I have always read many different types of books, but early on developed a love of fiction. I discovered only recently that truth is often more engrossing and powerful than fiction, especially when it comes to reading biographies of great men and women that knew and followed their calling from God.
Click on the links to see some books that I especially recommend in the following categories.
Every year, John Piper studies the life of a significant individual and teaches about them at the Desiring God pastor’s conference. Listening to this series of biographies is a great introduction to these men; he also provides recommended books to read for more in-depth study.
Here is John Piper’s explanation of why you should read biographies.
Christian biography, well chosen, combines all sorts of things pastors need but have so little time to pursue. Good biography is:
- History and guards us against chronological snobbery (as C. S. Lewis calls it).
- Theology—the most powerful kind—because it burst forth from the lives of people like us.
- Adventure and suspense, for which we have a natural hunger.
- Psychology and personal experience, which deepen our understanding of human nature (especially ourselves).
Good biographies of great Christians make for remarkably efficient reading.
Another source of simple biographies is the Christian Heroes series published by YWAM. If you are intimidated by books with footnotes written by people with academic degrees, this series is a great place to start and is also appropriate for teenagers.
In June of 2014, I facilitated a class in Reading Christian Biographies to Strengthen your Faith. Reading Biographies Class Material includes timelines for the life of Adoniram Judson, Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor, Charles Spurgeon, George Muller, William Wilberforce, George Whitfield, and C.S. Lewis.