“Essential” Books for the Christian Life

In this post I will be listing a small number of books that have affected me deeply in some way or another. There will be two list: (1) books that all Christians should read (a personal opinion) and (2) books that should be read only if you are ready for soul piercing challenge. Thus, those books in (2) should typically not be read by those who are just beginning their walk, but by them whom are either secure in their walk with the Lord or else feel they need more, but are not sure where to go.  Lastly, I will briefly state what each books is about.

Books for all Christians

  1. The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee
  • This book explains Rom 5-8, showing how Christ has set us free from the guilt of sin, the power of sin, and why Rom 7 is often misunderstood thus, expounding Rom 8 “because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” Nee’s book renewed the beauty and love of Christ impressing on my soul that “while we were still sinners He died for us”
  1. The Secret to a Happy Christians Life by Hannah Smith
  • Smith unsurprisingly talks about why Christians should be happy and how this happiness is found in holiness. This book is very complimentary to Nee’s book. In fact, ch 1 will be much better understood after reading The Normal Christian life. Smith’s book help renew a child-like joy in the Lord.
  1. The Beloved by Henri Nouwen
  • This book was originally meant to explain God’s love to unbelievers so it attempts to be as plain as possible. Unbelievers who read it still felt at a lost according to Nouwen but believers who read it found a profound enlightenment of God’s character, and I being one of them.
  1. The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard
  • Willard masterfully writes why Christians have engages into the disciplines and why they still should. He shows how natural it was for Christ and His disciplines. This book should be read by every Christian who would like to get serious with the Lord.
  1. The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
  • This book will be the most challenging among the ones listed for all Christians. For he explains the current state of the world with precision and then, shows what the gospels teach of the Lord. This book will likely take a while to chew through due to its size but it is well worth it. Lastly, this book has sections that are very challenging for the soul to hear but they are necessary as well.
  1. Humility by Andrew Murray
  • By far the shortest book among this list. Murray explicate why humility is not just desirous by absolutely necessary. As a person who has found against innate pride, I have read this book over and over again even just weeks after reading it before and found it that his words were needed once again.
  1. (Almost) Anything by Charles Spurgeon
  • I am not sure currently which book of Spurgeon to put for he is a most eloquent writer and it will be no surprise to those who read him that he was called the prince of preachers. The only reason I put “almost” instead of just “anything” is that I have not read everything by Spurgeon but he writes with beautiful illustrations, illuminating the gospels the best he can.

The “More” Challenging Books

  1. Why Revival Tarries by Leonard Ravenhill
  • I was not sure if I should place this book with the first list or even as an intermediate book, but it should be read. I came across it because Ravi Zacharias said this book, more than any other, changed his life. And after reading it, it did the same for me as well. It should be noted that it can be a bit difficult because of words he uses such as “unction” but this should not deter anyone. I had no idea what many of his words meant when reading it the first time, but despite that I gain enough that I had new sense of prayer and living for God.
  1. Revival Lectures by Charles Finney
  • This book will likely be the most challenging for any person to read. Finney uses very strong language and is very convincing on many points even fallacious ones. Despite that, it is well worth chewing over for he will pierce your soul and if you allow a new level of walking with the Lord will occur. Just be very mindful and think about what he says very, very carefully before accepting some of the more extreme things. The reason that this is a needed warning is that originally these words were just meant for his particular class and he did not edit any of them to suit a broader audience which he makes note of in the beginning. Also, this is quite a large book and will take a long time to finish but is still worth every word. Lastly, if you read this book make sure your soul is ready to give anything to the Lord.
  1. The Imitations of Christ by Kempis
  • It is no surprise that this little book is a classic. This book uses old English so that can be challenge if you are not used to that. However, for the one who can traverse with the old timers this book will be a little piece of gold to nourish, challenge, and encourage your soul.

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