top of page

14 Amazing Christian Books of faith, truth and love

14 Amazing Christian Books of faith, truth and love
14 Amazing Christian Books of Faith, truth, and Love. From the 1st to the 21st centuries these classic texts are pearls of great price.

Christian books of the 1st century:

70: Luke, Matthew, Mark, and John: New Testament

The first book we see in the history of Christianity is the New Testament, completed by 70 AD. It is made up of 27 smaller books, Gospels, history, and letters. The 4 Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles qualify as the first history of Christianity books, the Gospels recording the life of Jesus, and Acts the history of the early church.

Matthew, Mark, and John were evangelists whose texts were based on eyewitness testimony of the disciples, Matthew and John both part of the 12, and Mark the chronicler of Peter’s testimony.

St. Luke is the first Christian historian. He researched all that had been written about Jesus to make a record for a noble patron. He continued his work with his own eye-witness experiences as the traveling companion of St. Paul. The only Gentile author of the New Testament, Luke was a Greek with great literary skill and an excellent reporter:

Luke’s care as a historian has been vindicated by research. He has come under some pretty heavy scrutiny, but he has always been vindicated.
Whether it is the title of an official or the geographical detail, Luke always comes out shining. So, he was a METICULOUS HISTORIAN. He was very careful.

Luke’s work is easy to read as well as accurate, and he had exceptionally good primary sources.

93: Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews

I first encountered this long history (20 volumes) in 1956 right after I saw “The Ten Commandments.” It was from this book that the story of Moses and the Exodus was drawn. It is important in Christian history because it also mentions Jesus, the FIRST SECULAR ACCOUNT to do so.

100: Didache

The full title is the Lord’s Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations. The author has not been identified, although some have suggested St. Matthew.

It contains a WRITTEN CATECHISM and general instructions for worship, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, as well as some guidelines on church government and organization.

Christian books of the 4th century:

324: Eusebius: Ecclesiastical History

Eusebius’s 10-volume Ecclesiastical History has earned him the title of “FATHER OF CHURCH HISTORY.” A highly respected scholar of Caesarea, he had access to the large library of Origen and used it in his history of the early church.

He lived 260-339 as a witness to the persecutions of Diocletian and Galerius and was overjoyed when Constantine converted from paganism and led the Roman Empire to Christianity.

He has been criticized for being overly ecstatic in his praise for Constantine, but it is understandable that he should rejoice in this great blessing.

381: Gregory of Nyssa: Life of Moses

Gregory’s Life of Moses can be seen as the first biography of Christian history, but it is much more than that. GREGORY retells the story of Moses’ life and ministry from Exodus and Numbers but sees it as a spiritual/mystical journey. It views it as:

a pattern of the progress of the SOUL through the temptations of the world to a vision of God.
A notable emphasis of Gregory’s teaching is the principle that the spiritual life is not one of static perfection but of constant progress.

The Life of Moses is a great read and a good devotional book to meditate on. I have been very blessed by it.

1563: John Foxe: Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

This book fascinated me as a boy. The abridged version I read of several hundred pages was illustrated by 150 woodcuts of martyrs being burned or otherwise executed for their Protestant faith.

It was published when Protestant Queen Elizabeth I had just ascended to the throne after the death of her sister “Bloody” Mary who had burned some 300 dissenters for their faith.
I was horrified by what I read and saw depicted but also deeply impressed at the faith of these men and women of God.

This book has been HIGHLY INFLUENTIAL and doomed Roman Catholics in England and Scotland to being excluded from politics and society for hundreds of years.

1650: Ussher: Annals of the World Through 70 AD

The 1300-page ANNALS OF THE WORLD has had tremendous influence in Christian history and beyond. Its full title is “Annals of the Old Testament, deduced from the first origins of the world, the chronicle of Asiatic and Egyptian matters together produced from the beginning of historical time up to the beginnings of Maccabees.”

Ussher was the finest scholar of his day and fixed the creation of the world on October 23, 4004 BC.

This was a thoughtful analysis based on the knowledge of his day, consistent with the thinking of Isaac Newton and Johannes Kepler.
Modern evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould observes “that that he was doing the best he could with the tools and the knowledge that he had.”

These dates were printed in the King James Bibles we read, and millions of Christians accepted them as fact and still do today, I am among them!

1739: Jonathan Edwards; History of the Work of Redemption

The History of the Work of Redemption is one of my favorite books. I discovered it as a college student and have read it regularly since then.

It has the widest scope of the history of Christianity books, from Eternity before the world began to Eternity beginning when Jesus returns for His bride and to establish His everlasting kingdom.

Edwards explains that man, the world, and everything that exists was created for one purpose: the work of Jesus Christ to bring salvation to the world.

It is a breathtaking book, inspiring and encouraging as it shows us the MAGNIFICENCE OF THE LORD JESUS and the priceless value of our souls.

Christian books of the Enlightenment:

1776: Edward Gibbon: Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Gibbon’s 6-volume literary masterpiece is another type of history altogether from Edwards’ spiritual focus that sees Jesus CHRIST AS THE CENTER and reason for everything else. Gibbon was among the first to secularize history and sees a natural cause for everything. In a famous passage, he says:

“The theologian may indulge the pleasing task of describing Religion as she descended from Heaven, arrayed in her native purity. A more melancholy duty is imposed on the historian. He must discover the inevitable mixture of error and corruption which she contracted in long residence upon earth, among a weak and degenerate race of beings.”

