The best books on Christianity

60 authors have picked their favorite books about Christianity and why they recommend each book.

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The Mythmaker

By Hyam Maccoby,

Book cover of The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity

If we only had Paul to rely on for our knowledge of Jesus’ life, all we’d know is that he was born, was Jewish, had brothers and died. Written by a British academic, The Mythmaker is a break-through book that shows how Paul created Christianity by developing a mythology/theology about the significance of the death of Jesus as a Christ. Maccoby’s thought is further developed in my book, How Jesus Became Christian (2008) that demonstrates how different Paul’s religion was from that of Jesus.


Who am I?

Barrie is an historian specializing in early Christianity. Today we now know that there were many different movements within the first few centuries, each claiming to be Christian. James’ Jewish group differed from Paul’s Christ religion and both differed from Gnostic Christianity which saw Jesus as a teacher of insight. None was dominant. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gnostic writings add an intriguing overlay. The books selected are those that open up new ways of understanding the historical development of Christianity. Each in its own way has created a paradigm shift.


I wrote...

Searching for the Messiah: Unlocking the "Psalms of Solomon" and Humanity's Quest for a Savior

By Barrie Wilson,

Book cover of Searching for the Messiah: Unlocking the "Psalms of Solomon" and Humanity's Quest for a Savior

What is my book about?

An award-winning historian of religion examines the role a “messiah” plays in Western culture, from its pre-Christian roots to modern interpretations of a savior. Over the centuries, people have longed for a messiah, whether a religious figure such as Jesus, a political leader, or even in popular culture. The messianic quest emerges most acutely during difficult times when people experience a sense of powerlessness and desperation. But the concept of a messiah—a savior—has its root in the writings of ancient Judaism and early Christianity, evolving from an anointed leader to universal savior. Wilson turns to a little understood pre-Christian text, “The Psalms of Solomon,” which set the stage for messianic expectation just prior to the birth of Jesus.

Scandinavian Mythology

By H.R. Ellis Davidson,

Book cover of Scandinavian Mythology

The author is one of the most renowned scholars of the ancient Northern world. This book is here because I find it a gold mine of artifacts and all are accompanied by the most extensive illustrations possible on every page. There are burial ships for journeying to Valhalla, pictures of ax men on the rampage in England, a solar disc on wheels being pulled by a bronze horse, elaborately carved prows of Viking ships, Christ crucified carved as being held prisoner entangled in the tree Yggdrasil. If you can’t make the journey, but are intrigued by the artifacts of the pagan-Christian world, this is the book to settle down with by the fireplace on a cold winter’s eve.


Who am I?

Father G. Ronald Murphy is a priest and a professor emeritus of German at Georgetown University. In addition to numerous books on Germanic literature, he discovered the original iron cross that was brought to Maryland on the Ark and the Dove by the first settlers. He found the cross on a pallet in the University Archives, and it is now on exhibition at the Smithsonian.


I wrote...

Tree of Salvation: Yggdrasil and the Cross in the North

By G. Ronald Murphy,

Book cover of Tree of Salvation: Yggdrasil and the Cross in the North

What is my book about?

The book covers the amazing artifacts and poetry in wood and stone caused by the meeting of the Christian story and Northern myth. The book describes the meaning of the tree churches of Norway, tree trunk coffins in England and Germany, the oldest English poem, Dream of the Rood, burial crosses with the interred warrior on the front, and many more objects that I find endlessly fascinating. So fascinating that they drew me to Norway and England as well as to the Danish island of Bornholm to see and appreciate their happy depiction of the blending of pagan and Christian.

Managing Your Emotions

By Joyce Meyer,

Book cover of Managing Your Emotions: Instead of Your Emotions Managing You

A book full of wisdom. Joyce Meyer tackles a myriad of bad emotions in this book from blinding anger and unforgiveness to mood swings and depression. Her aim is to help the reader attain emotional healing and start to practise emotionally balanced behaviour rather than manic highs, depressive lows and obsessive compulsions.


Who am I?

I’ve experienced crippling anxiety personally, to the point of nervous breakdown. I’ve researched this topic extensively and have been panic-free for over a decade due to the knowledge and coping skills accrued.


