YSC Recommended Reading

Exploring Christianity / Foundations

Basic Christianity - John Stott

John Stott, world-renowned scholar and one of the most respected preachers of the 20th century, gives a well-rounded presentation of the Christian faith in this 156-page modern classic, Basic Christianity. It is both intellectually satisfying for the modern seeker and Scripture-saturated for those who wish to stay close to the words of the Bible. Within its pages, Stott carefully and logically guides the reader through the fundamental claims of Christianity, ending on the section about how man might respond to the outrageous yet captivating claims of Christ. Whether the reader hopes to make first inquiries into Christianity or strengthen his newfound faith, Stott skillfully provides a most helpful introduction in his Basic Christianity. ~ Raymond Park

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Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis

Mere Christianity was the first book outside of Scripture that helped me to understand that we should not be afraid to put God’s Word up against the tests of reason and logic because it is his perfect and infallible truth. ~ Katherine

An argument for Christianity from the ground up, done in the masterful style and winsome reasoning of C.S. Lewis. ~ Eric Klein

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A Severe Mercy - Sheldon Vanauken

This is the book I recommend first to anyone on a journey to faith. First, Severe Mercy is a wonderfully written autobiography that tells of an intensely romantic relationship between a man and a woman, including their journey through Yale/New Haven. As much can be learned about love from their love as any "how to" book I can think of. And yet, as a love story second to none, it is also a story of the sometimes difficult journey to faith, even as to cross paths with C. S. Lewis and to include what are perhaps some of Lewis' most profound letters and advice as ever I have read. This book explores just about every complex theological, philosophical, and relational issue that one could imagine, albeit in the most readable context of a true story. I can't think of a book that I would more highly recommend than this one to explore love and belief in Christ, together! ~ Rev. Preston Graham



The Case for Christ - Lee Strobel

A captivating series of interviews by Yale Law graduate Strobel that lays out some of the massive evidence for the reliability of Scripture and its claims about Jesus Christ, especially the historicity of the Resurrection. ~ D. Kim


Escape from Reason - Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer gives clear and succinct explanations for how what different philosophies say about God and man are different from what God says about God and humanity. I think this book is particularly relevant to us as students because it explains why reasoning autonomous from God is both futile and fatal. ~ Katherine

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The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism - Timothy Keller



Borden of Yale - Howard Taylor

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To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson - Courtney Anderson

Biography of Adoniram Judson, one of the first to go as a missionary from America. He served in Burma and saw the Lord do incredible things through much adversity. Incredible and inspiring! ~ Brandi C.


Christian Leadership

Leading with the Heart: Coach K's Successful Strategies for Basketball, Business, and Life - Mike Krzyzewski

Through great successes and failures, Coach K shows us what it means to be leaders. He uses stories of individual players, teams, and other coaches that he has led over the years to help people develop into others-centered servant leaders. Coach K continually hammers home the importance of character, discipline, hard-work and service as foundational elements to leadership. Though most of what Coach K has experienced has come via basketball, the lessons are transferable to any situation in life. ~ Scott Thomson



Knowing God - J.I. Packer

I bought a used copy of this book for a penny. It may have been the best investment I ever made because no other book outside the Bible has helped me to see the glory of God in all its fullness nearly as much as Knowing God has. With a theological precision unmatched by other modern authors, Packer unfolds from the Scriptures who exactly God is. When you start beholding the wisdom of God, the love of God, the grace of God, and the goodness of God, your heart just wants to explode with joy. The book starts out incredible and only keeps getting better. The last five chapters were especially effective in showing me how my life should be different if I truly believe the gospel. Packer will lead you into having tremendous energy and boldness for God. ~ D. Kim

This is the best classic book on the nature of God and what it means to have a relationship with God. A must read if you haven’t! ~ Matt C.

