Suggested Books

Christianity is an ongoing conversation that has been taking place for 2,000 years, along with the stories that God was writing in the Israelites for years and years before Jesus. Below is a recommended reading list that you can download, or you can scroll down to see the list in its entirety.

This list will be updated periodically, and is not meant to be exhaustive, but is an attempt to spur on great conversation, and share with you some of the books that have been great dialogue partners for many of us at Cornerstone. We hope that they will be an encouragement to you and help us all to sharpen our hearts and minds in God-shaped ways.

You can download the list by clicking here.

Recommended Reading List:

The recommended reading list is established to enable you to gain a better understanding of the bible; grow in your knowledge of God, yourself and the world around you; enjoy spiritual input during the week, not just on a Sunday; be better prepared for the task of discipleship; be better equipped to lead in your church, marriage and family; receive an historical perspective on current problems and spot present day blind spots; have some of your questions answered and confront other questions of which you hadn’t even thought; and cultivate your personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

No book is more important than the Bible. We should all be reading, studying and obeying the Scriptures. The Bible is our rule of faith and practice.  It is living and active. It will transform your life.

The recommended reading list is broken into topical areas for your convenience.

This recommended reading list has a rating scheme that identifies entry level, intermediate level and advanced level texts. This system is not meant to discourage you from reading higher level texts, but it is provided to enable you to choose appropriate texts to develop a framework for furthering your walk with Christ.

& – Entry level. Start with these texts. It would be appropriate to have the majority of the entry level texts read within the first two or three years of your Christian life.

&& – Intermediate level. It’s not that these books are hard to understand or read. The entry level books set a framework for going further. These intermediate books are good for those who are committed to Christian ministry and deeper sanctification.

&&& – Don’t shy away from these books, even though some of them will require some effort. If you want to get serious about studying the Bible, learning theology, being able to teach, etc., these books will really help.

Introduction to Christianity

More Than a Carpenter& – Charles McDowell

Now updated for a new generation of seekers with a fresh look, revised material, and a new chapter that addresses questions commonly raised today. Former skeptic Josh McDowell is now joined by his son Sean as they examine the evidence about Jesus. Is he really the Lord he claimed to be? How can we know for sure? More than a Carpenter offers arguments for faith from a skeptic turned believer. Since its original publication in 1977, this modern classic has sold over 15 million copies, been translated into dozens of languages, and introduced countless people to the real Jesus. Now with new content that addresses questions raised by today’s popular atheist writers.

The Case for Christ& – Lee Strobel

A Seasoned Journalist Chases Down the Biggest Story in History. The Project: Determine if there’s credible evidence that Jesus of Nazareth really is the Son of God. The Reporter: Lee Strobel, educated at Yale Law School, award-winning former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune—with a background of atheism. The Experts: A dozen scholars, with doctorates from Cambridge, Princeton, Brandeis, and other top-flight institutions, who are recognized authorities on Jesus. The Story: Retracing his own spiritual journey, Strobel cross-examines the experts with tough, point-blank questions: How reliable is the New Testament? Does evidence exist for Jesus outside the Bible? Is there any reason to believe the resurrection was an actual historical event? The author is engaging and provides good evidence for belief in Christ.

Mere Christianity& – C.S. Lewis

The late Lewis, Oxford professor, scholar, author, and Christian apologist, presents the listener with a case for orthodox Christianity. This is definitely not the shouting, stomping, sweating, spitting televangelist fare so often parodied; Lewis employs logical arguments that are well expressed. He describes those doctrines that the four major denominations in Britain (Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic) would have in common, e.g., original sin, the transcendent Creator God, and the divinity of Jesus as well as his atonement and bodily resurrection.

How to Pray& – R.A. Torrey

Written a little over a century ago, How to Pray is a wonderful text on prayer. The author guides even the most seasoned person of prayer into deeper, more significant prayer. Torrey explains what prayer is, what it can do, and when one should pray. He also describes the hindrances that keep believers from praying effectively, and how with the power of God believers can overcome those hindrances. This classic work on prayer has helped generations and can also further one’s spiritual maturing in the “essential activity” of prayer. Available for Kindle.

Lord, Teach us to Pray& – Andrew Murray

Of all the classics on prayer, this is among the most helpful. Murray never hammers, but entreats, then lovingly explains how to do what he is advocating. Since this book was published over a century ago, countless readers have learned through its pages that no one can teach prayer better than Jesus Christ himself. This text is free for Kindle.

