Okay, so the title is misleading. What I actually have is a completely unscientific list of influential books as given to me by the readers of this blog.

On Monday I gave away some free books. In order to be entered in the drawing you had to leave a comment naming a book that has been influential in your Christian life. 326 responses later, here are the most important books for people like you.

1. John Piper, Desiring God

2. Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology

3. J.I. Packer, Knowing God

4. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

5. John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life

6. R.C. Sproul, Holiness of God

7. Jerry Bridges, Disciplines of Grace

8. C.J. Mahaney, Cross-Centered Life

9. Mark Driscoll and Gary Breshears, Doctrine

10 (tie). R.C. Sproul, Chosen by God; John Piper, God is the Gospel; Joshua Harris, Dug Down Deep; Francis Chan, Crazy Love; David Platt, Radical

I can’t help but make a few, haphazard observations

  • These are all good books. With a couple I’d want to throw in a few cautions (especially Mere Christianity), but on the whole these are important books that deserve to be read. I’m glad they have been.
  • Thank God for John Piper. Nine of his books were mentioned as the most influential. Next in line, J.I. Packer and Jerry Bridges with four a piece. R.C. Sproul had three books.
  • By a wide margin the three most influential books were Desiring God, Grudem’s Systematic Theology, and Knowing God. After that there’s a drop to Mere Christianity, then another big drop to all the other books.
  • Except for Lewis, everyone on the list is still alive. You could take this as a bad thing (start reading the classics!). But I take this to be normal: God raises up men in every generation to speak and teach.
  • Some dead guys who made the list: John Owen, John Bunyan, Richard Baxter, A.W. Tozer, Augustine, Charles Spurgeon, Thomas Brooks, Louis Berkhof, Horatius Bonar, John Calvin, Martin Luther, J.C. Ryle, J. Gresham Machen, Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
  • Women who made the list: Elyse Fitzpatrick (Idols of the Heart)

There’s nothing left to say except tolle lege, take up and read.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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