shows how the universe revolves around the will and action of God instead of us. It is also clear and easy to read, avoiding complicated arguments and excessive stories that would add to the page count. If we see the God of the Bible who is revealed for whom He is, we will see clearly that there is no room for boasting and arrogance for the Christian who has been saved.
2. ‘Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus’ by J. Mack Stiles
Having understood that God is sovereign over the universe, and especially over salvation, this book is an excellent way to remember how to articulate the gospel of Jesus Christ and why we would wish to do so. Straight up, this is a book about evangelism. What makes the book excellent is that it is saturated with biblical truth and wisdom while being short and digestible. Additionally, it covers how personal and communal evangelism can be undertaken as a Christian with a church community.
3. ‘How God Became King’ by NT Wright
Have you ever wondered why God gave us 4 gospel accounts in the Christian Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)? NT Wright goes out of his way to show that each of the accounts has a unique perspective on the historical, risen Jesus and must be appreciated and listened to if we wish to be faithful readers of God’s word to us. This kind of book is humbling as it reveals how even those who may have grown up in church throughout their life may have overlooked the beauty, sweetness, and glory of who Jesus is and what He came to do. God’s word is full of riches that are there to be prayerfully mined by the revelation of His Spirit – if only we would recognise how much we do not yet know!
4. ‘Resident Aliens’ by Stanley Hauerwas and William H. Willimon
In a culture that prides itself on individualism and self-expression, Christianity can fall victim to the same pitfalls. This book is a unique and thoroughly theological reminder that we are saved into a community of God’s people who are called to be faithful witnesses of our Lord Jesus Christ. Loving God’s people and loving with God’s people are ways of loving God as we stand as aliens and strangers in a world that needs to know the Saviour.
5. ‘Guidance and the Voice of God’ by Phillip Jensen and Tony Payne
How can we know God’s will for our lives? How do we know if our priorities are aligned with God’s? This book is a helpful, practical, and unsettling reminder of how God works (or doesn’t) and invites us to make choices for Him. While deciding the trajectory for the rest of the days God gives us, it is important to do so with the right mindset and intention to glorify Christ. This title can be a useful tool for doing just that.
Honourable Mention: ‘Evangelical Theology’ by Michael Bird
It is beneficial to have a book on systematic theology that can be used as a reference tool or as a way to clearly summarise some core beliefs that we hold to be true. Unlike the other five books, this book by Michael Bird doesn’t need to be read from cover-to-cover. But it is worth mentioning since I believe it is the clearest (and shortest) faithful book on systematic theology I have come across.