Do you ever find yourself squinting at a photograph of someone standing in front of a bookcase, trying to work out the titles of the books they own? Or, when you visit someone’s house, looking through the books on the shelves and trying to gain some profound insight into their personality based on what they read? Or is it just me?
Wouldn’t you love the chance to go into the studies of men and women who have been greatly used by God and see the kinds of books they enjoy and have been influenced by? To be able to ask Sinclair Ferguson or R.C. Sproul or John McArthur or Jerry Bridges what books have especially shaped them as Christians?
If you’re with me in answering those questions with a resounding ‘Absolutely!’ then let me recommend a new book that allows you to sit down with 32 proven servants of Christ and find out about the books that have shaped their lives and ministries.
‘You Must Read’ is a fascinating book that you must read if you have any interest in finding out what are some of the greatest treasures of Christian literature and why they are treasures. It was published by the Banner of Truth within the last few months, partly as a fitting way of marking the sixtieth anniversary of the founding by Iain Murray of the Banner of Truth Trust—a not-for-profit publishing house dedicated to making available the best of Reformed literature, past and present, at affordable prices and in quality bindings. But it is also intended to be a means of encouraging new generations to read the spiritual classics published by the Trust that have blessed (in some cases) centuries of readers. It is a wonderful introduction to some of the very best of the best of the wisdom that the Holy Spirit has given to the Church throughout history.
Why should you read John Owen on ‘the Glory of Christ’? Let Sinclair Ferguson tell you. Never heard of ‘A Body of Divinity’ by Thomas Watson? Walter Chantry will soon open your eyes to its glories! Ligon Duncan will whet your appetite for ‘Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices’ by Thomas Brooks. Want to understand the doctrine of salvation more rigorously? Listen to Albert Martin extol its virtues and you won’t be able to resist the urge to order a copy immediately (and possibly even get a hardback leather-bound edition specially made as well!). Interested in discovering one of Edward Donnelly’s models in ministry? Two words: ‘Richard Baxter’. Need help in your prayer life? Want to avoid the babbling of empty words that Jesus warned against? Mark Johnston points us to where we can get help.
Listen to what Sinclair Ferguson writes in his Introduction:
For some time we have thought of inviting a number of friends to contribute to a book about books—in which each of them would write a chapter on a book that had been a significant help to them in their Christian lives… A number of these friends are household names to many Christians; others will be new names to some. They come from a variety of geographical locations, churches, and spheres of ministry. But they are united with us in our common allegiance to the authority of Scripture, the supremacy of Christ, and the pursuit of the glory of God. We hope that you will not only find their personal stories enjoyable and their discussion instructive, but also, as you come to the end of many of these chapters, that you will find yourself saying ‘I must read…’
There is something in us that seems to be attracted to lists of the top 10… whatevers. Excellence in any field has a magnetic quality. How about a list of the top 100 Christian books you must read before you die? Wouldn’t that be helpful? Well, here are 32 of them to get you started! And if you are a slow reader or find reading big books daunting, read this article of John Piper’s first (especially the third point) to encourage you as to how much you can read in just 15 minutes a day of slow reading.
What are you waiting for?! You must read ‘You Must Read’!