As I’m often asked for book recommendations on various subjects, I decided to put together an online list of my top ten books in various categories. Basically, if I was only allowed 10 books in my library on that subject, these are the ten I would choose. Other posts include:

Today I’m listing my Top 10 Biographies of Christian Men. Of course, these are personal preferences, so after my list you’ll find a poll where you can cast three votes for your favorite books and help others choose the best books on the subject. Click on “View Results” to see what books are most popular.

You can also add any book not on the list by writing the title in “Other” or in the Comments  I’ll add these to the end of the post under “Reader Suggestions.”

1. Charles Spurgeon’s Autobiography: The Early Years 

Companion volume, The Full Harvest. These two books were the first biography I read as a new Christian in my early twenties, and I’ll never forget it. Hugely influential in my call to the ministry and in my view of the ministry.

2. Life of Martyn Lloyd Jones by Iain H. Murray.

Condensed and partly re-written version of Murray’s earlier two-volume set, Vol. 1: The First Forty Years and Vol. 2: The Fight of Faith. Personally I’d choose the two volumes, but you’ll need a lot of time. As so many battles Lloyd-Jones started fighting are still being fought today,  especially over the nature and authority of Scripture, there’s so much to learn from his life.

3. Andrew A. Bonar: Life and Letters by Marjory Bonar

First book I read in pastoral ministry and it left an indelible impression. I’ve got pages and pages of quotes that I still refer to and use. A passionate lover of Christ and of souls.

4. Robert Murray McCheyne by Andrew Bonar

One of the shorter biographies, but it will leave a lasting impact. It will make you more holy; or at least long for it.

5. Asahel Nettleton: Life and Labors by Bennet Tyler

Stirring book about the second Great Awakening; it will make you long for similar outpourings of the Spirit in our own day.

6. David Livingstone: The Truth Behind The Legend by Rob Mackenzie.

A balanced and realistic look at Livingstone’s life. It emphasizes the Christian motivation and mission behind his explorations, but it doesn’t sugar coat his shortcomings either, especially in connection with his wife that he left at home for years at a time.

7. J. I. Packer by Alister McGrath

Hugely influential in English-speaking evangelicalism for the past 60-70 years. No one has introduced more people to the doctrine and piety of the Puritans.

8. Jonathan Edwards: A Life by George Marsden.

One of the most highly acclaimed biographies of recent times and rightly so. Beautifully written with many incisive observations. Also consider Jonathan Edwards by Iain H. Murray

9. Here I Stand: A Life Of Martin Luther by Roland Bainton

Takes you not just into Luther’s life, but his mind and heart. And while you are at it, read Calvin by Bruce Gordon.

10. Defending The Faith: J. Gresham Machen by Daryl Hart.

A pivotal figure and time in modern church history.  See also J Greshem Machen by Ned Stonehouse

Now you decide, what are your favorites? You can cast three votes and add a book if it’s not in the list.

Honorable Mentions

Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor by D. A. Carson.

George Whitefield: Volume 1 and Volume 2 by Arnold Dallimore.

Herman Bavinck by Ron Gleason.

The Life and Diary of David Brainerd by Jonathan Edwards.

Augustine of Hippo by Peter Brown.

C.S. Lewis by Alister McGrath

John Stott: The Making of a Leader by Timothy Dudley-Smith. Companion Volume John Stott: A Global Ministry.

Amazing Grace: Biography of William Wilberforce by Eric Metaxes. See also this excellent  biography of Wilberforce.

Shadow of the Almighty: Life and Testament of Jim Elliot

Reader Suggestions

The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson.

Constrained By His Love: A New Biography of Robert Murray McCheyne by L. J. Van Valen

John Paton: Missionary to the New Hebrides

To The Golden Shore: Life of Adoniram Judson

  • Homeschool on the Croft

    Some of my favourites there as well …. especially Lloyd Jones’ and The Early Years. My favourite – or at least the one that impacted me the most – didn’t seem to be getting an appearance, until your ‘nonourable mentions’: the Life and Diary of David Brainerd. How shallow I find my life to be when I read Edwards’ work on Brainerd.
    Great list!

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  • Truth Telling Missionary

    Good list….But would have been nice to have some pre Refrormation included on the list. There are some great heroes of the faith before that time period that are worthy to read about. Just my opinion.

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  • steve


    1. Meritorious works cannot save you.
    2. Works of the Law of Moses cannot save you.
    3. Works of righteousness (good deeds) cannot save you.

    Titus 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, (NKJV)

    Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, (NASB)

    Titus 3:5 then he saved us—not because we were good enough to be saved, but because of his kindness and pity— by washing away our sins and giving us the new joy of the indwelling Holy Spirit(The Living Bible —Paraphrased)

    Ephesians 2:8-9….you have been saved…9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (NKJV)

    Ephesians 2:8-9 …have been saved…9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (NASB)

    Ephesians 2:8-9 …you have been saved…9 Salvation is not a reward for the good we have done, so none of us can take credit for it.(The Living Bible—Paraphrased)

    Galatians 2:16 “knowing that a man is not justified by works of the law….. (NKJV)

    Galatians 2:16 and yet we Jewish Christian know very well thatwe cannot become right with God by obeying our Jewish law,…(The Living Bible–Paraphrased)

    1.It is not a work of righteousness.
    2. It is not a good deed.
    3. Men are not baptized because they are good enough.
    4. Water baptism is not administered as a reward for good deeds.
    5. Baptism is not a work of the Law of Moses.

    Water baptism is so men can be saved. (Marl 16:16)
    Water baptism is so men can have their sins forgiven. (Acts 2:38)

    1. They are not works of righteousness.
    2. They are not good deeds.
    3. Men do not believe, repentant, and confess because they are good enough.
    4. Faith, repentance, and confession are not works of the Law of Moses.

    Faith, repentance, and confession are so men can have their sins forgiven and be saved. (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Romans 10:9-10)

    SALVATION IS A FREE GIFT FROM GOD. But men have to accept that gift through faith, repentance, confession and water baptism.THERE IS NO WORK REQUIRED.

    Men can be saved in the time it takes to believe, repent, confess, and be immersed in water.

    (Note: Repentance in Acts 2:38 means to change from unbelief and to make the commitment to turn from sin and to turn toward God)


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