Books are funny things. Each of them shapes you in at least some small way, but some will prove far more shaping than others. This can be because of the time when you read them, the content of the book, discussions you had about the book, or factors you’re never made aware of. That said, here are the five books (besides the Bible) that I look back on as having had the biggest impact on me.
- Desiring God – This book is really what got me started reading theology. Piper presented theology in a way that was appealing and I don’t know that I would have read any of the books below without having read this one—even though I never quite finished it.
- The End for Which God Created the World – This is the book I read right after Desiring God. It helped me to realize that God does all things for His glory. That made a lot of things in the Bible and in reformed theology start to click. It was a short book (100 pages or so), but it was also written by a Puritan—so it was a tough read. That was helpful too, however, because it taught me to enjoy reading tough books.
- Counterfeit Gods – This was a short and easy read, but it really changed the way I think about sin. I always knew that sin starts in the heart, but this book helped me to think about my sin in a very different way—understanding what happens in my heart before I sin externally.
- He Shall Have Dominion – This is the book that convinced me to become a postmillennialist. In short, postmillennialism is the belief that the church will disciple all the nations with Christ’s gospel and commands so that the majority of people will be part of the church by the time Jesus comes back. It sounded far fetched to me when I first heard about it, but this 600+ page book went through virtually the entire Bible to prove the point.
- Reformed Is Not Enough – It’s a bit odd, but this is the book that pushed me off the fence on the infant baptism issue. Prior to reading this, I had been leaning in favor of infant baptism, but after reading it I was entirely convinced. It also helped my understanding of the Lord’s Supper a lot.
It was hard to pick just five, but if you want to understand what makes me tick theologically, that’s a really good place to start. What are some books that have helped shape you as a Christian?