I love books and I love to read. In addition to filled bookshelves, I have bins of books in the closet and basement, and an extensive collection on my Kindle. Yeah, I may be an addict.
Recently I went through the hypothetical exercise of identifying the books I would keep if 25 was my limit. I allowed myself one Bible in addition to the 25 books and chose my ESV single column Legacy Bible.
The 25 titles included both physical and electronic copies. I have not yet read a couple of the books picked; but they are classic works in Christendom and theological thought which I plan on reading.
Here are my 25 books, in no particular order:
1. Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem. My go to theology book, fairly representing different views and very readable.
2. Teaching to Change Lives by Howard Hendricks. Probably the most dog-eared and marked up book in my library. A practical book that has sharpened me as a teacher. I've read this book at least 10 times.
3. Living By the Book by Howard Hendricks. Practical skills to read, interpret, and apply the Bible.
4. ESV Study Bible. A beautiful study Bible with solid notes, rich illustrations, and helpful supplementary articles.
5. The Conviction to Lead by Al Mohler. 25 key leadership skills and traits by a dynamic Christian leader.
6. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (in one volume). The classic story, rich in allegory, to be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
7. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. Probably the richest literary story I've read. Masterfully written.
8. The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. Another highly dog-eared and marked up book on practical holiness in the Christian's life.
9. Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley. A great reference on, well, church history.
10. Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. I've read this one (in modern English) almost annually for the last few years. A rich allegory of the Christian life.
11. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney. I've read through this book twice in the last year. Very practical with key insights and strategies.
12 and 13. The Bible Knowledge Commentary (2 volumes). Readable and well written by the faculty of the Dallas Theological Seminary.
14. The Moody Bible Commentary. Written by the faculty of the Moody Bible Institute.
15 The MacArthur's Bible Commentary. Another one volume reference by pastor and Bible teacher Dr. John MacArthur.
16 and 17. Institutes of Christian Religion (2 volumes) by John Calvin. I haven't read this classic work yet, but plan to in the near future.
18. Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxes. A biography on William Wilberforce, one of my heroes of the faith.
19 Thy Word is Still Truth. A collection of writings about the Bible from various writers and pastors from the reformation forward.
20 Onward by Russell Moore. A new title on our role in society today.
21. What's Best Next by Matt Perman. A challenging book that helped me identify my life purpose, goals, and how to structure my priorities around them.
22. The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung. DeYoung's books are deeply theological but very understandable. I've read this book at least four times.
23. Lectures to My Students by Charles Spurgeon. Although I have not read it all the way through, no collection is complete without content from the "Prince of Preachers".
24. New Bible Dictionary (IVP). A good reference tool.
25. The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. A staple apologetics title for any Christian's library.
The list may look different in the future, but these would be the 25 books I'd keep if I had to make the decision to keep only 25 books today.
What books would make up your 25?