100 Best Books of the Christian Tradition

Top 100While I’m the last person who is truly qualified to offer such a list, Church Times recently offered a list of the 100 Best Books of the Christian Tradition, and, as a graduate student studying the History of Christianity, I happen to read a lot of books belonging to the Christian tradition. And I like making lists. So I figured I would try my hand at listing the 100 Best Book of the Christian Tradition. Before starting, three notes: 1) these are not intended to strictly be the “best” books (I still have a lot to read), bur rather important works worth reading; 2) while the list is in some sort of order, the hierarchy is not overly rigid; and 3) his list contains only books I’ve read at least substantial portions of, and does not include works I have not read in some fashion.

1. The Christian Bible, Old and New Testaments (You’d be surprised how many lists of “important books” leave this off)

2. Confessions, Augustine of Hippo

3. On the Incarnation, Athansius of Alexandria

4. Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis

5. Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis

6. Paradise Lost, John Milton

7. On the Freedom of the Will, Erasmus of Rotterdam

6. Theological Orations, Gregory Nazianzan

7. Against Heresies, Irenaeus of Lyons

8. Apology, Justin Martyr

9. The Divine Comedy, Dante Aligheri

10. Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan

11. City of God, Augustine of Hippo

12. Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius of Caesarea

13. The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer

14. Holy Writing, Sacred Text, John Barton

15. Life of Antony, Athanasius of Alexandria

16. Four Hundred Chapters on Love, Maximus the Confessor

17. Orthodoxy, G. K. Chesterton

18. Epistles, Ignatius of Antioch

19. The Drama of Scripture, Bartholomew and Goheen

20. How Then Should We Live?, Francis Schaeffer

21. Handbook of the Christian Solider, Erasmus of Rotterdam

22. The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative, Hans Frei

23. Simply Jesus, Tom Wright

24. The Intellectual Life, A. G. Sertillanges

25. The Divine Names, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite

26. The Freedom of a Christian, Martin Luther

27. The Freedom of a Christian, Gilbert Meilaender

28. On First Principles, Origen

29. Early Christian Doctrines, J. N. D. Kelly

30. On Grace and Freewill, Augustine of Hippo

31. Pensees, Blaise Pascal

32. Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis

33. Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster

34. The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Mark Noll

35. Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius of Loyola

36. The Heresy of Orthodoxy, Kostenberger and Kruger

37. Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin

38. Hymns on Faith, Ephrem the Syrian (Translation Forthcoming)

39. Revelations of Divine Love, Julian of Norwich

40. Rule of Saint Benedict, Benedict of Nursia

41. The Great Divorce, C. S. Lewis

42. Augustine of Hippo, Peter Brown

43. The Cloud of Unknowing, Anonymous

44. First Epistle to the Corinthians, Clement of Rome

45. Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, John Henry Newman

46. The New Testament and the People of God, N. T. Wright

47. The Epistle to the Romans, Karl Barth

48. Basic Christianity, John Stott

49. Four Quartets, T. S. Eliot

50. Fear and Trembling, Soren Kierkegaard

51. Foxes Book of Martyrs, John Foxe

52. Church Dogmatics, Karl Barth

53. Silence, Shusaka Endo

54. Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity, Anonymous

55. Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives, Thaddeus of Vitovnica

56. The Experience of God, David Bentley Hart

57. An Introduction to Systematic Theology, Wolfhart Pannenberg

58. Sit, Walk, Stand, Watchman Nee

59. Ground and Grammar of Theology, Thomas Torrance

60. The Nature of Doctrine, George Lindbeck

61. The Quest for the Historical Jesus, Albert Schweitzer

62. Either/Or, Soren Kierkegaard

63. Pilgrim Theology, Michael Bauman

64. The Mind of the Maker, Dorothy Sayers

65. Life of Marcina, Gregory of Nyssa

66. The Orthodox Way, Timothy Ware

67. The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren

68. Mystical Theology, Pseudo-Dionysius

69. On Religion, Friederich Schleiermacher

70. The Canon of the New Testament, Bruce Metzger

71. Understanding the Times, David Noebel

72. On the Unity of the Catholic Church, Cyprian of Carthage

73. A Reformation Debate, Calvin and Sadoleto

74. The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, Anonymous

75. The Story of Christianity, David Bentley Hart

76. Commentary on the Our Father, Tertullian of Carthage

77. Credo, Donald Williams

78. Utopia, Thomas More

79. Dialogues, Pope Gregory the Great

80. The Taste for the Other, Gilbert Meilaender

81. The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien

82. Life of Moses, Gregory of Nyssa

83. Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Bede

84. In Memory of Her, Elizabeth Schussler-Fiorenza

85. Theology of Liberation, Gustavo Gutierrez

86. A Science of God?, Austin Farrer

87. Stride Toward Freedom, Martin Luther King Jr.

88. God and Human Suffering, Douglas John Hall

89. Hymns on Paradise, Ephrem the Syrian

90. The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James

91. The Idea of the Holy, Rudolph Otto

92. The Rise of Western Christendom, Peter Brown

93. Interior Castle, Theresa of Avila

94. Major Works, Gerard Manley Hopkins

95. The Dark Night of the Soul, St. John of the Cross

96. A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken

97. Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI

98. Just Jesus, Walter Wink

99. Reasons to Believe, Scott Hahn

100. The Long Loneliness, Dorothy Day

What books would you add? What else do I need to read?


Published by Jacob J. Prahlow

Husband of Hayley. Dad of Bree and Judah. Lead pastor at Arise Church. MATS from Saint Louis University, MA from Wake Forest University, BA from Valparaiso University. Theologian and writer here and at Conciliar Post. Find me on social at @pastorjakestl

3 thoughts on “100 Best Books of the Christian Tradition

  1. Thanks for sharing this list of good Christian Books! I’ve read at least half of the books on the list and right now, I’m really hooked into the works of Pastor Keion Henderson, https://www.keionhenderson.com/books/. I think his books will really make it to the top too since it is well and carefully written and really intelligently thought of!

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