I am often asked to list my favorite books. So this week I’m going to give you my top 20 and reviews of my top 5. Drum roll, please. Here are my (ever changing) top 20 favorites …
1. Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Newer translation that is excellent in many ways.
2. The Precious Things of God, by Octavius Winslow. No book more relishes in the preciousness of the eternal things. I’ll give a fuller recommendation later in the week.
3. The Everlasting Righteousness, by Horatius Bonar. Many great books have been written on justification (how sinners are made right with God). But this one, written over a century ago, is my favorite, the most passionate and the most quotable.
4. The Knowledge of the Holy, by A.W. Tozer. “Low views of God destroy the gospel for all who hold them.” Fabulous book for those who want a grand view of God. A tiny book with a heavy message.
5. The Glory of Christ (Vol. 1 of Works), by John Owen. Few things are better than to look at the depth of Christ’s beauty. Though Owen is not easy to read he is very valuable.
6. George Whitefield, 2 vols., by Arnold Dallimore. This is my favorite biography ever. Very readable. This set of books will inflame a desire to be extinguished for Christ.
7. The New Park Street Pulpit (1855-1860), 6 vols., by C.H. Spurgeon. The early sermons of the greatest preacher in church history. All of his books and sermons are recommended but these volumes are especially precious. There is a youthful zeal to the early sermons.
8. The Works of John Bunyan, 3 vols., by John Bunyan. Bunyan was an uneducated man who was imprisoned for his non-conformist preaching of the gospel. Few have plumbed the depths of the human heart deeper than him. He remains one of the greatest preachers and maybe the most famous writer (The Pilgrims Progress) in church history. These three volumes contain all of his works and require diligence and patience. To the patient these volumes contain a lifetime of treasures!
9. The Letters of Samuel Rutherford, by Samuel Rutherford. Rutherford, in my opinion, is one of the most overlooked Puritan authors. He wrote so many beautiful books and preached so many Christ-exalting sermons yet few are in print. This collection of beautiful letters was written with great spiritual insight. The Banner of Truth just released an unabridged version unavailable for many years. It will be of great use for pastors wondering how to address the Cross to specific pastoral situations.
10. Spurgeon by Arnold Dallimore. My favorite biographer (Dallimore) + my Christian “hero” (Spurgeon) = a classic! Spurgeon focused on preaching, caring for widows and orphans, training pastors for the future, etc. A man who extinguished himself for the gospel!
11. Communion with God (Vol. 2 of Works), by John Owen. Deep scholarship with a burning affection for Christ. How do we relate and respond to God personally? This is the question that he answers thoroughly.
12. The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2 vols., by Jonathan Edwards. The greatest American theologian. These two works contain many of his best sermons and books. A lifetime of eternal gems are here contained for the patient reader. Though I also recommend preachers purchase a few of the Yale edition volumes (Donald Whitney especially suggests vol. 14).
13. Jonathan Edwards: A Life by George M. Marsden. A fabulous biography whose author shows tremendous spiritual sensitivity while looking at the life of America’s great theologian/preacher.
14. God’s Passion for His Glory by John Piper and Jonathan Edwards. Not one of Edward’s easiest books to work through but a very powerful one. God does everything for Himself. Gets to the heart of the most important reality we can ever comprehend – that God loves nothing more than Himself. (A special thanks to my friend Rick Gamache for his editing of the book).
15. The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul. A classic book that allows the heaviness of God to come down upon the reader.
16. Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges. A transforming book.
17. The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made by Mark Dever. A new book of Dever’s sermon manuscripts covering a broad and sweeping overview of the Old Testament. This book has drawn the Old Testament together for me in great ways. I now see the cohesive big picture like never before!
18. The Confessions by Augustine (Maria Boulding translation). Great classic and from what I am told this is the first true autobiography in history. In this book a sinner’s soul is honestly opened for all to see.
19. Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem. I like Reymond, Erickson and others, but this is my favorite systematic. I also really like what Jeff Purswell did in editing it into the book Bible Doctrine.
20. Lectures to My Students by C.H. Spurgeon. No pastor should be allowed to lead a church who has not read it at least 10 times.
Now you tell me. What are your top 5 favorite books ???