You Must Read – Books that have Shaped Our Lives | Christian Book Notes

You Must Read – Books that have Shaped Our Lives | Christian Book Notes.

YouMustReadCoverI have been waiting for an opportunity to highlight this recent publication from the Banner of Truth, and then I received this brief review last week (July 3, 2015) from Terry Delaney through his book blog. I have not seen or read the book personally, but it is certainly the type of book to which I like to call attention. And I am hoping to obtain a copy for myself and work my way through it soon.

Today I make use of Terry’s review and introduce you to the book You Must Read: Books That Have Shaped Our Lives.

This is the publisher’s information on the book:

Have you ever wondered what influences have shaped the preachers, teachers and authors you respect? You Must Read brings together more than thirty well-known Christian leaders and gives them the opportunity to talk about a book that has made a lasting impact on their lives. Their personal narratives and recommendations of the literature that has moulded and matured them combine to produce a book full of interest from start to finish, but also one that can be ‘dipped into’ for occasional reading. Best of all, You Must Read will be an indispensable guide to some of the truly great books that have transformed, encouraged, instructed and challenged countless Christians’ lives. You Must Read is a ‘must read’ in itself, and a marvelous stimulus to read more.

You Must Read is an ambiguous title. As Christians ‘we are what we read’. God’s word is the instrument by which the Holy Spirit renews our minds and transforms our lives. The same is true, to a lesser extent, of Christian literature. The biographies of Christians whose lives have left a permanent mark on the church often disclose the influence of a particular book, or books, they themselves have read. So, You Must Read is a perennial maxim. You really must read!

But we also use these words when we are enthusiastic about a good book. We instinctively ask our friends, ‘Have you read …?’ And if the answer is ‘no’ we tend to say ‘Oh, you must read …’

But where do you begin? There are so many books from which to choose. Many of us want to ask, ‘Can somebody please tell me what books I should read?’ You Must Read provides some answers from the pens of a number of well-known Christian leaders, including Joel R. Beeke, Alistair Begg, Jerry Bridges, Mark Dever, J. Ligon Duncan, R. Albert Mohler, Jr., John MacArthur, Stuart Olyott, R. C. Sproul , Derek W. H. Thomas, Geoffrey Thomas, and many others.

And this is Delaney’s review of the book:


A total of 35 individual chapters (3 “chapters” comprise the epilogue) are written by 35 different men and women. Each chapter looks at that contributor’s most influential book they have read published by The Banner of Truth Trust.


This is an unusual book in that it is a book about books. The draw will not necessarily be the books discussed. Rather, the draw is the many “heroes” today sharing why a particular book resonated with them and how it has shaped their respective ministries. To that end, this book is extremely fascinating.

Perhaps a critique of the book may be that all of the books that have been influential have been published by The Banner of Truth Trust. This is to be understood, however, since this book was compiled by the Trust itself. That being said, not all of these books were originally published by the Banner.

The end goal according to the introduction is an eagerness “that others will discover what we have been privileged to discover.” In essence, then, this work is not only about how particular books, now published by the Banner influenced some of the greatest Reformed minds today, but also how the Banner has selected what works to bring back into publication in order that others may be influence.


If you are Reformed in your thinking at all, or have been influenced by any of those who contributed to this resource at all, you will want to read this book. If you were to begin a library consisting of You Must Read and then adding to it the books discussed, you will find that your library will have one of the most solid foundations for a library ever. I highly recommend You Must Read to all interested in quality resources about the Christian faith.

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