Starting a Good Library (updated from 2015)

If you are interested in building a good Christian library now or in the near future, here are my recommendations for the first 132 books you should buy (not including commentaries or commentary sets).


  • Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics by Norman Geisler
  • Five Views on Apologetics edited by Steven B. Cowan
  • Know Why You Believe by Paul Little
  • The Kingdom of the Cults by Walter Martin
  • Three Views on Creation and Evolution, edited by J.P. Moreland and John Mark Reynolds
  • New Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell

Bible Reference and Study

  • Anchor Bible Dictionary edited by David N. Freedman (6 volumes)
  • Commentaries for Biblical Expositors by Jim Rosscup
  • From Exegesis to Exposition by Robert B. Chisholm, Jr.
  • History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ (5 volumes) by Emil Shurer
  • Inspiration and Authority of the Bible by B.B. Warfield
  • Introduction to the New Testament by D.A. Carson, John Walton and Andrew Hill
  • Living by the Book by Howard Hendricks
  • Pictorial Library of Bible Lands (CD-rom software) by Todd Bolen
  • Protestant Biblical Interpretation by Bernard Ramm
  • Survey of Old Testament Introduction by Gleason Archer
  • The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times by Ralph Gower
  • Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible edited by Merill C. Tenney (5 vols.)

Christian Living and Devotional

  • Desiring God by John Piper
  • The Freedom and Power of Forgiveness by John MacArthur
  • The God Who Hears, The by W. Bingham Hunter
  • Grace Abounding in the Chief of Sinners by John Bunyan
  • Holiness by J.C. Ryle
  • How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler
  • Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung
  • Love Your God With All Your Mind by J.P. Moreland
  • Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen
  • Politics According to the Bible by Wayne Grudem
  • Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney
  • Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp
  • Religious Affections, The by Jonathan Edwards
  • Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney
  • Suffering and the Sovereignty of God edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor
  • Thoughts for Young Men by J.C. Ryle True Sexual Morality by Daniel R. Heimbach
  • Valley of Vision, The edited by Arthur Bennett
  • The Vanishing Conscience by John MacArthur

Christology (the study of Jesus Christ)

  • Birth of the Messiah by Raymond E. Brown
  • Death of the Messiah by Raymond E. Brown (2 vols.)
  • The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim
  • More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell
  • The Passion of Jesus Christ by John Piper
  • Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur
  • The Words and Works of Jesus Christ by J. Dwight Pentecost

Church History

  • Fox’s Book of Martyrs edited by William B. Forbush
  • History of the Christian Church by Philip Schaff (8 vols.)
  • The Story of Christianity by Justo Gonzalez (2 vols.)


  • A Theology of Biblical Counseling: the Doctrinal Foundations of Counseling Ministry by Heath Lambert
  • Competent to Counsel by Jay Adams
  • Counseling the Hard Cases; True Stories Illustrating the Sufficiency of God’s Resources in Scripture, edited by Stuart Scott and Heath Lambert
  • Finally Free by Heath Lambert
  • Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul Tripp
  • Lord, Change Me by James Macdonald
  • Putting the Past In It’s Place by Steve Viars
  • A Theology of Christian Counseling by Jay Adams

Discipleship and Evangelism

  • Ashamed of the Gospel by John MacArthur
  • Christ’s Call to Discipleship by James M. Boice
  • Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer
  • Evangelism in the Early Church by Michael Green
  • How to Give Away Your Faith by Paul Little
  • Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper

Ecclesiology (the study of the church)

  • Between Two Worlds by John R.W. Stott
  • Biblical Eldership by Alexander Strauch
  • Biblical Preaching by Haddon Robinson
  • Brothers, We Are Not Professionals by John Piper
  • Crisis of Caring by Jerry Bridges
  • Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
  • Deliberate Church by Mark Dever
  • Lectures to My Students by Charles Spurgeon
  • The New Testament Deacon by Alexander Strauch
  • Paul’s Idea of Community by Robert Banks
  • Preaching and Preachers by Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  • Rediscovering Biblical Counseling by John MacArthur
  • Rediscovering Expository Preaching by John MacArthur
  • Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry by John MacArthur
  • The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter
  • The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper
  • The Vine Project: Shaping Your Ministry Culture Around Disciple-Making by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne

Eschatology (the study of last things)

  • End Times by John Walvoord
  • Heaven by Randy Alcorn
  • Heaven (Theology in Community) by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson
  • Hell on Trial: The Case for Eternal Punishment by Robert Peterson
  • Understanding End Times Prophecy by Paul Benware

Family and Parenting

  • Disciplines of a Godly Man by Kent Hughes
  • Everyday Talk: Talking Freely and Naturally about God With Your Children by John A. Younts
  • The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace
  • The Exemplary Husband by Stuart Scott
  • Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem
  • Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp
  • Teach Them Diligently by Lou Priolo
  • Tying the Knot: a Premarital Guide to a Strong and Lasting Relationship by Bob Green
  • What Did You Expect? By Paul Tripp
  • When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey


  • The Holy Spirit by John Walvoord
  • Jesus Continued by J.D. Greear
  • The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit by Rene Pache

Soteriology (the study of salvation)

  • Faith Works by John MacArthur
  • The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur
  • Saved without a Doubt by John MacArthur

Theology Proper (the study of God)

  • The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink
  • The Gagging of God by D.A. Carson
  • Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin (2 vols.)
  • Knowing God by J.I. Packer
  • The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer
  • Moody Handbook of Theology by Peter Enns
  • No One Like Him by John S. Feinberg
  • The Sovereignty of God by A.W. Pink
  • Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof
  • Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s