CATG Reading List

 

Some of us love to read. Others not so much. I would suggest to you that the key to reading is finding the right book.

We have been receiving a few questions over the last couple months regarding books to read that would be beneficial to the soul. As an avid reader myself this is the kind of question I dream about, there are few things I enjoy as much as making book recommendations. I would also say, there are few things I have done that have been as beneficial to my spiritual growth as reading good books.

So with that said, I wanted to provide anyone interested with a few places to start if you are looking to read. The way this guide will work is very simple: I have divided the book recommendations into levels depending on where you are at or what you want to tackle. Maybe you have a long weekend coming up and you want something small to finish, great! Perhaps you are looking to stretch your brain over the entirety of the summer and want something that will leave a mark…even better.

Throughout the guide I have also bolded the books that have been most influential in my life. This may be a great place to start (or a great place to avoid depending on what you think of my life).
 

Level 1: “I don’t hardly ever read…but I am thinking I want to start.”

The Prodigal God – Timothy Keller

This short and easy to read book by Keller brings to life the Parable of the Prodigal Son. You will be amazed at the depth of the gospel portrayed in the parable, wonderfully brought out and explained by Keller.

Spectacular Sins – John Piper

It might only be 100 pages in length, but it is said that dynamite comes in small packages. The length is a good thing because you will probably end up reading this guy twice in order to fully understand it as John Piper biblically works through the problem of intentional human sin and the sovereignty of God. One of the richest 100 pages ever written.

The Mingling of Souls – Matt Chandler

In both a humorous and modern fashion, Matt Chandler expounds the book of Song of Solomon in this book on relationships. He covers the whole scope of relationships, attraction, dating, marriage, sex, even growing old together, making this book accessible to people in all walks of relationship, from young and single to married for decades.

Tactics – Greg Koukl

Koukl introduces Christians to practical ways to defend and talk about their faith in everyday conversations. This book focuses on the methods of simple apologetics rather than the content. An extremely practical and simple guide to feeling confident about discussing your faith or any topic for the glory of God. A great way to equip yourself to engage in the battle.

Trusting God – Jerry Bridges

In Trusting God, Jerry Bridges accomplishes the impossible: he communicates the depth and beauty of the sovereignty of God over all things while at the same time gently applying it to the hurts of our lives. The single greatest Christian book I have ever read, whether you are in the midst of a trial or simply looking to strengthen your faith, I wish every Believer would read Trusting God.
 

Level 2: “I read regularly but don’t give me something I won’t be able to finish.”

 

Jesus the King – Tim Keller

What does the life and death of Jesus Christ mean for me? This is the question that Tim Keller seeks to answer as he walks us through the book of Mark.  Jesus the King reads more like a television series than a book of theology. Keller shows us how the story of Jesus is all at once cosmic, historical, and personal.

Desiring God – John Piper

John Piper’s most essential work is an in-depth and Biblical look at what it means to pursue joy in Christ. This is the work that introduces the heartbeat of Piper’s ministry, Christian Hedonism. In it, Piper argues from scripture that our pursuit of pleasure as Christians is not optional, it is essential.

Recovering Redemption – Matt Chandler & Michael Snetzer

All of us have areas of our life we wish we could change, usually to no avail. In this book Chandler and Snetzer apply the gospel to how we change and more specifically how we grow as Christians. A great starting point for anyone interested in applying to the gospel to sanctification.

The Explicit Gospel – Matt Chandler

The gospel is the most important aspect of our faith and far too many Christians today have no idea what the gospel really is or how it radically changes everything about their life. In the clearest manner possible, Chandler not only unpacks the gospel from various perspectives, but applies it to our lives, and the redemption of all things. The gospel is both personal and cosmic.

The Case for Life – Scott Klusendorf

The issue of abortion is not one that Christians can be silent on. The genocide of our time must be named for what it is and attacked with gospel truth. As one of the leading voices of the pro-life movement Klusendorf combines good theology, scientific research, and strong apologetic arguments to the issue of abortion. A must read for Christians interested in being able to winsomely defend the rights of the unborn.

Counter Culture – David Platt

Poverty. Same-Sex Marriage. Racism. Sex Slavery. Immigration. Persecution. Abortion. Orphans. Pornography. These and more are the current cultural hot button issues that Platt covers in his book. Applying life experience and a biblical worldview to some of the most controversial issues of our day, this book is guaranteed to open your eyes to the brokenness of our world and offer practical suggestions for us as Christians to be counter cultural.

Jesus Outside the Lines – Scott Sauls

Ever frustrated about our current culture constantly taking sides on issues? Ever feel like Christianity is known more for its political stance, moral high ground or specific denomination than Jesus Christ? Scott Sauls unpacks what it means to truly follow Christ and how Jesus doesn’t take sides but rather creates an entirely new way to go about life. In a gentle and biblically faithful manner, Sauls shows us that Jesus may be just a touch more outside the lines than our culture gives him credit.

 

Level 3: “I may not be a NAVY Seal of reading…but I want to be. Whatever it takes, I want to dive in, do your worst.”

 

Reason for God – Timothy Keller

In his groundbreaking work, Keller mines the riches of literary history, philosophy, anthropology as well as biblical theology to make an intellectual and meaningful case for God. Tackling many of the common objections to God and religion today, Keller gives us in depth answers and logical reason for belief during an unparalleled time of skepticism in our world.

Walking with God through Pain & Suffering –Timothy Keller

Why would God allow pain and suffering in this world? Keller takes on this age old question and seeks to show us the meaning and purpose behind pain and suffering, and even argues that it is an essential part of the human experience as well as our Christian growth. Suffering can only truly be understood in the context of who God is and what his purposes are for the world and our lives. The most complete, in depth look at suffering I have ever read.

The Pleasures of God – John Piper

When it comes to understanding the nature of God we are already in over our head. No other book has so shaped my understanding of who God is and what that means for my life than The Pleasures of God
. Piper spends 300 pages unpacking the premise that God’s delight in being God is essential to who he is and how we follow him.

Expository Apologetics – Voddie Bauchaum

For those who feel as though apologetics is a constant circular argument with people who refuse to budge from their preconceived notions, Bauchaum offers us a new and fresh look at the idea of expository apologetics. Instead of seeking to answer philosophical, scientific or historical objections to the faith, Bauchaum shows us the role of God’s perfect Word in engaging with others about beliefs and objections.

Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands – Paul Tripp

This book makes the 3rd tier of reading not because it is difficult to read, but by sheer length. Nearly 400 pages in length this book takes time but is worth the effort. Paul Tripp shows us from a biblical counseling perspective what it means to change in our own lives, and also how to walk others through change. An extremely practical book aimed at equipping Christians to minister God’s Word to one another, great for the Christian interested in learning how to meaningfully care for one another.

-Mark Resch