Please note, these are the ten most influential books for me personally. I am not saying that I believe that these are the most influential books in Christianity. I am sure there are some big ones that are escaping my thoughts right now, but these are good.

Once you read them, I would like to see what makes your list.

10. What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey. A wonderful illustration about what grace looks like in real life.

9. Proper Confidence by Leslie Newbigin. Helped establish a paradigm of thinking that was no longer tied to modernism and not so fearful of postmodernism.

8. The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Mark Noll. This book still hurts to read, but Noll provided a much needed mirror for us to look at. We should revisit this thesis until change happens.

7. Putting the Amazing back in Grace by Michael Horten. Placed the nail in the coffin of my reformed theology (ok, maybe not the best wording, but you know what I mean). Great book.

6. The Cross of Christ by John Stott. Simply a master piece about understanding what Christ did on the cross.

5. A Survivor’s Guide to Theology by M. James Sawyer. Jim, who has sense become a good friend, has written what I think is the best introduction to theology that is out there. Jim helped me to be comfortable criticizing my Evangelical faith, all the while remaining Evangelical. *Unfortunately it is out of print…Come on Zondervan! How could you give this jewel up? I’ll put a permanent link on this blog to the book if you pick it back up!

4. Through Gates of Splendor by Elizebeth Elliot. How can I judge the impact of the story Jim Elliot on myself and all of Evangelicalism. He is an iconic figure who serves to reorient me to what life is all about. If you have not read this story, shame on you.

3. Love Your God with All Your Mind by J.P. Moreland. Bridged the dichotomy of popular Evangelicalism between faith and reason. Gave me permission and a mandate to use my mind.

2. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Of course. Who’s top ten does not include this? Helped me to open the door to an intellectual approach to Christianity when I was 21.

1. Grace Awakening by Chuck Swindoll. Life changing. Life changing. Life changing. The right book at the right time that set the tone for my ministry and, most importantly, my life. I will never be able to thank Chuck enough. The audio series is a must have also.

Honorable mention: Romans John Stott, The Hiding Place Corrie ten Boom, Twilight of Atheism by Alister McGrath.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    23 replies to "Top Ten Most Influential Books I have Ever Read (Beside the Bible)"

    • bondChristian

      Excellent list. Some I’d not seen before in here. I’d bump The Hiding Place into the list though… personally. One other I’d recommend off the top of my head, Humility by Andrew Murray. Nice a cheap through Amazon, short and sweet to read, insanely powerful book.

      -Marshall Jones Jr.

    • Mike Tibbetts

      I’ve read 5 of them, and you are right, they are great books whose authors have impacted my life.
      I’ve read What’s So Amazing About Grace, Love God with all your Mind, Mere Christianity, and Grace Awakening. And I do have a couple books by Elizebeth Elliot.

      I would include as two of my top 10 books, True Spirituality by Francis Schaeffer, and the other is by his wife Edith Schaeffer, Affliction. Her book on affliction has helped me much.

    • Rick

      Some of these are excellent. Knowing God by Packer should be mentioned too.

      I also recommend another book, The Bible, as well.


    • Rick


      I see in your title that you have The Bible covered.

    • Michael L

      Great list… surprised to not see any historical writings in there (think On the Incarnation or Confessions or similar).

      I was expecting more of that considering the intro of ten most influential books for me personally Shows how little I know you 😉

      In Him

    • elnwood

      All of your top ten most influential books are Christian books? Or are you purposely limiting your top ten to Christian books?

    • Ed Kratz



    • Dave Allen

      Some of mine, in Stott’s Cross of Christ, would include —
      Screwtape Letters–good intro to Lewis the thinker;
      Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew–opened my eyes a little;
      Walter Kaiser, Toward an Exegetical Theology–we get our theology from the text;
      Gordon Fee, Paul, The Spirit, and the People of God–ignited for me a passion (dare i say, “lust”?) for the Holy Spirit;
      Jonathan Edwards–several of his essays/sermons teach much about being thorough;
      Iain Duguid’s commentary on Ezekiel –causing me to re-think how to interpret prophetic/apocalyptic literature.

      My wife got me “Who’s Afraid of the Holy Spirit?”, edited by D.Wallace, for Christmas. This one is going to have a lot of influence on me.

    • Dan Panetti

      I would strongly agree with Marshall Jones – Humility by Andrew Murray is a top ten read. I would also include The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life by William Law, and Lectures on Calvinism by Abraham Kuyper – all keepers! I would also throw out there AW Pink’s The Attributes of God along with anything J.C. Ryle wrote – How Readest Thou and Thoughts for Young Men are personal gems. Homeward Bound by Hartman, World-Proof Your Kids by Sisemore and Crazy Love by Chan are some of the my most recent favorite reads along with Batterson’s In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day! For non-Christian books that have been influential, I would add Brave New World and Amusing Ourselves to Death and any classical literature written by a Russian! I would also give a thumbs up to Anne Graham Lotz’ latest The Magnificent Obsession as well as just about anything written by James Emery White, Os Guinness, John MacArthur, Packer, Foster or Piper…some great books by those guys. Last by not least, Prayer by EM Bounds…great book!

    • […] me (part 1) Two days ago, Michael Patton’s post at Parchment and Pen was on  the Top Ten Most Influential Books I have Ever Read (Beside the Bible). Besides finding his post interesting just for its content, it also made me think about what books […]

    • YnottonY

      It’s Michael “Horton,” not “Horten.”

