It’s now been a few weeks of social distancing and shelter-in-place. Many of us have managed to cultivate some new routines and might even have some free time. However, we’ve also probably noticed how easy it is to never leave our couches and binge TV indefinitely. That’s why we want to provide you with some options for turning off the screens and binge-reading something excellent.
Most of the following titles are read by Residents and Fellows as part of the Watermark’s Institute program. They will inspire you to love Jesus and others more. They will teach you something about your Bible and provide some new insights on your faith. Whether you for 15 minutes or for a few hours, any time spent binging these books will be worth your while.
By John Bunyan
For nearly 350 years, John Bunyan’s allegorical novel has been a staple of Christian fiction. Absolutely saturated with biblical truth, Pilgrim’s Progress showcases the Christian life in a way that every believer spend time with. As you follow the protagonist “Christian” through the ups and downs of his journey of faith, you will inevitably learn something new about your own. You could spend a year pouring over this book alone and barely reach past the surface.
By Robert Coleman
In the 21st century, we tend to overcomplicate discipleship. Many wrongly believe that discipleship is simply about a program or performance. Many let marketing or business strategies define how they do ministry. But in The Master Plan of Evangelism, Coleman succinctly helps us investigate the question, “How did Jesus Christ make disciples?” For the clearest picture of evangelism and discipleship, we need only look to Jesus Himself. This book will renew your desire to serve Jesus and His Church by making disciples.
By Philip Yancey
The Jesus I Never Knew, by Phillip Yancey is an incredible way to fall deeper in love with Jesus. Yancey investigates the fascinating, controversial, powerful, and world-changing character actually presented in the Gospels. You will come away from reading this with new perspectives and all your assumptions challenged. When you encounter Jesus for who He really is and learn to sit down with your Savior, you will truly never be the same.
By Paul Little
Know What You Believe and Know Why You Believe, by Paul Little, help any reader to better understand the non-negotiables of the Christian faith. As theological literacy continues to decline, we will need to be thoroughly equipped to know what and why we believe. These two incredible books allow readers to better see how all the puzzle pieces fit together. Reading this pair will practically answer your core doctrinal questions and clear up common misconceptions about the Christian faith.
By Wayne Grudem
In Bible Doctrine, Wayne Grudem simplifies his lengthy and critically acclaimed Systematic Theology and presents its content for any reader who wants to better understand the Christian faith. As theological literacy continues to decline, we will need to be thoroughly equipped to know what we believe on key concepts such as God’s sovereignty, spiritual warfare, biblical inerrancy, and the like. This incredible book allows readers to better see how all the puzzle pieces fit together.
By J. Duvall and J. Hays
As people begin their journey through the Bible, we’ve found many can quickly get lost in the wilderness of God’s Word. However, the Bible is much, much more than 66 disjointed books by a variety of authors. In reality, the Bible is a singular, brilliant, and delightful true story. It is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). When we miss out on its thematic movements, we miss out on much of what makes God’s Word so great. When we lose our place in Scripture, we quickly forget that we, too, are a part of God’s story. Reading Living God’s Word alongside your Bible helps you to understand the structure of Scripture in a remarkable way and faithfully apply its truths to your life.
By Gary Thomas
Jesus is the most amazing and virtuous man to ever live. And it is by pondering and following after Jesus that we eventually become more like Him. In The Glorious Pursuit, Gary Thomas wonderfully outlines how to practice Christlikeness and cherish intimacy with Him. If you struggle to see where God is shaping your life or are starting to see your passion fade, spend some time in these pages. You will love Jesus more as a result.
By Donald S. Whitney
Discipline should not only apply to your work ethic or fitness routine. The whole Christian life is a disciplined one. Spiritual Disciplines walks believers through what is looks like to grow in prayer and Bible reading. Donald Whitney makes the disciplines of evangelism, journaling, fasting, and stewardship practical and simple. Rather than present a Christianity with easy fixes or microwavable answers, Whitney focuses in on the slow, ongoing, and quiet steps toward faithfulness. As you contemplate how to live for Christ, consider picking up this book. These are lessons that every believer needs to learn.
By John Stott
In his classic, Baptism and Fullness, John Stott communicates our incredible need for the Holy Spirit. And in a world often confused by this third member of the Trinity, knowing the Spirit more fully is absolutely essential for church leaders. Without clarity, we can fall into either ignoring the Spirit’s work or trying to control the Spirit’s work. Instead, this book reminds us that we are not called to ignore or control the Spirit, but rather to yield to Him in all our ways.
By Todd Wagner
God intends the Church to be a place where addictions are overcome, marriages are restored, insecurities are abolished, and authentic relationships are formed. It should be a life-giving and fully devoted community of believers. In Come and See, Todd Wagner paints a picture of what it can look like when believers regularly attend to the King’s business, rather than simply attending on a Sunday morning. This is a must-read for any leader interested in the abundant life that Jesus offers to His Church. And in these unusual times, Come and See is a helpful reminder that the Church is far more than a building. It is the people of God, wherever they may be.
By Mark Dever
Many in our country, believers and unbelievers alike, have never seen a healthy church. On top of that, many falsely believe that a gift of teaching and a talented band is what makes a church healthy. These things are a terrible tragedy. As believers, we must seek to faithfully build healthy communities of faith. But what should the church look like? What characteristics must we insist upon? Mark Dever helps to answer these questions and challenges you to put it all into practice. If the church is to be Christ’s ambassadors to the world, then we must take its health seriously. We must be biblical before we ever try to be big.
By Thomas R. Schreiner
The topic of spiritual gifts is the source of much debate and division in the church. How should someone address it with thoughtfulness and humility? In Spiritual Gifts, Thomas Schreiner helps to explain what exactly spiritual gifts are and what the Bible actually says about them. He reminds us that spiritual gifts are to glorify God and bless others. Regardless of if you are familiar with the topic, or just investigating spiritual gifts for the first time, this book will be an incredible help.
By J.C. Ryle
If you are a young man, you simply cannot do better than Thoughts for Young Men, by J.C. Ryle. This book is a phenomenally simple read and brilliantly exhorts and instructs young men about how to best live a faithful Christian life. You will leave these pages inspired and spurred on.
All of these books are excellent options to binge read. You will be better for it. But remember that reading these should not be done in place of your daily devotion and time in the Word. Continue to pour over the Scriptures but consider supplementing that reading with one of these excellent options.
When we get to the end of our time sheltering-in-place, you will be thankful you took a few hours away from screens and spent them in the pages of a good book. So, whether it is one of these titles or something else entirely, put your phone away for a while and try binge reading something!