I started becoming an avid reader during my college years. And now that I’m over three years out of college — and having read dozens and dozens of books — I think I have a grasp for what reading material would be helpful for a Christian during his or her college years. While there are a plenteous amount of books that could have made this list, I’ve chosen eleven. Outside of the Bible, of course, below are the eleven books every Christian in college should read and why.
11) What is Reformed Theology?, by R.C. Sproul. In many ways, college is a formative time for developing what you really believe. This book will help you with the basics of classic Reformed theology, and show you why it is so important to adhere to sound doctrine.
10) Radical, by David Platt. I’m convinced that many Christians in college who live in America are asleep with respect to overseas missions and why it is so important. This book will wake you up.
9) Why We Love the Church, by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck. At your age, you might be struggling with a low view of the Church in light of your upbringing, theological ignorance, personal pride, or whatever. I was once there. This book will show you that your Christian walk is not just “you and Jesus,” and help you grow a love for God’s bride.
8) The Soul-Winner, by Charles Spurgeon. During college, you’ll have more time to spend with unbelievers than you probably will for the rest of your life. This book will teach you how to reach the lost and make you weep for the lost.
7) Don’t Waste Your Life, by John Piper. Become a doctor. Be a teacher. Go into the financial services industry. Get your degree and excel at your job. But don’t waste your life. By taking the reader through much Scripture and experience, Piper will show you how and why this matters. Because after all, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” (Charles Studd)
6) The Treasure Principle, by Randy Alcorn. You might be a broke college student, but the two dollars in your bank account is still the Lord’s. Alcorn will show you how to steward your money to the glory of God — an important principle to learn at your age.
5) Knowing God, by J.I. Packer. Packer reveals the excellencies of God and will help you know him better with your mind, soul, and heart. When a theological book sells over one million copies, you should pay attention.
4) Prayer, by Tim Keller. Fewer things in the Christian life are more important than prayer. Developing a strong prayer life is essential in college and this book is simply outstanding. If there’s better book written on prayer, I haven’t read it.
3) Desiring God, by John Piper. Until I read this book, I didn’t know that God wanted me to be happy in him, and that he is happy in himself. Piper shows the reader that true pleasure and ultimate satisfaction comes not from parties, popularity, and prominence — but comes from God himself.
2) The Holiness of God, by R.C. Sproul. You are not cool; you are a Christian. At your age, you might be tempted to think too highly of yourself, and too lowly of God. I did. This book is by no means safe and will have you trembling in the presence of God.
1) Just Do Something, by Kevin DeYoung. This book is not the best on the list, but considering the strains of college, it might be the most helpful to read during college. Why? I don’t know a single college student who doesn’t struggle with answers to nagging questions like, “Who should I marry?” and “What city should I live in?” and “What is God’s will for my life?” These questions are probably more pressing, more prominent, during college than any other time in your life. This book will help you answer those questions, remove anxiety for your future, and increase your faith in God’s providential hand in all of your decisions in life.
I could have picked 50 but I was nice and picked 11. If any of the aforesaid books have not been read by you and you are out of college, they are still helpful reads! For another helpful resource on deciding which books to read, check out, “40 Books Every Christian Should Read“ from The Blazing Center. I refer to it often when deciding on my next read.
Any books you’d like to add to the list? Post your comments below.