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Morning and Evening - C.H. Spurgeon

C.H. Spurgeon's Morning and Evening is a heart warming devotional of brief meditations on a verse of Scripture for every morning and evening. It contains between its covers a whole education in theology and has been the succor of saints for generations. ~ Jon Hinkson

A solid, theologically-grounded classic that will satisfy even the most voracious reader. Enjoying God’s love is one of its common themes. ~ Eric Klein

My Utmost for his Highest - Oswald Chambers

Not a comfortable read. Chambers exalts Jesus with such relentless determination that you must either stop reading or submit yourself to His Lordship, whatever the cost. He lays out core principles of discipleship, yet deliberately refrains from being concretely prescriptive. As he explains it, we are called to devote ourselves passionately to a Person, not an extrapolated principle or cause. The Lord used this book in my life to effect a fundamental paradigm shift in how I view the Christian life: "Shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before God for this one thing only - My Utmost for His Highest." (Jan 1 entry) ~ Sang Yun


Celebration of Discipline - Richard Foster

Will get you excited about the spiritual disciplines. Includes sections on prayer, fellowship, fasting, service, and several others. ~ Eric Klein


Christ's Call to Discipleship - James Montgomery Boice

In the ninth chapter of Luke, Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” What does it mean to follow Christ? What is Christ’s call to discipleship? In this book, Pastor James Montgomery Boice explains the meaning, path, cost, and rewards of being a totally committed, modern-day disciple of Jesus Christ. Uncompromisingly Biblical and highly practical, Christ’s Call to Discipleship is a book for those who hear and seriously consider Christ’s personal call to “Follow Me.” ~ Raymond Park


Courage and Calling - Gordon T. Smith

Smith focuses on the unique expression of God's calling on the life of each individual. He makes it clear that this vocation should not be confused with one's career or occupation, but is something that remains regardless of one's employment--it comes from God and is one's fundamental identity. I picked this up as one of the featured books at InterVarsity's Urbana and found it to be one of the wisest books I've ever read, challenging us to seek God's calling in all parts of our lives with a refreshingly honest and biblical manner. ~ Kyle Gong


Desiring God - John Piper

Piper makes the bold claim that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. He exhorts us to find true joy in the all-satisfying God and then pastorally guides the reader in how to let enjoyment of God transform your everyday life and mobilize you for the purposes of God’s kingdom. This was an absolute delight to read. If you’re a serious Christian that wants to feed your spiritual hunger, Desiring God will be a feast to your soul. A modern classic! ~ D. Kim

The Divine Conspiracy - Dallas Willard

Willard expounds upon the Sermon on the Mount, using it to show what Jesus meant by the “Kingdom of God” and how radically that changes the way Christians look at the world. The book is very enlightening with a high “wow” factor. Its length may at times demand motivation of you. ~ Eric Klein


Don't Waste Your Life - John Piper

It is so easy at Yale to get caught up in the pursuit of fleeting treasures and temporal satisfaction in the forms of academic success and vocational goals. This book is just incredible in the perspective it brings to the question of what constitutes a worthwhile life. Plus, Piper is awesome. ~ Daniel Zheng

Holiness - J.C. Ryle

There are many great books on the topic of discipleship and holiness, but J.C. Ryle's Holiness is one of the finest, and has stood the test of time. Ryle was a 19th century Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, an evangelical, and with a profound reputation as a godly leader in his generation. The language of this book is not inaccessible for modern ears, and its message is timeless. Ryle is very practical. His theology of holiness—that it is a progressive work of the Spirit in our lives—is spot on, and his pastoral insights are so acute that you rarely come away from having read it without a new sense of God's work in your life. Highly recommended. ~ Dr. Josh Moody

This was another great classic of an earlier generation and breathes a spirit of earnestness. His challenge to press on in godliness is direct and uncompromising and pulses with spiritual energy. It will do the reader a world of spiritual good if they are able to receive it. ~ Jon Hinkson

Evangelism and Missions

Let the Nations be Glad - John Piper

This is the single best missions book I know of, as it covers a wide range of both theological issues and practical issues, and gives a foundation for the call of the Great Commission on all believers, both those who go and those who send. ~ Matt C.

