50 Books J. I. Packer Thinks You Should Read

The following is a list of all of the endorsements that J. I. Packer has written for books published by Crossway, with an introduction by Sam Storms, author of Packer on the Christian Life: Knowing God in Christ, Walking by the Spirit.

An Introduction

Perhaps you are asking yourself: “What possible reason could there be for publishing the endorsements and book recommendations of J. I. Packer?” That’s a good question! And there are at least two good answers.

First, I can’t think of a better or more qualified guide to direct our reading energies than J. I. Packer. Packer’s reputation as a world-class theologian is well-deserved. His reading, much like his writing, is almost beyond calculation. If he endorses a book, you can count on the fact that he’s read it. And if he recommends it, you can rest assured that it is well worth your time and focus. The plethora of books available today is breathtaking and can be a bit overwhelming. We need a reliable and trusted guide to lend his voice to what is biblically reliable and of greatest benefit to the individual Christian and the corporate Church. If there is one evangelical who can fulfill this role, it is certainly J. I. Packer.

Second, as I look down the list of what Packer has read I’m struck yet again by the crucial role of reading in the life of the believer. That may sound trite, but in our highly image-driven world many have lost their zeal for reading. I can almost guarantee that Packer has not spent his life watching the banal and mind-numbing drivel of television nor has he squandered his mental and emotional energy in the world of social media. If one wonders how a man such as Packer could have attained the knowledge and wisdom that he so consistently displays and could exert such a remarkable influence on the life of the church, I suggest it largely has come from having immersed himself in reflective reading of good books.

So take note of what he says in these many endorsements, and follow his advice!

Sam Storms, PhD
Bridgeway Church
Oklahoma City, OK


Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy: Three Essential Books in One Volume
Francis A. Schaeffer

"What is the long-term significance of Francis Schaeffer? I am sure . . . that I shall not be at all wrong when I hail Francis Schaeffer—who saw so much more . . . and agonized over it so much more tenderly than the rest of us do—as one of the truly great Christians of my time."


Am I Called?: The Summons to Pastoral Ministry
Dave Harvey

"This is the fullest, most realistic, down-to-earth, and genuinely spiritual exploration of God's call to pastoral ministry that I know. I recommend it most highly."


Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity
John Piper, Justin Taylor, and Paul Kjoss Helseth, Editor

"Here is a weighty tract for the times, in which a dozen Reformed scholars survey the 'open theism' of Pinnock, Sanders, Boyd, and colleagues, and find it a confused, confusing, and unedifying hypothesis that ought to be declared off limits. Some pages are heavy sledding, but the arguing is clear and strong, and the book is essential reading for all who are caught up in this discussion."


Calvin on the Christian Life: Glorifying and Enjoying God Forever
Michael Horton

"Learned and lucid, masterfully organized, and vigorously expressed, this full, solid, and exact study of Geneva's reforming pastor is an outstanding piece of work. In all four sections Calvin comes to vigorous life. Calvin's reputation for godly wisdom, and Horton's for vivid writing, will certainly be enhanced."


Charity and Its Fruits: Living in the Light of God's Love
Jonathan Edwards; Kyle Strobel, Editor

"For Jonathan Edwards, the true Puritan understanding of Christianity as love-life in God through Christ was a lifelong theological-pastoral-devotional focus, and his fullest display of it is found here. Kyle Strobel's comments help us appreciate this classic on communion with God."


Choosing a Bible: Understanding Bible Translation Differences
Leland Ryken

"A masterful and convincing argument for literal, that is to say, transparent translation of the Holy Scriptures."


Chosen for Life: The Case for Divine Election
Sam Storms

"Storms's offensive against Arminian-type views of election among evangelicals is a very solid piece of work. The thoroughness of its arguments gives it conclusive force."


Christian Apologetics Past and Present: A Primary Source Reader (2 Volumes)
William Edgar and K. Scott Oliphint, Editors

"Understanding apologetics as explicating, affirming, and vindicating Christianity in the face of uncertainty and skepticism, Edgar and Oliphint have skillfully selected the best primary sources to introduce us to this ongoing task. Their work fills a gap in scholarly resources and highlights the strength, wisdom, and solidity of the prominent defenders of our faith."