I wrote...

How I Overcame Panic Disorder Without Drugs

By Roxane Lapa,

Book cover of How I Overcame Panic Disorder Without Drugs

What is my book about?

Constantly having panic attacks for no good reason is no way to live. Yet so many people are living this way. This very common anxiety disorder is most often treated with SSRI drugs. These pharmaceuticals do not address the cause of panic attacks though and are arguably not terribly effective at treating the symptoms either.

In this book, I will show you how I was able to overcome panic disorder in two periods of my life without pharmaceuticals. You will discover the different methods of overcoming the many faces of this mental disturbance, and ultimately you will learn how to eliminate unwarranted panic from your life.

Changes That Heal

By Henry Cloud,

Book cover of Changes That Heal: Four Practical Steps to a Happier, Healthier You

Dr. Henry Cloud, a clinical psychologist and Christian, has identified 4 areas of our lives that can really stunt us emotionally if they are out of balance. These 4 areas are bonding; boundaries; perception of good and bad; and emotional maturity. The book brings insight into these areas, which in turn brings healing. I’ve read this book twice about a decade apart, and both times, it changed my life massively for the better.


Who am I?

I’ve experienced crippling anxiety personally, to the point of nervous breakdown. I’ve researched this topic extensively and have been panic-free for over a decade due to the knowledge and coping skills accrued.


I wrote...

How I Overcame Panic Disorder Without Drugs

By Roxane Lapa,

Book cover of How I Overcame Panic Disorder Without Drugs

What is my book about?

Constantly having panic attacks for no good reason is no way to live. Yet so many people are living this way. This very common anxiety disorder is most often treated with SSRI drugs. These pharmaceuticals do not address the cause of panic attacks though and are arguably not terribly effective at treating the symptoms either.

In this book, I will show you how I was able to overcome panic disorder in two periods of my life without pharmaceuticals. You will discover the different methods of overcoming the many faces of this mental disturbance, and ultimately you will learn how to eliminate unwarranted panic from your life.

The Christian Imagination

By Willie James Jennings,

Book cover of The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race

You’ll be dazzled by the brilliance of this author, and the beauty of his writing.  The book is impossible to summarize, but if you want to understand how the spread of a specifically Christian imagination around the world produces a racial grid, racial thinking, and racism, this book is indispensable.  Whether you’re interested in modern race, or race in all the long centuries before, you’ll come away with a better understanding of how the spread of the Christian religion has produced race and racisms.


Who am I?

I’m that infamous medievalist who wrote the big book on medieval race. It took 20 years of thinking and research, and a whole lot of writing, but now people are convinced that there was, indeed, such a thing as race and racism between the 11th and 15th centuries in the West (aka Christendom/Europe). I'm Perceval Professor of English and Comparative Literature, with a joint appointment in Middle Eastern studies and Women’s studies at the University of Texas at Austin.


I wrote...

The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages

By Geraldine Heng,

Book cover of The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages

What is my book about?

I take readers on a journey from North America (where Greenlanders and Icelanders had a lot to say about Native Americans) to Europe (where Jews were racialized, and “Gypsy” became the name of a slave race), to the Middle East (where Muslims were the international enemy in the killing fields of holy war) to Africa (where blackness was seen as the color of sin and the devil, and Ethiopians were deemed a population of sinners) to the Eurasian steppes and China (where Mongols evolved, in the western mind, from subhuman beings to the representatives of the greatest empire on earth). Along the way, I show readers why all this still matters today.

The Purpose Driven Life

By Rick Warren,

Book cover of The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?

With the powerful use of language, this book explains how everyone in this world is born for a purpose. There are 40 chapters in the book required to be read over 40 days’ time. I like the concept of reading one chapter a day and reflecting on the knowledge before applying it. The message of the book is to keep God at the center of your life in order to fulfill your true purpose.


Who am I?

I’m an author, speaker, and consciousness expert. I have been studying spiritual texts and practicing meditation techniques since I was a child. Affinity for spiritual texts developed in me at an early age that helped me gain spiritual knowledge. In addition, it brought with it an unquenchable desire to know the truth of creation. As a result, I discovered a new law called: Law of Unification that can be used by anyone to create a conscious life of meaning and purpose. Let's share it with the world and make lives better.