Out of the Saltshaker & into the World - Rebecca Pippert

A classic that navigates the reality of evangelism, our own weakness, and addresses practical issues and obstacles to personal evangelism with friends. ~ Matt C.



The Valley of Vision - Arthur Bennet

The Valley of Vision is a collection of Puritan prayers that captures both the richness of devotion and the strength of daily life found during the Puritan movement. The prayers have been compiled from the works of, among others, John Bunyan, David Brainerd, and Charles Haddon Spurgeon. This book is not intended to be used as a prayer manual. Rather, it is hoped that these prayers will provide subjects to assist in the individual’s own prayer life, to help draw forth faith, hope, and love from the heart of the believer that they may lead to greater holiness in his or her life. As the editor writes in the book’s preface, “they [these prayers] are sent out with the prayer of Philip Doddridge, that ‘However weak and contemptible this work may seem in the eyes of the children of this world, and however imperfect it really be, it may nevertheless live before thee, and through a divine power be mighty to produce the rise and progress of religion.’” ~ Raymond Park



The Cross of Christ - John Stott

Stott starts his preface by writing: “I count it an enormous privilege to have been invited by InterVarsity Press to write a book on that greatest and most glorious of all subjects, the cross of Christ.” Starting with that very first sentence, Stott brings the reader through a thorough immersion into this most important of subjects. If you want your attention drawn to Christ and him crucified, this is the book to read. While it is sobering as a reminder of our own role and responsibility in the death of Jesus, the depth of the grace displayed in the wondrous cross that Stott so masterfully expounds on can only lead one to tearful exultation. I literally cannot turn a page of this without being filled with absolute awe and wonder for our Lord in the greatest event of all-time. ~ D. Kim

A deep theological exploration of what happened at the cross. A must read! ~ Matt C.


Systematic Theology - Wayne Grudem

J.I. Packer writes of this book, “If you were hoping to find a student’s textbook of theology that seeks your spiritual no less than your intellectual formation, rejoice. Wayne Grudem has written exactly what you wanted, and he has done so very competently indeed.” The reader will find that Wayne Grudem provides an introduction to systematic theology that is easy to read yet does not lack depth of spiritual and intellectual insight. At the end of each chapter, the author includes a section on personal application, list of special theological terms, bibliography, other works written on the particular topic, scripture memory passage, and hymn. Highly recommended by leaders within the Reformed tradition, it appears that this volume will be referred to by the evangelical community for years to come. ~ Raymond Park


Men's Spirituality

Tender Warrior - Stu Weber

Tender Warrior explores the purposes for which we as men were made. Stu Weber creatively leads us back to the beginning, creation, and from there builds a definition of what it means for us to be REAL MEN. He highlights and expands on four roles that we as men live out: King, Warrior, Mentor, and Friend. These four roles help teach us how we are to lead, protect, love and guide others. Weber often makes these truths applicable by drawing out conflicts we see in our culture today. One of the greatest ideas I’ve taken away from this book is what it means to be a man of vision. I’m grateful for the things I’ve learned about looking down the road and preparing for what is yet to come, having perspective, and leading others along the way. ~ Scott Thomson


Women's Spirituality

Lies Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free - Nancy DeMoss

Last summer I read this book with the girls on the missions team to Kazakhstan and to our surprise, every chapter we read affected every one of us in some unique, personal way. In this excellent book, Nancy addresses exactly what the title says; she exposes lies that many women struggle with believing (about God, sin, themselves, priorities, emotions, etc.), and then counters those lies with truth from God's Word. No matter how long (or short) you've walked with the Lord, I believe God can use this book to intersect your life and help deepen your relationship with Him. ~ Jen Thomson

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Biblical Study

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth - Gordon Fee & Douglas Stuart

Gives systematic advice for approaching each genre of the Bible. Includes a great section on reading the Epistles, recommending the reader to read between the lines and identify the situation of each church. ~ Eric Klein