I’m sometimes asked if I can recommend some good books to those who are interested in the Christian faith or want to learn more. So, I thought I’d share what I’ve recommended to people in the past. The list below is organized in various sections, and at the end I’ve included some of my own books just because I wrote those books to fill gaps I perceived in the literature. (Note and full disclosure, the links below are Amazon affiliate links)
Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis – This is a great overview and introduction. I first read this book in college when I was struggling with what I believed and it helped immensely.
Heretics and Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton – These are a little denser than “Mere Christianity,” but I find Chesterton immensely thought-provoking.
Commentary on Galatians by Martin Luther – Luther’s commentary is an excellent elucidation of the Gospel.
The Spirituality of the Cross by Gene Edward Veith – A great introduction to confessional Lutheran theology and its “distinctives.”
Called to Believe, Teach, and Confess: An Introduction to Doctrinal Theology by Steven P. Mueller – This is a little more involved than the previous books, but easily understandable and accessible.
History and Archaeology
History of the Church by Eusebius – Also called “The Church History.” This book dates from the fourth century. In it, Eusebius (bishop of Caesarea Maritima) records the history of the Christian Church up to his time. If you’d like to get a better idea of what the Church believed and when, this is a good book to read.
New Testament History by F. F. Bruce – This is a great overview of the history and context of the early New Testament Church.
Archaeology and the New Testament by John McCray – Good overview of the major archaeological finds related to the New Testament.
Archaeology and the Old Testament by Alfred J. Hoerth – Good overview of the major archaeological finds related to the Old Testament.
Holman Bible Atlas – A classic atlas containing maps and historical timelines.
Confessions by St. Augustine – This is a wonderful book by St. Augustine. The format is that of an extended confession to God by Augustine of his entire life and how he came to the Christian faith. In it, I think we can all recognize our own struggles with faith.
Ethics by Dietrich Bonhoeffer – A great book about how to view the subject of ethics from a Christian perspective; Bonhoeffer will challenge your thinking.
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Bonhoeffer provides his experiences and advice about how to live together in Christian community.
The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Surprise! Another Bonhoeffer book! This is a classic.
Early Church Writings
Early Church Fathers Collection at CCEL – This is a free on-line collection of writings from the early New Testament Church.
Documents of the Christian Church – Includes a collection of documents related to the early Church.
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas – Great biography!
The Christian Faith: An Introduction – I wrote this as a way to provide a “big picture” overview of the Christian faith. I wanted something relatively small which would give someone the essentials of what Christianity is all about.
The Christian Story: As Seen Through the Old Testament – I wrote this as a way to show Christ in the Old Testament and point out that all the Scriptures are centered around Christ.
On This Rock: Discover What People Said and Believed about Jesus in the Early New Testament Era – I wrote this book in response to those who think that Christianity didn’t really take form until the fourth century Council of Nicaea. In this book, I examine the early sources concerning Christ as well as provide some historical and geographical context.