Last Sunday I spoke to our church congregation about a few things that had helped me grow spiritually. Many of those things were books. Here's the list:
- The NIV Study Bible. This is the Bible I bought when I first became a Christian and I've mostly relied on it since then. The notes helped me understand a lot, especially in the beginning. The notes cover a lot of ground: translation issues, interpretations, and controversies. They're pretty good about presenting multiple sides of controversial issues in a fair way.
- Basic Christianity by John Stott. This was one of the first Christian books I read. It's a particularly good introduction to what Christianity is all about, for non-Christians and Christians alike. It focuses strongly on Jesus: who he was (and is), why he came, and what that means for us. Highly recommended.
- The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. A senior demon advises a minor demon on how to handle his “patient” --- a new Christian whom the demon has been assigned to corrupt. This is a very fun read, with lots of useful insights into the Christian life. Phillip Pullman likes it, so it must be good.
- The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. An imaginary tour of heaven and hell --- not at all intended to be taken literally, but to stimulate one's thinking.
- The Knowledge Of The Holy by A. W. Tozer. Much more dry than the above, but lays out key truths about God and strongly encourages the reader to take them seriously. Tozer emphasizes God's ineffability, and acknowledges the tension this creates for his own book!
- Jesus by A. N. Wilson. A portrait of Jesus written from a skeptical/secular point of view. I read it quite soon after I became a Christian. It's interesting because it's clear from the book Wilson was fascinated by Jesus --- maybe even entranced --- even though he didn't really believe in him. I wasn't all that surprised when Wilson recently become a believer.