Gibbon sees the belief in a future life after death and in miracles as factors for Christianity’s success. He concludes that the abandonment of the ancient Roman religion and the adoption of Christian beliefs contributed to Rome’s decline and fall. (AUGUSTINE REFUTES these views in the City of God.) But the scope of Gibbon’s work goes beyond the sack of Rome and continues through the fall of Constantinople to 1453.

Along the way, he gives us the first and best secular history of Christianity.

Christian books of the 19th century:

1883: Alfred Edersheim: The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

This is a classic, an IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS of the four Gospels with an emphasis on geography, the culture, and customs of the Jews of Jesus’ time. Edersheim was a missionary converted from Judaism, and his love for Jesus shines out on every page.

It is worth getting a copy if you can. The 2-VOLUMES COMBINED are 1156 pages, but you will learn things about Jesus you can learn nowhere else.
He identified 456 Old Testament references to Jesus.

My Dad, not a reader, valued it highly, and so will you.

1923: J. Gresham Machen: Christianity and Liberalism

A SCHOLARLY BOOK by a Presbyterian Professor, Christianity and Liberalism shows that Liberalism, also known as Modernism, is not Christianity at all, but an entirely different and non-redemptive religion. Machen sees this movement as dangerous:

the present time is a time of conflict; the great redemptive religion which has always been known as Christianity is battling against a diverse type of religious belief, which is only the more destructive of the Christian faith because it makes use of traditional Christian terminology.

This is an ongoing conflict we are all involved in. After a gripping introduction, Machen goes on to refute this enemy in these areas:

  • “Doctrine”

  • “God & Man”

  • “The Bible”

  • “Christ”

  • “Salvation”

  • “The Church”

If there is only one book of these that you read, let it be this one.

1931: E H Broadbent: The Pilgrim Church

All the history of Christianity Books you will read deal with Christianity has a whole, and it is a whole in terms of the universal Church. But historians tend to look at it from their own church or church background.

Histories are about the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches once we get past the “PRIMITIVE CHURCH,” i.e., the independent local assemblies or congregations sprung up fro the preaching of the Gospel.

The Pilgrim Church records how believers met in independent local congregations from apostolic days to the present, feeding on the Word of God and trusting the Lord Jesus to take care of them. (My favorite book on church history!)

It certainly opened my eyes to the grace and power of the Lord to keep His church throughout history and to His coming. You will love this book.

1976: Paul Johnson: A History of Christianity

This is the best one-volume history of Christianity ever written. I first read it in the 1980’s and have returned to it more than once. It is a nice balance of detail and analysis, an enjoyable read with a wide range of EXCELLENT REVIEWS. Here is a famous one:

Paul Johnson’s study of Christianity, from his namesake Apostle to Pope John XXIII, more particularly in relation to the role in world history of the Roman Catholic Church and other institutional manifestations, can only be described as masterly.
It combines a great wealth of scholarship, including many fascinating byways as well as the main highways, with a vigorous, confident style, a kind of innate intensity which carries the narrative along so that it rarely falters and is never dull. – Malcom Muggeridge

Christian books of the 21st century:

2003: N.T. Wright: The Resurrection of the Son of God

This is by far the most significant read on our list. Wright makes the definitive case for the RESURRECTION OF JESUS being the culmination of His ministry and His victory over death. An Anglican bishop and theologian himself, Wright looks at and demolishes the theories that dismiss the physical resurrection of Jesus as reality.

It is a challenging read at 850 pages, but well worth the satisfaction of seeing this thoughtful and compelling affirmation of our faith.

Wright argues boldly that Jesus bodily resurrection is the only plausible way to interpret the empty tomb and the unwavering testimony of those to whom he had appeared.
It was the power of His Resurrection that convinced His followers He is the Son of God.

Each of these 14 “pearls” has been a blessing to me, and I hope will bless you too. Such pearls are rare. In my long career, I have discovered a few; perhaps Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations in business, Machievelli’s the Prince in government/consulting and the New England Primer in education. How wise, loving, and kind God is to give us such pearls. Sadly, many people cannot see their value. In order to see, Jesus told a wise seeker, “You must be BORN AGAIN" And seeing these pearls will lead you to something greater still, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

You can listen or sing along here:

Thine be the glory Risen conquering Son Endless is the victory Thou o’er death hast won Angels in bright raiment Rolled the stone away Kept the folded grave clothes Where Thy body lay Thine be the glory Risen conquering Son Endless is the victory Thou o’er death hast won Lo! Jesus meets us Risen from the tomb Lovingly, He greets us Scatters fear and gloom Let the church with gladness Hymns of triumph sing For her Lord now liveth Death hath lost its sting Thine be the glory Risen conquering Son Endless is the victory Thou o’er death hast won No more we doubt Thee Glorious Prince of life Life is naught without Thee Aid us in our strife Make us more than conquerors Through Thy deathless love Bring us safe through Jordan To Thy home above Thine is the glory Risen conquering Son Endless is the victory Thou o’er death hast won Hallelujah, Amen


Songwriters: George Frideric Handel / Peter Miller Thine Be the Glory lyrics © Decca Music Group Ltd., Novello & Co. Ltd.

19 views0 comments


bottom of page