Question: What Do You Suggest?

books.jpgI would like to ask for your opinion.

I was recently visiting with a friend who is an avid reader.  She would like to begin reading some books with a Christian orientation.  She is asking me for recommendations.  My first thought is to recommend C. S. Lewis (Mere Christianity, Screwtape Letters, etc.).  I would also like to recommend something more contemporary such as Tim Keller’s The Reason for God or N. T. Wright’s Simply Christian.  I would like to put together a list of ten books. 

What would YOU include in such a list?  (I’m not searching for the ten best or most important books.  Rather, I am just trying to help this person get started in her reading.)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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30 thoughts on “Question: What Do You Suggest?

  1. I’d include Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, if only for the chapter on confession. I’d also include The Prodigal God by Keller for short, thoughtful, challenging interpretation. Anything by Mark Buchanan would also be on my list. The Rest of God is a great view of Sabbath, and Things Unseen is about heaven. 

  2. Is your friend really interested in proofs for God’s existance?  If so, you are on track in your suggestions.  Most people I know, however, are wondering what God thinks of them and how they should think of God.  They are seeking books about relationships.  I would suggest Wayne Jacobson’s "He Loves Me" or "What’s So Amazing About Grace" by Philip Yancey (this is the first book I read when I started reading Christian books and I loved it).  I agree with suggesting "Blue Like Jazz" as well.

  3. Definately "Same Kind of Different as Me" by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. Not only a great Christian book but a great book period. Plus it’s a true story set in Fort Worth so that makes it interesting because it’s so close to home.

  4. Jim, I think I’d have to include John Stott’s classic little book "Basic Christianity" in the list, as well as the more recent, more readable Brendan Manning’s "Ragamuffin Gospel" and John Ortberg’s "Love Beyond Reason." IF you think she’s ready for it, Stott’s ultra-classic "The Cross of Christ" is a veritable treasure-trove of Christian spirituality and theology. Reading this book is not required to go to heaven, but it sure helps one along the path!

  5. This is a terrific list. I’d add (maybe at number 11 position) "Messy Spirituality" by the late Mike Yacconelli – again, because the book is an honest and encouraging exploration of what it means to have a relationship with God. 

  6. jnswanson– Wasn’t that a powerful chapter by Miller?  I remember it well.  Good suggestion.  I too like Mark Buchanan.  Thanks very much.

  7. FreeinChrist–The reason I will suggest Lewis, Keller, and Wright is that they give such good discussion as to the rich, majestic, power and love of God.  I also like and respect Yancy.  Such a good writer.

  8. rsharris– Ortberg, Stott, Manning.  Three writers who are very different from one another.  And–three very, very good writers.  Thank you.

  9. Yancey’s What’s So Amazing about Grace was also the 1st Christian book I read and it blew me away.  I also love F W Boreham’s books.  Anything by him.  I have collected about 5 of his books and they make bedtime reading.  Geoff Pound blogs about Boreham here:

  10. Wendy,I am not familiar with F.W. Boreham.  Sounds interesting.  I will definitely check out the post that you link here.  Thanks very much.

  11. Jim, many of the above books are very good. I found Yancey’s books of great value to me. However, when I was a police chaplain and people who knew little to nothing about anything "religious" would ask for a place to start, I recommended Lucado’s "No Wonder They Call Him the Savior." Very simple but it sure touched the hearts of some very street hardened cops way back then. 

  12. Wendy, now I really am curious.  I look forward to learning more about him.  (I will read your post too)  Thanks so much.

  13. Greg–I can understand why you would recommend that book to that person.  I remember reading that wonderful book.

  14. The Jesus I Never Knew by Phillip Yancey.   I agree with No Wonder They Call Him Savior (Lucado) and Simply Christian (NT Wright).   Also, Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen and Loving God by Chuck Colson. 

  15. I just finished Keller’s, "The Prodigal God."  It is excellent.Yancy & Lucado on grace are very good too.  I love "Simply Christian" and taught the DVD series last year.

  16. I was greatly impressed by Darryl Tippens, Pilgrim Heart as a primer for knowing and living in God.  I would recommend it to someone seeking to know more about the basics of faith.

  17. Darryl– Great suggestion.  Jesus Creed is such a good book. Bob– Like your titles.  Had not thought of the book by Nouwen. Clay– I read Prodigal God and enjoyed it very much.  Good suggestion!  I would like to see the DVD’s of Simply Christian.

  18. John– Tippens book is wonderful!  I really enjoyed it.  Hope you are doing well. Liam– Thanks very much.  These comments have been very helpful. Doug– Good suggestions.  I had not thought of Manning’s Ragmuffin Gospel.

  19. I would probably consider what types of books she reads otherwise and look for a stylistic parallel. Does she like edgy? Anne Lamott might do. Does she like logic? Lewis comes to mind. Does she like a good story but not a happy ending? Maybe the moods of Merton might suit. Sister Wendy Beckett is gentle, profound, and humorous. Ruth Haley Barton is just an ordinary person with a nice touch and an honest heart. You know, those kinds of considerations.

  20. For a new christian I would recommend Randy Southern’s ‘The Worlds Easiest Guide for New Believers’ and ‘The Worlds Easiest Guide to Understanding God’, both simple overviews answering questions like who is God, why did Jesus have to go to the cross, how does the holy spirit work, what is god’s plan for us, dealing with doubts and so on.. As your friend gets into deeper texts the authors assume the reader has this foundation so these are good building blocks.
    After that I’d say Jerry Bridges ‘The Pursuit of Holiness’ ( all his books actually ) and J.I Packer’s ‘Knowing God’. I also like D.L Moodys ‘ The Secret of Success in the Christian Life’ ( the Holy Spirit ). Moody is not the tightest writer but he’s filled with an honest passion for God that I find vigorous and uplifting. C.S Lewis can be heavy going for the beginner but I think ‘The Screwtape letters’ and ‘Mere Christianity’ are good choices as you said.
    Thanks to the other responders for recommending many books I haven’t read yet.