At the end of last year I gave this list of books to some of the Year 12s who had finished exams. Some books on this list are easier than others, but all of them I reckon are worth the time and effort it would take to read them. The list is roughly in my order of importance, but some books would move around depending on what day it is or what I’ve had to eat. Whether you aim to read all 10 or whether you just read one or two, they’re all valuable reading. So here’s the list. Soon I’ll post my next 10 books I think you should read in your first year out.
1) The Everlasting God – Broughton Knox
Big concepts written with straightforward talk. You’ll learn heaps about God and how all of Christian thought works together as a whole. Just brilliant stuff.
2) How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth – Gordon Fee et al.
Awesome at giving you confidence to actually read the Bible for yourself and understand it. Really clear and really helpful and instantly practical.
3) The Reason for God – Tim Keller
Another book that will give you confidence, this time confidence that Christianity is reasonable and not silly or incoherent. Will also give you confidence to talk with your friends and family who may be intellectually antagonistic to Christianity.
4) In My Place Condemned He Stood – J. I. Packer et al.
A collection of shorter writings by Packer and another guy, Mark Dever, on the cross. Dever’s bits are okay, but you’re reading this for Packer’s stuff. Probably more demanding than the other books so far on this list, but the effort will pay dividends. And who doesn’t want to understand the cross a bit more than they already do?
5) Guidance and the Voice of God – Phillip Jensen et al.
An issue that is so important and very real, and yet also very confusing and there’s lots of different opinions. These guys go back to the Bible and see what God actually has to say about how he promises to guide us. Short, easy to read and instantly helpful.
6) The Screwtape Letters – C. S. Lewis
This book is a work of genius. The book is written from the perspective of a demon who is learning how to lead people away from faith in Christ. So insightful, and will often feel like he’s writing about your actual life. Will change the way you think.
7) How Long, O Lord? – D. A. Carson
Short but careful work from Carson as he deals with suffering and what the Bible has to say about it and why it happens and how God has called us to respond.
8) Joined-Up Life – Andrew Cameron
Life is messy and fragmented, but this book shows how Jesus is the key to joining up all the pieces. Crazy-short chapters combined with some of the most insightful observations about how the Bible views the world and right and wrong make this a 5-star book for sure.
9) Don’t Waste Your Life – John Piper
A great book to read as you begin to set the course and the agenda for your life. The book is what the title says, the greatest tragedy isn’t a short life but a wasted life. Piper will help and challenge you not to waste it.
10) Knowing God – J. I. Packer
An absolute classic for a reason. An awesome book that will expand your mind about who God is, will deepen your relationship with him, will increase your admiration for him and will ignite your excitement to be obedient to him.