Books For Which I Am Thankful

Rick Phillips

This is the time of year to express thanks, and it occurs to me that of the many things for which I am grateful to God, great Christian books are high among them.  This fall marks the 25th anniversary of my conversion by the grace of Christ, and I think especially of books that gave me a strong foundation for Christian growth.  Perhaps this list will encourage you to devote yourself to rich Christian writings and even to some of these that God has blessed in my life.

The first book I have to mention is the Bible.  The Holy Scriptures are God's revealed Word that has given life to my soul and continues to feed me on the manna of heaven.  Where would I be - in the past, present, or future - without the Bible!  I very seriously would rather lose my life in this world than lose the Word of God.

Having given place of precedents to the Scriptures, here are other books for which I give hearty praise to God.  If you are a new Christian, or if you have recently decided to get more serious in reading godly literature, this would be a good list for you to begin with: 

  • Knowing God, by J. I. Packer.  One of the truly significant books written in recent generations (1978).  A meaty but very readable (and often brilliant) tour through the attributes of God.  (There are few studies more important than the attributes of God!).
  • The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, by Jeremiah Burroughs.  This book really shook me up about my relationship to the world and the things of the world.  Learning the "secret" of contentment is a life-long journey, but mine was deeply affected by reading this Puritan classic.
  • The Sermon on the Mount, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.  Practically everything in the massive (and growing) MLJ collection of books is pure gold.  This is one of his first published books (perhaps the first?) .  His key point: "The way to happiness is through righteousness."
  • The Holiness of God, by R. C. Sproul. One of the classics published during our lifetimes.  The opening chapter on Isaiah 6 and the chapter titled, "The Insanity of Luther" are unforgettable.
  • The Pauline Eschatology, by Geerhardus Vos.  The book that enabled me finally to understand eschatology (the doctrine of the end).  This is a very academic book and difficult to read, but still great.  The easy-to-read version of the same teaching is Sam Waldron's The End Times Made Simple.  Strongly recommended.
  • Children of the Living God, by Sinclair B. Ferguson.  The best of Ferguson's short but outstanding books published by Banner of Truth. They are all terrific, but this book will give strong biblical shape to your relationship to God as a dearly beloved child in Christ.
  • Holiness, by J. C. Ryle.  When I was first converted, I was frightened by the idea of holiness, since it seemed so threatening and impossible to reach.  These classic biblical studies not only made holiness seem possible but also eminently desirable.
  • Christ's Call to Discipleship, by James Montgomery Boice.  A hard hitting book that will seriously challenge you by straight teaching from Jesus on carrying your cross and following Him.  A gripping and inspiring
  • Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace? by James Montgomery Boice.  A penetrating study of the church today and the pressing need for reformation. 
  • The Sovereignty of God, by A. W. Pink.  After so many decades this remains the classic and overwhelming study of God's sovereignty in all things (and especially salvation).  This book not only ends the argument about predestination but will turn you into an ardent lover of the doctrines of grace (with the added bonus of numerous spiritual blessings to you). 

These would all be great books for you to begin reading (or to give as presents to one another).  I give thanks to God for these and other books that have made such a difference in my life, and which I know will do likewise for you.