How to Study the Bible& – Robert West

This guide provides a brief, concise overview of personal Bible study for the layperson. Long-time Bible teacher Robert West gives insight into the types, tools, and techniques of personal study, offering both practical guidance and encouragement to pursue the command of 2 Timothy 2:15 (“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth”). Covering topics such as the inductive method, word studies, commentaries, dictionaries, and concordances, How to Study the Bible also emphasizes the personal benefits of private Bible time.

Basic Christianity& – John Stott

Seekers, skeptics, and strugglers will find eternal truth in this revised and expanded edition of Stott’s landmark bestseller! His sensible guide offers a compelling defense of the fundamentals of Christianity, and defines its everyday practice. A steadfast assurance awaits believers through a deeper understanding of their faith.

 

Modern Spiritual Growth

Celebration of Discipline &&- Richard Foster

Hailed by many as the best modern book on Christian spirituality, Celebration of Discipline has helped more than one million seekers discover a richer spiritual life filled with joy, peace, and a deeper understanding of God. Celebration of Discipline explores the ‘classic disciplines,’ or central spiritual practices, of the Christian faith. The inward disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting, and study offer avenues of personal examination and change. The outward disciplines of simplicity, solitude, submission, and service help prepare us to make the world a better place. The corporate disciplines of confession, worship, guidance, and celebration bring us nearer to one another and to God. The discussion of celebration, often the most neglected of the disciplines, shows its critical importance, for it stands at the heart of the way to Christ. (Workbook and Study Guide are also available.)

Seeking the Face of God&&- Gary L. Thomas

Thomas offers readers a simple method for fostering greater devotion to God. He uses excerpts from Christian spiritual classics, by authors ranging from Augustine, Pascal and Fenelon, as springboards into topics such as the journey of faith, setting spiritual goals, cultivating simplicity and spiritual gluttony. Thomas explains in seven steps how one can train both body and soul to draw closer to God. Seekers should invest time studying the writings of godly men and women of the past, learn to imitate contemporary models of holiness, cultivate godly character virtues, rise early to begin each day with God and live life reflectively.

The Miracle of Life Change (old title – Holy Transformation)&&- Chip Ingram

We were made for intimacy, beauty, impact and adventure, but we still struggle to break old habits and keep your temper in check. Is it really possible to become more like Christ? Chip explores how life-change really happens, even in the midst of frustrating, painful or mundane circumstances. There are three reasons why we fail to grow as Christians, Chip says. First, we fail to understand our identity in Christ. Second, we don’t understand the growth process, and third, we don’t understand how to walk by faith. (DVD series with study guide is also available.)

Normal Christian Life&& – Watchman Nee

Watchman Nee takes the reader through principles taught in the book of Romans. The focus of the book is Jesus Christ and the believer’s life in Him. At times Nee seems redundant and repetitive with his message and with his illustrations. But by the end, you thoroughly understand the concepts he presents. A must read for every person serious about living a God honoring life.

Crazy Love& – Francis Chan

It’s crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe—the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles—loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss. Whether you’ve expressed it yet or not, you know something’s wrong. Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible solutions? God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. The answer to religious complacency isn’t working harder at a list of do’s and don’ts—it’s falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love, as Francis describes it, you will never be the same. When you’re wildly in love with someone, it changes everything.

 

Classical Spiritual Growth

The Practice of the Presence of God &- Brother Lawrence

This short writing of Brother Lawrence teaches that God is as present in the kitchen as in the cathedral and as accessible in the living room as He is around the Lord’s table. This simple, yet profound teaching will empower you to seek the joy of God’s presence in the midst of every moment and circumstance. 

The Spiritual Exercises &&St. Ignatius of Loyola

Although originally intended for those making a retreat under the direction of an experienced master, the spiritual exercises have since become much more widely known and used, and they offer an excellent resource for private devotions.

Dark Night of the Soul&&&Saint John of the Cross

Saint John of the Cross presents a portrait painted from his own experience of one who advances successfully through the struggles of the spiritual life. The dark night that St John describes is not abandonment by God but special consideration from Him for those who desire to purify and perfect their souls. With a soul purified from earthly attachments, we can advance through the much quoted but often misunderstood dark night of the soul into unity with God. By accepting the desolation and difficulty of this process, the soul cooperates with God and opens itself to receiving and revealing more perfectly God s glory.

