We're posting the final installments to OneWord Journal's month-long query: "What 10 books would you take with you if you were marooned on an island?" In addition to being fun to read, we hope these lists inspired you to re-read an old favorite or discover a new one.
Notes Eric Channing, college pastor, "It is nearly impossible to reduce all the books I’ve read into a top 10 list. Instead, I have chosen to list and describe 10 books that have influenced me at key points in my life."
The Bible. This book isn’t just on the list because I’m a pastor. This book is living and alive and essential for my life. Even if I’ve read a passage 100 times, the Lord still has fresh truth for me in his Word every day.
Getting Things Done by David Allen When I first read this book, it transformed the way that I managed my life. Those of us who are engaged in “knowledge work” need to have a system that helps us deal with our undone loops. This book provides such a system. The main takeaways from this book are Brain Dump: Get everything on your mind down on paper; and,, Next Actions: Determine the very next action for all the undone loops in your life.
How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler This book helped me understand how to read and evaluate books. We all think we can read, but Adler helps us become better readers.
A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D.A. Carson The first chapter, “Lessons from the School of Prayer,” alone is worth the price of the book. In fact, I have re-read that chapter multiple times over the years. This book gives a framework for prayer, rooted in Paul’s prayers in the New Testament.
Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala While I was in college, God used this little book to transform my understanding of prayer. I may not agree with all the theology, but this book gives stories that remind us that God is powerfully at work in the world today.
Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem. Besides the Bible, this book has helped me understand who God is and what I believe more than any other. Dr. Grudem was a mentor of mine at Phoenix Seminary, and I can attest that he practices what he teaches in this book.
Disciplines of a Godly Man by Kent Hughes. I read this book as a young man, well before coming on staff at College Church. Many of my views about what it means to be a man were shaped by this book, and I have come back to it at various times through the years.
The Mortification of Sin by John Owen. This classic book helpfully gives tools for fighting sin. I found it very helpful and expect to re-read it in future years.
The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. Years ago this book helped shape my understanding of how to train myself for godliness (1 Tim. 4:7). I highly recommend it.
Living by the Book by Howard Hendricks. Howard Hendricks trained some of the finest Bible teachers around. In this book, he simply shares how to study the Bible for yourself. It’s an easy read, but less easy to implement in your life! Beware: applying this book will change your life.
Wil Triggs, director of communications, who first started asking what 10 books people would take to a desert island, shares his titles.
William Blake: The Complete Illuminated Books—writer and artist, the words are incomplete without the images and the images without the words. This book provides 366 of both—a set for every day of the year plus.
The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor—takes me to a place that’s funny, aspirational and different from wherever this island would be. Her wit and observations and writing and culture continue to speak.
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky—impossible to choose only one Russian book, but this might fit the island better than Brothers.
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens—I’d want something English to balance the Russian. This is the first Dickens I ever read. Hard to choose which one but I have happy memories of climbing up an apricot tree and reading it as I plucked fruit from the tree in summer.
Opened Ground—Selected Poems 1966-1996 by Seamus Heaney—poetry again, because you can read them over and over and never be done.
The Journal of Charles Wesley or the Life and Diary of David Brainerd
Treasury of David by Charles S. Spurgeon—I’d need some sermons and I love the psalms.
Ted Kooser poetry—someone needs to publish a collection
The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare—an island features prominently in this play. It’s a tragedy, a comedy and it has the best ending ever.
The ESV Literary Study Bible
Diane Jordan, children's director, listed these 10 titles or thereabouts.
The Bible. The NIV Bible my husband gave me w hen I was a new Christian, lots of notes, highlights, etc. in it. It feels like an old, comfortable friend.
Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (that only counts for one, right?)
A couple of missionary biographies (Amy Carmichael and Hudson Taylor probably being my favorites)
If and Toward Jerusalem by Amy Carmichael (both small poetry/prose, so I'm counting these as one entry. But I also love all her stories of the Dohnavur ministry)
Something by George MacDonald. I love so many, perhaps The Musician's Quest.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Endangered Minds by Jame M. Healy
The Gagging of God by D.A. Carson
Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down or Is It a Lost Cause? both by Marva Dawn (again hard to pick, but I love her writing.)
We also updated the book lists from our missionary family, when Greg Nichols and Phil Baur emailed theirs.