I love books. The old-fashioned kind that are bound and filled with paper pages, ones that are often musty rather than back lit. Dog eared page turners, and with my pen in hand, waiting to be underlined and scribbled in and loaned to a friend. Sigh. Yeah, I know, I should probably get on board the “e” book train, but for now, this girl’s happy to be stuck in the past when it comes to books.
My somewhat out-of-style preferences extend even further. Authors like Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters (uh-oh, I sensed the eye-rolls from some 😉 ) fill a shelf in my bookcase.
When it comes to matters of faith, I am forever grateful to many of the Puritan authors, their contemporaries, and current counterparts who have shaped so much of my understanding and approach to Scripture. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea or choice for a steady diet. There are plenty of times I thoroughly enjoy getting lost in a fun story or even a more substantive read that’s easy to breeze through. But for me, there’s something exhilarating in the language of these 17th and 18th century authors. In fact, JI Packer put my sentiments into words when, referring to the Puritan writers, he said this:
“Form and content though
distinct are connected, and here
I connect them, saying that by
writing as they do, no less than
what they do, these authors fill
their books with God for me,
making me want Him more as
they bring Him closer. That this
material should be
as significant for me in its style
as it is in its substance seems to
me peculiarly happy.”*
Perfectly said, Mr. Packer! I liken this to the rather recent re-discovery of hymns by a younger generation. They get it, Old English and all; often because of the style, not in spite of it.
Those of us who don’t mind the title “bookworm” will likely own the small joy of talking about form and composition. Their subjective nature highlights just how wonderfully unique readers’ preferences are. All that being said, style isn’t the story here — it’s really just a footnote. As with anything that matters, we each need to read and study attentively remembering the admonition of 2 Timothy 2:15, being certain that who we read is “…accurately handling the word of truth.” I’m happy to make recommendations from old and new writers alike, knowing that careful readers will sift and sort and in the end allow the weight of Scripture to carry the day.
And so, I’m pleased to share this book list with you. Should you be inclined to give the old Puritans a try, I’m confident you’ll find them to be chock full of so much depth, encouragement, and refreshment, you’ll never look back. If you find them a smidge tedious for your liking (or a whole lot tedious; no judgement here! 🙂 ), be sure to skip on down the list and read something from JI Packer, Jerry Bridges, RC Sproul, Roberts and Wilson. Their writing is outstanding, approachable, and timeless. Bridges often writes for The Navigators, publications widely read by eighteen to twenty-somethings.
Since, here at Readplenish, the focus is on books that help quench our spiritual thirst, regardless of where we begin or what style of writing we prefer, I hope our reading will make us want Him more. Bring Him closer. After all, that’s what makes a
good really good read!
Readplenish Recommended Book List
A. W. Tozer said “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” When you were first introduced to this blog in the post Let’s Sit for Awhile, I shared that the broad theme for Readplenish is to bring us encouragement by re-directing our focus from adversities to the view we hold of the One who holds us and has promised to order all things for our good. In staying true to that goal, the books on this list have as their primary focus elevating and deepening our view of God and who we are in Him.
This is a small sampling of the great works of these authors — it’s just a place to start. I’ll keep adding to it over time and I’ll only recommend books I have read.
PURITAN WRITERS: Many of these can be purchased under a grouping called “Puritan Paperbacks – Abridged and Made Easy to Read”. My top pick: “The Mystery of Providence” by John Flavel.
Jeremiah Burroughs –
John Flavel –
John Owen –
A.W. Pink –
THESE TWO AUTHORS FOLLOWED IN THE SAME VEIN AS THE PURITAN WRITERS:
William Romaine –
J.C. Ryle –
THE FOLLOWING AUTHORS ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITE CONTEMPORARY WRITERS. My top three picks are: “Trusting God Even When Life Hurts” by Jerry Bridges, “Knowing God” by JI Packer, and “The Holiness of God” by RC Sproul.
Jerry Bridges –
J.I. Packer –
R. C. Sproul –
A.W. Tozer –
THIS IS A COLLECTION OF VARIOUS BOOKS THAT DON’T FALL UNDER ANY PARTICULAR CATEGORY EXCEPT “REALLY GOOD READS”:
Alistair J. Roberts and Andrew Wilson –
WRITTEN PRAYERS AND DEVOTIONALS: