Christians around the world may be at odds when asked about what they think are the best Christian books they have ever read. There may be various personal experiences that affect how they receive a certain book: for example, during a season when you feel on fire for the Lord, you may like books that talk about passion and fiery evangelism. During a season of waiting for a mate, you may have enjoyed a book about waiting for true love, or about pushing off sex until after marriage. However, these kinds of criteria tend to be limited to specific seasons. There are other, more timeless ways to tell whether a book can make it to the list of best books to recommend for Christians.
Whether you have been a Christian for a day or for many years, the best Christian books are still able to touch your heart and speak to you in a very special way. The following principles are important things to take into account when considering what books will make it to the top recommendations list for all believers, both new and old:
- The best Christian books emphasize Jesus as having done it all for us. Many books are labelled Christian books simply because they were written by Christians and intended for Christians, when in fact there is nothing about Jesus in them: these books may actually be a self-help book founded on psychology. If you did not know better, the Bible verses may even sound logical and hitting a nerve every now and then. But if you remember that you became a Christian because of the work of Jesus on the cross, you will be safe to consider whether a book in front of you also exalts the same work on the cross. The apostle Paul describes himself as preaching nothing but Christ and Him crucified. If the greatest evangelist and church planter in all of church history can be satisfied with these two topics, should these not be the ones we look for in every Christian book we read? We are not simply looking for inspirational books that motivate us to do something, but rather, we as Christians are hungry for books that show us everything that Jesus has done out of love for us.
- The best Christian books cause us to fall in love with Him by unveiling His unconditional love for us. There are many Christian books out in the market that hold to a very limited view of the love of God, telling us we need to do something to be pleasing to Him. When we filter this principle through the finished work of the cross, you can see that there is something amiss: if Jesus died for us while we were still sinners, how could He not be pleased with us now that He has already erased our sins? A good example of a Christian book that stays true to this truth of the gospel is Destined to Reign, whose author has an amazingly big view of God and the love He exhibited on the cross.
- The best Christian books unveil the beauty of Jesus. As the author of Passion for Jesus put it, the church nowadays is in a shortage of preachers that talk about the Person of Jesus. Many believers claim to be aware of the divine exchange that happened on the cross, but they remain largely ignorant of the beauty of Jesus, of the wonders of His personality. As such, the best Christian books are those written by people who are seriously intimate with Him and know Him the way He has revealed Himself in the Bible.
Once you find these criteria in place for the books you are considering, you can be sure that they can easily be considered one of the best Christian books in the market. It is no longer about the fame or popularity of the author, and not even whether the book has made it to the New York Times bestseller list; instead, the gauge remains focused on whether it benefits your relationship with Him. If a book deviates from talking about Jesus and makes you focused on yourself and your failures, do not hesitate to put it back on the shelf. But if a book makes you fall more in love with Him, feel free to give copies away to all your friends, as they will surely thank you tremendously for that!