Being a follower of Jesus Christ and the fact that God has given us the Bible, it’s natural that I’ve done some reading over time on Christianity.
Of course, the #1 recommended reading is the Bible itself. There are many translations, but here are a few I’ve liked over the years:
- King James Version (KJV) – A bit harder to read due to using an older version of English. But it has some classic phraseology, which is particularly neat to hear for someone who grew up hearing it in various church settings.
- New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) – This version has a soft spot in my heart since it was the version of the first Bible I got with my name on it. Uses more modern English than the KJV, but still has what seems like more classic phraseology (at least to me).
- New International Version (NIV) – This is a pretty popular modern English translation used in many churches, at least during the time when I started attending church after being saved. The language feels a bit easier to read than the above version.
- English Standard Version (ESV) – The ESV is a version that I’ve seen gaining more popularity in churches in the recent years. In part, its translation philosophy might make it a bit more “equivalent” to the original source text, but it may also be a bit harder to read at times than the NIV. Still a good translation.
- New Living Translation (NLT) – This is a great translation in that it uses very modern and simple English while (at least in my opinion) remaining very close to the original text (an impressive feat). A very easy to read and good translation.
- Amplified Bible (AMPC or AMP) – This is the newest addition to my “fun Bible versions to read” list. When translating any text to another language, there are often multiple possibilities of words to choose, and sometimes there may not be a truly good word in the target language. Going to look up the original Hebrew/Greek word (and its meanings) or other reference material is a great exercise, but I often find that it distracts me from the flow of just reading the text. The Amplified version embeds additional words within the text to help communicate the different potential “shades of meaning” within the original text. There are 2 versions of the Amplified Bible out there – a classic (AMPC) and newer (AMP). I personally slightly prefer the classic version, but from what I’ve read so far, they’re both pretty good.
The Bible is far above any other recommended reading out there, but there are some other books on Christianity that I’ve found helpful throughout my life:
- Business for the Glory of God (by Wayne Grudem) – A nice short reading on using business to glorify God.
- Every Good Endeavor (by Timothy Keller) – Covers the concept of work and how we relate it to God.
- Share Jesus Without Fear (by William Fay/Linda Evans Shepherd) – A great book on sharing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with others. Hint – You can’t fail.
- Mere Christianity (by C.S. Lewis) – A classic exploring the Christian faith. A bit harder to read due to using slightly older English but still valuable.
- The Reason for God (by Timothy Keller) – Covers the rationale basis for belief in God. I often think of this as a more modern version of Mere Christianity.
- The Prodigal God (by Timothy Keller) – An excellent book on the parable in Luke 15 typically known as “The Prodigal Son”. This book really wrecked me (but in a good way).
- The Canon of Scripture (by F.F. Bruce) – An excellent (but long and detailed) read on the canonization process of the Bible. There wasn’t necessarily anything mind blowing in this book, but it did give me more confidence in the Bible as we have it today. Recommended if you’d like a better understanding or are just curious how the Bible came to be canonized.