Books, books, books

It was great to have Paul Levy with us at our 20s/30s today, talking about reading – first, reading our Bibles, second, Christian books.

Here are some of the books Paul mentioned and that we as elders would highly recommend: 

“Big picture” books

The Westminster Confession of Faith – This is what every minister and elder in the IPC is convinced the Scripture teaches. I like this copy; it’s just £3, small and slim. The language is hard, but it’s like digging a gold mine, and puts truths together from Scripture brilliantly. Well worth investing in.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism – I wrote the first church blog post on this catechism. 107 questions and answers. It’s worth memorising. I’ve been reading this for about 25 years and it’s still a regular port of call. Ask me for a copy and I’ll give it to you for free.

The Westminster Larger Catechism – This is the big brother to the Shorter Catechism. Don’t try and memorise it, but if you want to dig into a specific doctrine, this is a great place to start. Use the Scripture references to explore the topic.

Ecumenical Creeds and Reformed Confessions – This is the version to get, modern English and nicely put together. It contains the creeds, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and Canons of Dort.

A Faith to Live By, Donald Macleod – A great introduction to doctrine, i.e. the Bible’s teaching on a number of topics.

Redemption Accomplished and Applied, John Murray – This is stretching, but John Murray will get you thinking about what it means to be saved by Christ in ways that you’ve never thought before.


See this post here for more suggestions on commentaries, but anything by Alec Motyer, Dale Ralph Davis, or Christopher Ash is well worth it. Aim to get familiar with the Book of Romans, which acts like a key that will unlock all the other rooms of the Bible to you.

Books about Jesus

Man of Sorrows, King of Glory, Jonty Rhodes – We need to read more books about Jesus our Lord, and this helps expand our thinking from a narrow focus on Christ’s cross, to his whole ministry of humiliation and exaltation.

Knowing Christ, Mark Jones – This has short chapters that will get you worshipping Christ. Don’t be put off if you find the first few chapters a bit hard going. I’ve plundered this book in my preaching.

The Cross He Bore and Is it nothing to you?, Frederick Leahy – these are short reflections on Christ and his cross.

The Person of Christ, Donald Macleod – this one’s a bit more ambitious, but if you want to be ambitious about something, be ambitious to think carefully and accurately about Jesus!

Books on Church

Devoted to God’s Church, Sinclair Ferguson – absolutely everyone should read this book. It’s encouraging, practical, and says exactly the things we need to hear to think about church properly.

The House that Jesus Built, Dale Ralph Davis – this is a very short, easy read. Again, a free copy is available if you ask me for one.

Glorious Body of Christ, R B Kuiper – this is a larger book, but the chapters are short and were originally written as articles. Kuiper puts things simply but profoundly, and will open up all kinds of wonderful aspects of the church you’ve probably never considered.

What Happens When We Worship, Jonathan Landry Cruse – this walks through why gathering together with God’s people to worship God is the most important thing we do in our week.

Biography/church history

Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Andrew Bonar – a godly, gifted, intense Scottish minister, who died young

The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Iain Murray – a Welsh minister, who had a huge influence on the British evangelical church of the 20th century. One of my heroes; I grew up in a church with a lot of people shaped by his ministry. He was committed to a vision of church with preaching the word at the centre.

George Whitefield, Arnold Dallimore – there’s a bigger two volume version if this isn’t enough for you, but this tells the exciting story of Whitefield preaching the gospel around Britain and the American colonies in the 18th century.

Best book for a new Christian

Following Jesus, Andrew Randall – 15 chapters that look at essential things to consider as a disciple of Jesus.