6 Books That Have Stuck with Me Over the Years

I have always enjoyed reading, but I don’t love reading like some love reading. I’ve not made it through many “classics,” I have never been the type that read anything I could get my hands on, I read slow, and don’t have great retention. Despite all that, however, going to seminary changed a lot of my reading habits and whetted my appetite for books that were spiritually formative. For the last decade, I’ve read a lot of books like this. Some were assigned reading for my classes, some came at the recommendation of friends, and others I just happened upon in various ways.

These books have all stuck with me over the years, having a significant impact on how I think, act, and live. Though none is elevated above God’s word itself, many of these have helped me understand Scripture and love God more. These books have edified and encouraged me over the years, and I highly recommend these to you to read for the first time or read again.

The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place
Corrie Ten Boom
Chosen Books, 2006

The Hiding Place is the well-known story of the Ten Boom family, who hid Jews during the Holocaust. They were ultimately caught and sent to concentration camps, but thanks to a clerical error, Corrie Ten Boom was released and ultimately shared her story around the world. The bravery and tenacity of this family, and Corrie in particular, is highly admirable and God used them to save many Jews during this time. However, it is actually Corrie's descriptions of her sister, Betsie, that have stuck with me over the years since I first read this book. Betsie's quiet faith, trust, and hope in Jesus in the midst of the worst of circumstances left me reeling, and I frequently consider her example as one to follow in this Christian life.

The Insanity of God

The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected
Nik Ripken
B&H Books, 2013

I had the privilege of taking a class on the persecuted church from Nik and his wife, Ruth, while I was in seminary. The stories this couple have heard from persecuted Christians, paired with their own experiences on the mission field, are ones I believe that all American Christians should hear. You can read many of them in Nik's book, The Insanity of God. So many Christians around the world, even today, have suffered and sacrificed everything to follow Jesus. Yet they are living representations of Paul's words in Colossians 1:24, when he says that he rejoices in his sufferings. I believe we must continue praying for the present-day persecuted church and learning from martyrs and persecuted Christians who have gone before us. Two other books I recommend along these lines are Foxe's Book of Martyrs and Richard Wurmbrand's Tortured for Christ.

Questioning Evangelism

Questioning Evangelism: Engaging People's Hearts the Way Jesus Did
Randy Newman
Kregel Publications, 2015

I've read a lot of books on evangelism, but this one was by far the most practical and helpful book about how to share the gospel with others. Newman helps the reader learn how to engage nonbelievers in conversations about Jesus, the Bible, and the Christian faith in a way that seems less intimidating than other evangelism methods. While no evangelism book will help us share the gospel if we're simply not willing to (I certainly do not share the gospel as much as I should), Questioning Evangelism is my go-to recommendation for people who are not sure where to start.

The Gospel Comes with a House Key

The Gospel Comes with a House Key
Rosaria Butterfield
Crossway, 2018

If you haven't read Rosaria Butterfield's book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, then I recommend starting with that one before reading The Gospel Comes with a House Key to give you some context into Butterfield's conversion story and motivations behind her writing a book on hospitality. This book significantly informed how I think about the use of my home in ministry.

Life Together

Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian in Community
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
HarperOne, 2009

This might be the only book on this list that I've read multiple times. I love it so much. It's a quick read, but packed with exhortations to readers on how to live in Christian community. There are quite a few butt-kicking quotes, especially for those of us living in a hyper-individualistic culture.

Spiritual Disciplines

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life
Donald S. Whitney
NavPress, 2024

I read an earlier version of Whitney's book years ago and have recommended it countless times since. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life really laid the foundation for my journey towards habit formation and broadened my view of spiritual disciplines beyond Bible reading and prayer.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash