I do love a Top 10, but sometimes they can get a bit same-y. I’m also always on the hunt for more good Christian books though. So here’s a list of 10 gems I’ve read, that you may not have seen on other lists. There’s a mix Christian living, theology, missions, history and biography so hopefully there’s something for everyone. I’ve added a link to where you can buy each book, and read more about it. Most books are available from Koorong in Australia. All are also available from Book Depository for non-Aussies.
1. One Forever by Rory Shiner (Matthias Media)
This is a short and easy read but it packs a punch. Shiner unpacks what it means to be “in Christ”. It’s something we say a lot, but do we really understand it? And, understand it in a way that truly impacts our emotions, thoughts and behaviours? I read this book across two afternoons but it stayed with me for ages as I processed it. It helped me look afresh at my relationship with Christ in a really profound and helpful way.
Very readable, under $10 AUD from Matthias Media – you can find it here if you want to buy.
2. Made for More by Hannah Anderson (Moody Publishers)
Hannah Anderson in American. I know how that sounds, but if you live outside of the US, usually we have a horrid habit of rolling our eyes a bit. We expect books from America to be a bit more “ra-ra-ra” than we’re used to. Well let me dispel the myth. Anderson’s book on living in God’s image is beautifully written, thought provoking, specific and practical. As I read, I got some very clear ideas about how to apply the teaching in my day to day life.
Readable, but worth taking some time over. Also a good candidate for reading with a friend or small group. You can get either hard copy or ebook here at Koorong or for the same price at Book Depository.
3. Jesus and the Rise of Early Christianity By Paul Barnett (InterVarsity Press)
This is one for the history nerds (of which I am one), but is very readable for non-nerds! I get fascinated by the history of the earliest church and Paul Barnett is one of the best historians and writers in my view. He’s the kind of writer who writes history like it’s a story book. This book is completely enthralling and helped me to see so much more in the gospels and Acts by knowing the historical background and culture of the time.
Very readable but probably not for everyone. If you want to have a run at some history, this is a great place to start. If you’re already well versed in history, this is also a cracker. Barnett has that ability to reach a broad audience. You can get it at Koorong but sadly it’s a lot cheaper at Book Depository.
4. Tyndale by David Teems (Thomas Nelson Publishers)
OK this is history too, but it’s biography so it’s a big life story. Tyndale is one of the most influential people of all time – he translated the Bible into English. It was the 16th century in England and he was so devoted to God and to the Bible and to making it accessible to people, that he endured enormous hardship, persecution and exile (and eventual execution). He loved language and would not stop until he had faithfully translated the whole book. His efforts changed the world as it was known.
A stunningly written book. It changed my view of the pages of scripture itself and the hardship endured to allow people like me to read God’s word for myself.
This one is cheaper at Koorong where you can get the hard copy and ebook.
5. Good News About Injustice by Gary Haugen (InterVarsity Press)
This one was a life changer for me. Gary Haugen worked for the US Department of Justice and was involved in the investigation into the Rwandan genocide. From such a horrific experience, he founded the International Justice Mission (which also now has an arm in Australia). IJM focuses on freeing people from slavery and servitude at the same time as working with legislators and police departments to remove corruption. He is an incredible man and IJM is an incredible organisation. This book brought me face to face with the hideous evil of the world, at the same time as the beauty of the gospel and its power to change things through us.
Very readable – a must-read for everyone. Only about $18 AUD from Koorong.
6. Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas (Authentic Media)
Another biography but boy is it worth it! William Wilberforce converted to Christianity in his twenties. It was the 18th century and the industrial revolution was beginning. The slave trade was going full tilt. Wilberforce’s story is a wonderful story of conversion and a faith in God that led him to doggedly pursue the abolition of the slave trade in England, and the emancipation of all slaves in the British colonies. It was a life long battle and what he achieved was nothing short of stunning.
Highly readable. Metaxas is a journalist and knows how to bring a story to his audience. Available at Koorong.
7. True Feelings by Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre (Crossways Books)
An unexpected gem. I think I bought this on a whim and it sat on my shelf for ages. When I read it I was super sorry I hadn’t read it before. I hadn’t really read anything on this subject before and, being grandly emotional myself, I found it fascinating and really useful. I looked again at the splendid array of my emotions, and why God gave them to me, and how I can channel them most usefully.
Highly readable, I read this in a few sittings. Also a good candidate to read with a friend of or small group. Available at Koorong in hard copy and ebook.
8. Holiness by J. C. Ryle (Moody Press)
This was another life changing book. I read the abridged version but this was meaty enough. I was interested in how to live a holy life, and what that truly looked like. The first chunk of the book was about sin and at first I was a little annoyed at having to wade through stuff I “already knew”. But I didn’t know. And as I read on, I was convicted so heavily of my sin that as I got the holiness part, I was completely ready to take it on board. Holy living without the conviction of guilt is just fakery. I just loved this book on so many levels. It’s quite old so the language is a bit old fashioned, but it’s still very readable – the language is not so different that it made it difficult to read. It’s available at Koorong in the classics section.
9. The Fruitful Life by Jerry Bridges (NavPress Publishing)
This is a classic. Bridges also wrote Respectable Sins which is also brilliant. This takes the reader through the fruits of the spirit and how they may be cultivated in our hearts. I love Bridges easy style and non-judgemental approach when talking about less than godly behaviours. This is a good one to work through by yourself or in a small group. It’s one I go back to every few years as a helpful corrective and encouragement.
Super readable and available at Koorong as hard copy and ebook.
10. My Seventh Monsoon by Naomi Reed (Authentic Media)
This is a simple autobiographical account of a woman and her husband and their journey to Nepal as missionaries. The story is compelling as you see a God working clearly and tangibly in every step of their journey. I was impressed by Naomi’s fortitude and courage (as I am with any mission worker). What kept me transfixed though was the clear knowledge that God had gone before them.
Beautiful, enthralling, thrilling. Available at Koorong in hard copy and as an ebook. This is the first of three books detailing their mission work.