      A quick historical note: I would encourage you to differentiate between being “Calvinistic” and being “Reformed,” since equating those two is leading to some confusion today. The former can stand for a particular soteriology, but the latter term should be used as describing a much broader historically confessional and covenantal position. If one is not at least confession and covenantal [not dispensational, progressive or otherwise], then they should not consider themselves “Reformed.” I am not saying this because I consider myself Reformed. I do not. I just think we should be historically accurate regarding that tradition and theology. Many Reformed theologians are rightly complaining about the confusion, as they know it does not arise out of an interest to quibble about words, but to make Christians historically aware of certain orthodox Reformed boundaries. Perhaps you might have said “my Reformed soteriology,” instead of “my Reformed theology,” as that is probably what you meant.

      Anyway, just a suggestion for the future.

      Grace to you,

      p.s. James Sire’s The Universe Next Door was one of the first books that caused me to be much more self-conscious of my own Christian worldview and other conceptual systems. Ronald Nash’s Worldviews in Conflict book supplments it well.

      “For any of us to be fully conscious intellectually we should not only be able to detect the world views of others but be aware of our own–why it is ours and why in light of so many options we think it is true.” –James Sire

    • Me

      Regarding the book “that nailed it” regarding your reformed theology, would you please recommend one that will help me with the “L” in TULLIP?
      I can’t seem to get past limited atonement. Logically, I’m there, but can’t seem to find where the plain teaching of Scripture actually teaches this point. By the way, I’ve just starting the TTP which is making me even more critical.


    • Josh


      Brother, I think that this link will help you out. Piper has a study guide that for small groups that they just put out as well (notice the right side bar). This was my very same hang up. Limited seems harsh at face value, I know. No matter your stance on it, we all limit atonment to those who believe… sorry we don’t need to get into it here and now. I like Particular Atonment or Promised Atonement. It’s the same meaning, But free grace is limited to those He wills to save as children of the promise, rather than those He leaves out. These terms helped me wrestle down what the stance means by excluding and including those whom He wills… all to the praise of the glory of His grace (Eph1:3-14) Ephesians is deep but clear, if you see from the election of God rather than free will. So that no one may boast. Amen, this draws us to a deeper worship and revalation of grace and how it works inspite of us and according to his promise( Gal 3:29)

      In Christ in His grace I hope this all helps… If not… Seek Christ earestly and pray for guidence, for the spirit that reveals to us the truth (Eph 1:17). In His Love, Josh

    • Ed Kratz


      No book or work has ever nailed it with regard to Limited Atonement. While I hole to limited atonement/particular redemption, I have never help to it to the degree that I do others. Biblically, a very strong case can be made for universal atonement. Logically, limited atonement fits better. I think that if any work ever claims to definitively give the right answer one way or the other, it is not being honest.

      With this issue, I think there are some things that we are missing. Therefore, I tenatively hold to my position (but I could change tomorrow!)

    • […] CMP: 10 Most Influential Books Read… EVER! […]

    • marcus collins

      Some of those which have most influenced me:

      Augustine, “Confessions”
      Mark Buchanan, “Your God is too safe”
      Larry Crabb, “Finding God”
      Eugene Peterson, “Run with the horses”
      Philip Yancey, “The Bible Jesus read”
      Roland Bainton, “Here I stand”
      Elisabeth Elliot, “Through gates of splendour”
      Lesslie Newbigen, “Foolishness to the Greeks”
      James Sire, “Discipleship of the mind”
      Francis Schaeffer, “The mark of a Christian”, “The God Who is there”, “Escape from reason”, “He is there and He is not silent”
      Will Metzger, “Tell the truth”

    • Sam

      Enjoyed reading your list of books. I am a little confused, however. Grace Awakening is a strong free grace book. Stott and Horton are very opposed to that soteriological view point. I am wondering what your position on Free Grace v. Lordship salvation is. If you have written on this already, forgive me. I will search your site more. Thanks.
      Sam Smith

    • Becky

      I’d add The Lost Daughter by Daralyse Lyons to this list. It is beautiful, tragic, real, and a way out of sin into human redemption and salvation. It mostly appeals to a female audience

    • Michael

      How about Pilgrim’s Progress?

    • Salah

      one of the best spiritual books I have read is called “wounded by love” by a modern elder and saint from Greece.

      this is very difficult book for reading by some one who love God with his/her mind.
      However, once you start to open your heart to the true “love” with purity of heart and humility, then you will encounter the divine LOVE which is the source of all loves in the Universe.
      You will “see” God in a very new way that you never knew before.
      love and peace in Christ

    • Donnie

      The books in the list are good but I somehow wonder why Packer’s “Knowing God” isn’t there and any (like Desiring God or Don’t Waste Your Life) of John Piper’s books.

    • Carl D'Agostino


      The Third Wave Toffler

      The Secular City Cox

      Science and Health M B Eddy

      The Hidden Persuaders Packard

    • Kirk Joran

      Forgive me. I just stumbled across this. And I have 15 books, lifted from a facebook entry in which we listed our top 15 most influential.

      1) Perelandra (CS Lewis)
      2) The Confessions of Saint Augustine
      3) Pilgrim at Tinkers Creek (Annie Dillard)
      4) Tarzan of the Apes (with Ape-English Dictionary) Edgar Rice Burroughs
      5) The Danny Orlis Series (?)
      6) One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch (Alexander Solzhenitsyn)
      7) Roots (Alex Hailey)
      8) Let Justice Roll Down (John Perkins)
      9) The Poems of William Blake
      10) Bondage of the Will (Martin Luther)
      11) Peace Child (Don Richardson)
      12) Elements of Style (Strunk and White)
      13) How should we then Live (Francis Schaeffer)
      14) Slaughterhouse Five (Kurt Vonnegut)
      15) My Walk Across America (Peter Jenkins)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.