Christians Should Read Good Books

One might say that reading never came naturally to me as a kid. Perhaps that’s how you’d describe yourself. However, I came to realize that, whether I like it or not, there is something distinctly Christian about reading. Words matter to God. He spoke the world into existence. He wrote His gracious law on tablets of stone with His own finger. Jesus is called the Word made flesh and wrote it all down in Scripture for us to read. 

We should read. We should grow in our reading. As Christians we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. Many of these believers wrote books. Why would we pass by such a great resource? Of course, this reading never replaces reading God’s Word, but it doesn’t need to be in competition either. So, after you have read your Bible for the day, here are some suggestions, if you are looking for a place to start, in 2023. I will give you the title of the book, a brief summary and what I see as a key quote in hopes that it will wet your appetite. 

Top Books (that I’d recommend to you)


Presently Relevant 

The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self (Carl Trueman)

Trueman argues that our modern sexual revolution is a symptom of a greater cause:a change in how we view self. This has resulted in an obsession with identity–a revolution that’s centuries in the making. Rise and Triumph illuminates our present situation by charting its historical roots and philosophical ideas. The book is academic and technical but worth the effort. If you are interested but scared of the work, pick up his popular level version, Strange New World.  

“The intuitive moral structure of our modern social imaginary prioritizes victimhood, sees selfhood in psychological terms, regards traditional sexual codes as oppressive and life denying, and places a premium on the individual’s right to define his or her own existence. All these things play into legitimizing and strengthening those groups that can define themselves in such terms. They capture, one might say, the spirit of the age.”

It’s Good To Be A Man (Foster and Tennant)

Foster and Tennant assert, from Scripture, that patriarchy, or “father rule”, is built into the order of creation. The question isn’t if patriarchy will exist but what kind: good patriarchy or bad patriarchy. While the world rightly identifies that “toxic masculinity” exists, it fails to rightly identify it and offers solutions that create a masculine vacuum which is back filled with bad patriarchy. The solution is to call men, through the gospel, to rightly take up their creation mandate, or perhaps take it back from Satan, bad men, and feminism. They begin to answer, “how”?

“Young men are always the target of an evil patriarchy. Because God has made them to rule, they are a threat to existing rule. Therefore, evil Patriarchs always try to do one of three things: Harness them…Pacify them…Destroy them…”


Timelessly Helpful

Thoughts For Young Men (J.C. Ryle)

In this short booklet, Ryle outlines why he must exhort young men, the unique dangers they face, as well as both general counsel and special guidelines for conduct. Filled with “tweet-able” 100 year old maxims, this is a valuable tool for every man, mom of a young man, or lady considering what man to marry. For the teenage boy… it's a must read.

“Satan does not care how spiritual your intentions are, or how holy your resolutions, if only they are determined to be done tomorrow.”

The Bruised Reed (Richard Sibbes)

Written in 1630, Sibbes builds on the imagery of Isaiah 42:3 to describe how Jesus, the Suffering Servant described in that chapter, deals with “bruised reeds” (v. 3). He describes a bruised reed as a person who is in some misery and, seeing sin as the cause of it, comes to Jesus for help. He describes the love and gentleness of Christ to us when we are bruised reeds and instructs us in our interactions with bruised reeds as Christ's body today. It will comfort your soul and give you a greater vision for our Lord’s great mercy.

“What a support to our faith is this, that God the Father, the party offended by our sins, is so well pleased with the work of redemption! And what a comfort is this, that, seeing God's love rests on Christ, as well pleased in him, we may gather that he is as well pleased with us, if we be in Christ!”


The Runner Up 

Against All Opposition (Greg Bahnsen)

Bahnsen makes apologetics accessible for the average Christian by revealing that foundational to our beliefs are certain presuppositions. These are far more important than any facts, because they determine what “facts” we believe and how we understand them. Since the only true worldview is a Biblical worldview, everyone else must borrow from Christianity at some point. By discovering people’s presuppositions (and knowing our own), we can determine where this is happening and insert God’s Word at the critical point. This is a must read for every Christian. 

“We must not be satisfied to present Christianity as the most reliable position to hold among the competing options available. Rather, the Christian faith is the only reasonable outlook available to men.”


My Top Read of 2022 is…

On the Incarnation (Athanasius)

Let’s see… Covers a doctrine of critical importance. Check. Recommended reading for 17 centuries. Check. Will give the most educated and thoughtful Christian something to ponder about while the newest Christian will find it accessible enough. Check. Is concise, at only 60 or so pages. Check. Must read. Check.

“By man death has gained its power over men; by the Word made Man death has been destroyed and life raised up anew.”