I often get asked what books should someone read; this is a hard question because there are so many things that would affect one’s answer. But here is a series of questions that a brother has posed that somewhat helps. I hope this helps you in your pursuit of God and His truth. (PLEASE do not forward this to anyone or post this anywhere; it is also planned for future publication use in other settings.)
The book I am currently reading –
I Shall not Die but Live by Douglas Taylor
This is wonderfully pastoral, experiential, and devotional, and centers on seeing and knowing Christ in all things in life and when facing death.
The book that changed my life –
I have to mention two! The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer and Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by Martin Lloyd-Jones; Tozer’s book directed me toward a God-centered life of desiring to know God personally, and the Lloyd-Jones’ book demolished my dispensational interpretation of the Lord’s mount sermon and made me see that Jesus was revealing what a true Christian is and how they live.
The book I wish I had written –
Either Redemption Accomplish and Applied by John Murray (one of my top three favorites of all time) or The Gospel According to Jesus by John Macarthur, which shook the American evangelical world by exposing the falseness of non-Lordship salvation and has had lasting reformational effect on so many churches and Christians.
The book that helped me in my preaching –
Most recently, The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper; simple, brief and clear, the book calls the preacher back to the romance and simplicity of what preaching truly should be. Also, on preaching the Old Testament narratives, Dale Ralph Davis’ book, The Word Made Fresh, greatly helped me in how to approach preaching difficult sections of the Old Testament.
The book I think is most underrated –
Thoughts on Religious Experience by Archibald Alexander; simply profound and deeply helpful in understanding the nature of true Christian experience.
The book that made me say many Amens as I turned its pages –
For me, it has to be Revival and Revivalism by Iain Murray, simply because I was raised in a “revivalism” culture and was trained in that setting, and this book opened my eyes fully to understand that what I was already seeing was a faulty system, and what revival was historically and theologically.
The last book that made me weep –
This is a hard one because the 2 volume life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones made me weep at times, but the one I read more recently that produced this effect on me is The Scots Worthies, a massive account of the lives of Scottish Covenanters who suffered so greatly in Scotland during the 17th century. Fair Sunshine by Jock Purves is a smaller version with the same theme by that produced the same effect on me – real tears!
The book I’m most ashamed not to have read –
Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Expositions on Ephesians; I’ve been reading other things and haven’t gotten around to them! That’s a poor thing on my part. Un-mined gold is sitting in my study yet untouched!
The book I most often give to new church members and young Christians –
This is an easy one for me; The Christian Life: A Doctrinal Introduction by Sinclair Ferguson; I think it can be the most helpful book a new or untaught believer can read.
The book I give to people thinking of becoming Christians –
I would begin with John Blanchard’s small Ultimate Questions and then follow up with his book, Right with God. Nothing better evangelistically that these 2 gospel treasures.
The book I wish I were able to write, and want someone to write –
It would be titled this way: The Power of the Holy Spirit among the Scottish Covenanters in their Suffering. There was phenomenal reality that those preachers and believers experienced by the ministry of the Spirit in those years of persecution because God was so real to them; He was so real to them because they so needed Him as their present help and deliverer.
Happy reading to you!