Ascent of Mount Carmel &&&Saint John of the Cross

The 16th-century Spanish mystic’s guide to spiritual life illuminates the path through confusion and despair that leads to union with God.

The Confessions of Saint Augustine && -Saint Augustine

Written in the waning days of the Roman era, Augustine’s Confessions are the moving diary of a soul’s journey. From his earliest memories of childhood, through his stormy and immoral youth, to his conversion at the age of 32, Augustine traces a pilgrimage of abundant grace. Throughout, he zealously addresses the spiritual questions that have engaged thoughtful minds since time began.

Pilgrim’s Progress &- John Bunyan

An allegory of the Christian life, this tale will take you through places where you are, where you have been or where you are yet to travel.

 

Reference

Making Disciples&- Gene Warr

The material presented in this book has been applied in the real world by the author. It shows you that you CAN make disciples. Just don’t be too discouraged when you fill out the Motivator Questionnaire.

The Lost Art of Disciple Making&&- LeRoy Eims

In simple, practical, and biblical terms, LeRoy Eims revives the lost art of disciple making. He explains: – How the early church discipled new Christians – How to meet the basic needs of a growing Christian – How to spot and train potential workers – How to develop mature, godly leaders ‘True growth takes time and tears and love and patience,’ Eims states. There is no instant maturity. This book examines the growth process in the life of a Christian and considers what nurture and guidance it takes to develop spiritually qualified workers in the church.

The Complete Book of Discipleship&&- Bill Hull

The Complete Book of Discipleship is the definitive A-to-Z resource on discipleship for every Christian. It pulls together into one convenient, comprehensive volume relevant topics such as spiritual growth, transformation, spiritual disciplines, and discipleship in the local church and beyond.

 

Theology

Systematic Theology, 3 Volumes&&&- Thomas C. Oden

Emphasizing the beliefs common to all branches of Christendom rather than the issues that divide, Thomas Oden brings the full weight of two millennia of discussion to bear on the questions of Christian faith. His authoritative study not only treats the traditional elements of systematic theology, referencing hundreds of theologians – Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, and Charismatic – but also highlights the foundational exegetes of history. Broadly ecumenical, this set is an excellent resource for academic or devotional reading.

Elemental Theology&& – Emery Bancroft

This book is a survey of doctrine and presents the basics of systematic theology in brief, easy-to-follow outline form that will be appreciated by students, teachers, pastors, and laypersons wanting a practical-level introduction to the subject. Study questions are at the end of each chapter.

The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit&& – R. A. Torrey

Dr. Torrey first carefully describes who the Holy Spirit is and how one can come to know Him as a person, an ever-present, loving friend and mighty helper, who is always with us. Then he goes on to describe the work of the Spirit — in the world and in the lives of Christians. His extensive study of the baptism with the Spirit is especially interesting. A great read and very informative.

Who Is Jesus?&& – R. C. Sproul

This is the first booklet in a Crucial Questions series by R. C. Sproul that address doctrinal issues for evangelicals. This series provide thoughtful and academic responses to the questions posed. These booklets are free for Kindle.

 

Youth

Sacred Hope& – Joshua Hayden

Over the course of this book, Joshua Hayden invites readers to reflect on specific ideas, prayers, scriptures, or poems; or directs readers to look online for songs, pieces of art, or websites than can act as reflection points or markers for each individual’s journey as they engage this worldview-changing idea of sacred hope.

In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership& – Henri Nouwen

For a society that measures successful leadership in terms of the effectiveness of the individual, Father Nouwen offers a counter definition that is witnessed by a “communal and mutual experience.” For Nouwen, leadership cannot function apart from the community. His wisdom is grounded in the foundation that we are a people “called.” This beautiful guide to Christian Leadership is the rich fruit of Henri Nouwen’s own journey as one of the most influential spiritual leaders of the 20th century.

The Lord of the Rings& J.R.R. Tolkien

“One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.” This epic fantasy takes place in Middle Earth, where three rings were made for the elves, seven for the dwarves, and nine made for men. However, the dark lord Sauron of Mordor made one ring that could command them all. If the one ring is returned to Sauron, the whole of Middle Earth will be at his mercy.