I wrote...

Mastering Creation Using the Law of Unification: How To Create New Creations For A New World

By Divneet Kaur Lall,

Book cover of Mastering Creation Using the Law of Unification: How To Create New Creations For A New World

What is my book about?

Mastering Creation Using The Law Of Unification brings to you the theory of creation and introduces a new law called “Law of Unification” followed by the ancient Creator Gods such as Quetzalcoatl and Isis. Law of Unification has been used by creators, inventors, and geniuses. With the practical techniques discussed in the book, you’ll be able to practice the Law of Unification and gain access to the source of hidden potential to uncover your life’s purpose and create a fulfilling life. 

In this book, you’ll learn how to: 1. transform your life, 2. create new creations, 3. eliminate suffering, and 4. consciously fulfill your life’s purpose.

The Screwtape Letters

By C.S. Lewis,

Book cover of The Screwtape Letters

Despite a very different voice and style, this work mirrors Lamott’s messaging. Perhaps more familiar as the author of the Narnia books, here Jack Lewis offers a devil’s view of how humans get tempted to evil. The book is made up of imaginary letters from a senior devil Screwtape to a junior and incompetent. This book is as witty as it is truthful; particularly about how much suffering arises from self-deception. And we highly recommend listening to the audio version perfectly read by John Cleese!


Who are we?

We are a writing team of doctor and dramatist, two long-time friends who have made our life’s work over the last 30 years the exploration of empathy, with her forensic patients in Gwen’s case, and for Eileen, through the invention of characters in dramas. Our shared passion, as our five book choices reveal, is to offer hope through the healing power of narrative; as Carl Jung said, "the reason for evil in the world is that people are unable to tell their stories."


We wrote...

The Devil You Know: Encounters in Forensic Psychiatry

By Gwen Adshead and Eileen Horne,

Book cover of The Devil You Know: Encounters in Forensic Psychiatry

What is our book about?

Dr. Gwen Adshead is one of Britain's leading forensic psychiatrists. She treats serial killers, arsonists, stalkers, gang members, and other individuals who are usually labelled 'monsters.' Whatever their crime, she listens to their stories and helps them to better understand their terrible acts of violence. Here Adshead invites the reader to step with her into the room to meet twelve patients and discover how minds can change. These men and women are revealed in all their complexity and shared humanity. Their stories make a powerful case for rehabilitation over revenge, compassion over condemnation. The Devil You Know will challenge everything you thought you knew about human nature.

The Emotionally Destructive Marriage

By Leslie Vernick,

Book cover of The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope

So many women have silently suffered abuse for years in the name of trying to do what they believe God would have them do. Sadly, their well-meaning efforts, and at times misunderstanding of the Scriptures, can actually feed the destructive cycle in their marriages. In this book, Leslie Vernick reaches out to the reader with practical strategies for recognizing emotional abuse and taking steps to break free of its bondage. She outlines what needs to happen for hope to be restored in a marriage and shares how to leave if the cycle of destruction continues. Many women I’ve worked with through my groups and Peace after Divorce Workshops have cited that this book literally saved their lives.

Who am I?

I have a passion for helping people move past the pain of divorce because I’ve been there myself. As a counselor I knew what I needed to do to cope and heal but I also quickly realized the importance of making prayerful decisions and trusting God. It’s my joy to walk you through steps you can take to cope now and move to a brighter future. My education, career, faith, and experiences have resulted in my book Peace after Divorce being recognized as an exemplary Christian self-help book by the Illumination Book Awards. 


I wrote...

Peace After Divorce: Choosing Concrete Actions Rooted in Faith

By Renee Smith Ettline,

Book cover of Peace After Divorce: Choosing Concrete Actions Rooted in Faith

What is my book about?

Divorce hurts! And, it’s normal to feel a range of negative emotions such as anger, resentment, guilt, fear, sadness, and loneliness. Left unaddressed, these undercurrents of pain can last a lifetime. Fortunately, you can learn ways to move beyond the heartache.

