Amazon offers thousands upon thousands of books for sale. You can get a hard copy, you can download them to your Kindle, or you can use a Kindle app to read them on your computer. Getting books is easier now than ever before. Most books are read once and then put on a shelf or given away. But what books actually stand the test of time? What books should every Christian family have and use regularly? Here are my top 5:
Note: This list assumes that at least one parent and at least one child in the home. This list would change a bit for “empty nesters” or those without children.
#1: The Bible
The Bible is first without question. People are often very quick to read books about the Bible or books that use the Bible, but let’s face it–far too many people don’t read the Bible itself. Let’s not forget that God wrote a book. Let’s not forget that God’s book is a great story! Renew afresh each day your commitment to the Lord Jesus for all he has done for you.
#2: A Journal
Yes, a journal is my number 2 book. Why? Because some people read the Bible and do nothing about it. The Bible was meant to be lived, not merely read (James 1:22). A journal or notebook is kept near for the purpose of taking notes, writing applications, writing songs based on Scripture, or writing out prayers to God. In this journal you can reflect on Christ, the cross, the glories of heaven, your freedom to serve the living God, and to express thanks. You can also use it to record several ways that God’s grace needs to impact your life each day.
#3: A Commentary
I think we know that the Bible is basically about Jesus and his life, ministry, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and promised return. But in what ways is the Bible about Jesus? That question is not as easy. So get a good commentary (or two or three) and read what the author says about the text. It may be that the author of the commentary has some insights you had not discovered or thought about before. A commentary is a great way to help you take a step of growth in your understanding of the Bible.
- Beginning level: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. This is a commentary on the entire Bible. This commentary is short (as commentaries go) and yet generally helpful.
- Intermediate level: The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. This is a 12 volume set. The information is much better and much more detailed. It is also more expensive and much larger.
- Advanced level: Commentaries on individual books (The Pillar series is one of my favorites). This option can be expensive and would require a lot more reading.
#4: A book on marriage
Your relationship and commitment to Jesus will find expression in your relationship with your spouse. If you don’t love Jesus very much, it will be easy to be sinfully angry, impatient, bitter, unkind, and unloving to your spouse. If you don’t love Jesus very much, you will think about how wonderful you are and how lucky and blessed your spouse is to have you. On the other hand, if you have been spending time at the foot of the cross, you will be willing to give grace because you have received so much. If you have been meditating on the importance of giving Jesus first place, you will respond with kindness when evil is shown, you will forgive even though you were hurt, you will not become bitter even if it seems you are not good enough. At the same time, a Bible-based book on marriage will give you some very practical ways you can seek to fulfill your responsibilities toward your spouse.
Recommended: Strengthening Your Marriage by Wayne Mack
#5: A book on parenting
Once we have children, it is very easy to parent for all the wrong reasons. We might want to have well behaved children so people think highly of us; we might want smart children or athletic children or children that have similar skills and interests that we do. However, parenting is about raising children to love, honor, and worship the Lord Jesus. Reading a parenting book that puts the focus on the heart and on our goal as parents will greatly help us live out a Christ-centered life in our home.
Recommended: Age of Opportunity by Paul Tripp
Please let us know your favorites as well. Happy reading.