Of course, nothing is more classic than the Bible. Aside from the Holy Bible, however, there are certain books that all Christians who have access to books should read. The following list of books is not comprehensive but should give you a head start on some great literature that will encourage you in the Christian life.
Here are eleven classics (in no particular order) every Christian should read:
1. Basic Christianity by John Stott
“The Bible,” Stott wrote, “isn’t about people trying to discover God, but about God reaching out to find us.” Few books present an intellectually stimulating and satisfying view of the Christian faith as this one. It is chock-full of wisdom and golden nuggets of truth that help us know what we believe and why we believe it.
2. Confessions by Augustine
This is the famous autobiography of Augustine of Hippo, where he writes with such beauty and clarity the words, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
3. Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
In this brilliant work, twentieth-century intellectual giant G. K. Chesterton explains with both style and substance his own reasons for being a Christian.
4. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
This is a story of Christian’s journey to the Celestial City; it is packed full of imagery that is meant to mirror your own Christian life in all of its joys and struggles.
5. Knowing God by J.I. Packer
This longstanding, top-rated book walks Christians into the beauty, glory, and joy of knowing God—both intellectually and intimately. We need to know things about God in order to know God, just like how we know things about our spouse in order to continue to sustain a meaningful and healthy relationship. Packer shows us that all Christian theology is practical, devotional, and worshipful.
6. Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
Originally written as an introduction to the Christian faith but later expanded for the training of students entering the ministry—this classic work contains a wealth of insight about God and us.
7. Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Bonhoeffer gives us a portrait of Christian community full of wisdom on how our lives can be shaped by prayer, worship, work, and service. This short book is very practical and will satisfy those who hunger for an honest and healthy Christian community.
8. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
This book has been so widely read that it cannot be ignored. Lewis attempts to share the most basic and common essentials of the Christian faith, providing also a defense of the faith for skeptics and new Christians alike.
9. The City of God by Augustine
Augustine of Hippo wrote this to prove that paganism—not Christianity—brought about the fall of Rome. This is a masterpiece and helps to clarify the Christian’s place in the city of God while living in the temporal order of the city of man.
10. The Incarnation of the Word of God by Athanasius
Written by St. Athanasius in the fourth century, this book defends the divinity of Jesus Christ. This is a timely read for a timeless book since so many people today do not believe that Jesus is God.
11. The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges
This book is eminently practical and is gospel-centered through and through. The grace that first bought us and brought us to Jesus is the same grace that sustains us throughout the rest of our Christian life. Bridges does a masterful job of showing his readers how to be self-controlled without losing sight of the gospel.