Peace after Divorce is a practical and spiritual guide filled with a deep understanding of the emotions and battles faced while enduring divorce and its aftermath. Step-by-step strategies zero in on ways to cope with everyday issues while also helping you discover your God-given power to find healing, joy, and peace. Uplifting and encouraging with real-life examples, this book will help you navigate the trials and tribulations of divorce, while equipping you with tools to begin living a fulfilling life of purpose, meaning, faith, and hope. An Illumination Book Award winner, Peace after Divorce will help you leave the pain and sorrow behind and move toward a brighter future.

Rebecca's Revival

By Jon F. Sensbach,

Book cover of Rebecca's Revival: Creating Black Christianity in the Atlantic World

This book studies Black Christian identity formation from an Atlantic perspective. Using the rich archival materials of the Renewed Unity of Brethren, commonly called the Moravian Church, Sensbach tells the story of the Christianization process of the enslaved population on the Virgin Islands. He narrates the formation of the earliest Black Protestant congregation in the Americas from the perspective of an enslaved woman, Rebecca, who became a Moravian evangelist. Sensbach highlights the role of African agents like her in the dissemination of Christianity and reveals that, among the former, many had already familiarized themselves with Christianity prior to their arrival in the Americas.


Who am I?

I am a philologist with a passion for Atlantic cultural history. What started with a research project on the African-American Pinkster tradition and the African community in seventeenth-century Dutch Manhattan led me to New Orleans’ Congo Square and has meanwhile expanded to the African Atlantic islands, the Caribbean, and Latin America. With fluency in several foreign languages, I have tried to demonstrate in my publications that we can achieve a better understanding of Black cultural and religious identity formation in the Americas by adopting a multilingual and Atlantic perspective. 


I wrote...

From the Kingdom of Kongo to Congo Square: Kongo Dances and the Origins of the Mardi Gras Indians

By Jeroen Dewulf,

Book cover of From the Kingdom of Kongo to Congo Square: Kongo Dances and the Origins of the Mardi Gras Indians

What is my book about?

From the Kingdom of Kongo to Congo Square presents a new interpretation of the Mardi Gras Indians, one of New Orleans’ most enigmatic cultural traditions. By interpreting this performance in an Atlantic context and using historical sources in multiple languages, I traced the “Black Indians” back to the ancient Kingdom of Kongo in Africa and its war dance known as “sangamento.” The book shows that talented warriors in the Kongo kingdom were by definition also good dancers, masters of a technique of dodging, spinning, and leaping that was crucial in local warfare. Furthermore, it demonstrates how this performance tradition accompanied enslaved Kongolese communities to the African island of São Tomé and, subsequently, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Louisiana.

Don't Quit! Your Faith Will See You Through

By Kenneth W. Hagin,

Book cover of Don't Quit! Your Faith Will See You Through

There have definitely been times in my life that I wanted to quit! Can you identify? I keep this book handy for days like those, and every time I grab it and read it, my faith gets renewed and I get encouraged enough to keep going. This book shows how to develop faith that won't quit – and if we don’t quit, we win in Jesus! 


Who am I?

I’ve been a writer for most of my life, and when a publisher approached me to write a book, they asked me to write about how I managed to overcome the death of my husband at such a young age and move forward into a successful life. I meet people all the time who have had hard things happen, and I wanted to help them get past the pain. Hard times don’t have to be the end of the story! They can strengthen us and equip us to help others. That’s why I love books about how to keep going in times of trouble and overcome.  


I wrote...

Why, God, Why ?: What to Do When Life Doesn't Make Sense

By Karen Jensen Salisbury,

Book cover of Why, God, Why ?: What to Do When Life Doesn't Make Sense

What is my book about?

When I was 37, my husband (a pastor, also 37 and father of our two sons) died suddenly in our bed on New Year’s night. He hadn’t been sick – he just went to bed and went to heaven. And I had questions! Sometimes things happen in life that completely shatter us – we can’t make sense of it. Not only death, but other life-changing events and devasting disappointments. We just didn’t see it coming, and now we don’t know how to go on. I wrote this book years later – it’s a testimony of how God brought my sons and me through, and how you can ask Him all your tough questions and move forward. I call it “a manual for getting past the pain.” 

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