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Matt’s Top 5 Books You Should Read [Not Including the Bible]

Here is a list of books that I would recommend to any Christian to read along with the Bible. The Bible should be your go-to book, period! But what should you read next?

In this list, I have included five books that I would recommend, without reservation, to a new and/or growing Christian. You will find that I am recommending some of these books because I want to whet your appetite for a few prolific authors of our day. For each book, I’ll give a brief summary and why I choose this book for my list. I will also include an Amazon link so you can order the book or download it on your Kindle device. 1. The Prodigal God by Tim Keller

Tim Keller has given us a great book on the parable of the Prodigal Son. In it, he shows us the lostness of both brothers and the heart of God, our Father, for lost sinners. He shows us how this parable speaks against self-righteousness and religious moralism, both of which are strong cultural currents today.

I recommend this book because it is so relevant to our culture and a great tool to challenge your thinking. And you can share it with others; it is a short book of about 150 pages. I also want you to experience a significant Christian writer and thinker of our time. This is a rich book worthy of your time. You might just become a Tim Keller Fan.

“The hearts of the two brothers were the same. Both sons resented their father’s authority and sought ways of getting out from under it. They each wanted to get into a position in which they could tell the father what to do. Each one, in other words, rebelled—but one did so by being very bad and the other by being extremely good. Both were alienated from the father’s heart; both were lost sons”

2. The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

A.W. Tozer has given us a classical study of our inner life and the thirsting of our hearts after God. David says, “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.” — Psalm 42:1 Tozer leads us to the streams of a deeper walk with our God. He writes with a longing heart and powerful words.

I recommend this book because we often make Christianity into a religion and we need to lead with our hearts. Tozer calls us to look at WHY we are pursuing God, and to renew our calling and refresh our souls with the living water. He calls us to move away from our stodgy religion to a heart-driven passion for God.

“If we cooperate with Him in loving obedience, God will manifest Himself to us, and that manifestation will be the difference between a nominal Christian life and a life radiant with the light of His face.”

3. Knowing God by J.I. Packard

Jim Packard was one the the best theologians of our day and this book is a classic. Packard engages us in the good task of knowing and understanding God by explaining who God is and how we can relate to Him. There are three sections to this book: How and why we can know God, the attributes of God, and the benefits to those who know God intimately.

I recommend this book because Packard, like Keller, is one of the most prolific Christian authors of our day. He wrote with theological depth but in a very readable manner. This is a book that will lay some foundational truths into your heart about the greatness of God.

“Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life's problems fall into place of their own accord.”

4. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

Rick Warren has given us a good book to help us with the basics of living the Christian life. In the book, Warren gives us five purposes for our life: You are Planned for God’s Pleasure, Formed for God’s Family, Created to Become Like Christ, Shaped for Serving God, and Made for a Mission. These five purposes will guide you in your life.

I recommend this book because Warren has a way of taking the complex and making it simple. He is a Pastor who has a heart in helping people grow in their relationship with God. I like the way Warren boils everything down to a simple list of the major things we should be pursuing as a Christian. “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Humility is thinking more of others.” “God intentionally allows you to go through painful experiences to equip you for ministry to others.” 5. Basic Christianity by John Stott

In this book, John Stott lays down the very basics of what it means to be a Christian. Who is Jesus Christ? Is it plausible that Jesus was truly divine? What difference does it make for us? Stott probes these questions and more. In Basic Christianity, Stott presents a clear classic statement of the Gospel. I recommend this book because, like Keller and Packard, Stott was one of the best theologians of our time but he wrote in a very readable manner. He has written a number of classics like the Cross of Christ. He wrote with incredible depth and yet he did so in a devotional way. This would be a good book to give to a new believer or even someone who is on the fence of becoming a Christian. “Many people visualize a God who sits comfortably on a distant throne, remote, aloof, uninterested, and indifferent to the needs of mortals, until, it may be, they can badger him into taking action on their behalf. Such a view is wholly false. The Bible reveals a God who, long before it even occurs to man to turn to him, while man is still lost in darkness and sunk in sin, takes the initiative, rises from his throne, lays aside his glory, and stoops to seek until he finds him.”

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