Church History: A Crash Course for the Curious
Christopher Catherwood

"Honest historian Christopher Catherwood informs us straightaway that he views the Christian story through the lenses of Protestant, Reformed, evangelical, baptistic, free-church spectacles. His telling of the tale, journalistic in style while scholarly in substance, then proves his point. You will find this book clarifying and invigorating."


Communion with the Triune God
John Owen; Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor, Editor

"Here is a modern reader's edition of a classic Puritan work by a classic Puritan author. It is a powerful Trinitarian profiling from Scripture of the truth that fellowship with God is and must ever be the inside story of the real Christian's life. John Owen is a profound teacher on all aspects of spiritual life, and it is a joy to welcome this reappearance of one of his finest achievements."


ESV Study Bible
Lane T. Dennis, Executive Editor; Wayne Grudem, General Editor

"I was privileged to act as General Editor of the English Standard Version, and now that I look back on what we did in producing that version, I find myself suspecting very strongly that this was the most important thing that I have ever done for the Kingdom, and that the product of our labors is perhaps the biggest milestone in Bible translation in certainly the last half century at least, and perhaps more. And now, as Theological Editor of the ESV Study Bible, I believe that the work we have done together on this project has set an altogether new standard in study Bibles."


Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth: An Analysis of More Than 100 Disputed Questions
Wayne Grudem

"In a troubling debate, resolution of which is currently out of sight, this extended monograph is a must-read for all who care about biblical authority, Christian relationships, and well-ordered church life. Laboriously and exhaustively, with clarity, charity and a scholar's objectivity, Wayne Grudem sifts through 118 current challenges to the Bible's apparent teaching on men and women. This is the fullest and most informative analysis available, and no one will be able to deny the cumulative strength of the case this author makes, as he vindicates the older paths."


Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue
Andreas J. Köstenberger

"Here is an excellent, searching, full-length study on the moral and spiritual requirements of being a professional, evangelical, biblical scholar. This book will do great good to those of us who ply this trade."


Fallen: A Theology of Sin
Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson, Editors

"These essays provide a very thorough mapping of sin's ugly reality. Rarely do we meet such realism as we find here."


From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective
David Gibson and Jonathan Gibson, Editors

"A massive product of exact and well-informed scholarship . . . with landmark significance. . . . I give this book top marks for its range of solid scholarship, cogency of argument, warmth of style, and zeal for the true glory of God. I recommend it most highly."


God in the Storm
Marc Maillefer

"The thoughts and stories in this truly pastoral book give fresh luster to the precious truth that our God is indeed with his people in trouble."


God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation
Andreas J. Köstenberger with David W. Jones

"In breadth of coverage, thoroughness of learning, clarity of analysis and argument and, I think, soundness of judgment, this solid, lucid, pastorally angled treatise has no peer. Evangelicals who research, debate, teach, and counsel on gender, sex, marriage, and family will find it an endlessly useful resource. The easy mastery with which the author threads his way through forty years' special pleadings gives this compendium landmark significance, and I recommend it highly."


God's Design for Man and Woman: A Biblical-Theological Survey
Andreas J. Köstenberger and Margaret Elizabeth Köstenberger

"Returning to a topic on which they both have already shown mastery, the Köstenbergers here round off their achievements with a full, lucid, and compelling demonstration that all Scripture treats male leadership as the creational pattern. Complementarians in particular will find here an invaluable resource, as indeed will any other open-minded Bible students."


Gospel Deeps: Reveling in the Excellencies of Jesus
Jared C. Wilson

"Wilson labors to make us appreciate the greatness and grandeur of the gospel and its Christ. Again and again he succeeds."


He Who Gives Life: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
Graham A. Cole

"This latest addition to the Foundations of Evangelical Theology series maintains the high standard already set. Graham Cole has written the widest-ranging textbook on pneumatology that currently exists. Meticulous and sharp in handling texts, and scrupulous on matters of method, he offers us cool, clear, sober answers to more questions about the Holy Spirit than probably any of us have hitherto thought to ask. New ground is not broken, but solid ground of a mainstream Reformed sort is set forth throughout. Well done, Dr. Cole!"


Holiness by Grace: Delighting in the Joy That Is Our Strength
Bryan Chapell

"In this study book, a wise man shows how the grace of God in Christ, and the holy joy of Christian living, go beyond what many think. Would you appreciate a fully biblical and Reformed demonstration of how the love-words and love-works of our triune God transform life? Then you should read and digest Holiness by Grace."


Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals
Trevin Wax

"How should God's American people put the lordship of Jesus Christ on display in their lives? Wax's searching answer is biblical, basic, businesslike, and blunt."


Jesus and the Feminists: Who Do They Say That He Is?
Margaret Elizabeth Köstenberger

"Dr. Köstenberger gives us a here a solid, sad, scrupulously fair case study of ideology deflecting exegesis over an entire generation. She shows conclusively that the attempts of a long series of scholars to find Jesus affirming women's leadership in some way have entirely failed. Surely this is an important cautionary tale for our times."


John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace
Jonathan Aitken

"A new life of John Newton is a fitting celebration of the bicentennial both of Newton's death and of the abolition of the slave trade, Wilberforce's triumph in which Newton played a key role. Master biographer Jonathan Aitken is in fine form, sympathetic, insightful, scholarly, and vivid, and his book, like its subject, must be rated spectacular."


Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome
R. Kent Hughes and Barbara Hughes

"I recommend that every pastor first read the Hughes's book privately and then go over it with his lay leaders. Doing this will not be less than a milestone and might well be a watershed."


Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books
Tony Reinke

"If you don't read books as both a discipline and a delight, then you should; and if you need help here, as in truth all of us do, more or less, then this is the book for you. Don't miss it!"


Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ
Tony Reinke

“Here is mastery! As the Lord Jesus Christ, crucified and reigning, was the life-giving focus of the Evangelical Revival, and as George Whitefield was its supreme awakener, and John Wesley its brilliant discipler, so ex–slave trader John Newton was its peerless pastoral counselor and perhaps the greatest Christian letter writer of all time. In his 768- footnote digest of the spiritual wisdom in Newton’s thousand-plus published letters, along with his published sermons and hymns, Reinke distills a vast flow of pure honey for the Christian heart. This is a book to read over and over again.”


No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God
John S. Feinberg

"Feinberg reads theology with a philosopher's eye and writes it with a philosopher's sensitivity to illogic and incoherence."


Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith
Jon Bloom

"Vivid, nourishing sketches of Bible characters learning to live with their sometimes startling Lord."


One with Christ: An Evangelical Theology of Salvation
Marcus Peter Johnson

"Theologian Johnson is a Reformed thinker who restates for us Luther's and Calvin's Bible-based insistence that union with Christ is the framing fact within which, and whereby, all the specifics of salvation reach us. His book merits careful study, for he does his job outstandingly well."


Overcoming Sin and Temptation
John Owen; Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor, Editors

"The editors of this volume have worked hard to make Owen's unrivalled insight into the Christian's inner war with sin accessible to all, and the result is truly a godsend."


Prayers for People under Pressure
Jonathan Aitken

"Prayers for People under Pressure is for those in the thick of things, and both the selection of prayers and the accompanying reflections are brilliant. Jonathan Aitken's transparent, unassuming, down-to-earth, in-God's-presence style as he speaks of God and ourselves has huge force, taking us often to the edge of eternity. This is an anthology I shall treasure and use."


Preaching the Word Commentary Series
R. Kent Hughes, Editor

"Throughout the Christian centuries, from Chrysostom and Augustine through Luther, Calvin, and Matthew Henry, to Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Ray Stedman, working pastors have been proving themselves to be the best of all Bible expositors. Kent Hughes stands in this great tradition, and his exciting expositions uphold it worthily."


Quo Vadis, Evangelicalism?: Perspectives on the Past, Direction for the Future: Nine Presidential Addresses from the First Fifty Years of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Andreas J. Köstenberger, Editor

"During its almost sixty years of life, the Evangelical Theological Society has grown in numbers and in intellectual vitality, spiritual vision, and a strategic sense of mission to the wider church and the still wider world. This selection, ranging from the bright to the brilliant, celebrates and will surely further the Society's ongoing progress."


Reclaiming the Center: Confronting Evangelical Accommodation in Postmodern Times
Millard J. Erickson, Paul Kjoss Helseth, and Justin Taylor, Editors

"When evangelicals confuse an improper passion for novelty with a proper pursuit of academic and pastoral relevance, the results can be distressing. I cannot express how grateful I am for the well-formed wisdom with which this book points to the abiding and decisive relevance for future route-finding of the old theological paths."


Redeeming Sociology: A God-Centered Approach
Vern S. Poythress

"Using the triadic analytical technique derived from the truth of the Trinity, Poythress continues his quest for an undistorted, biblical understanding of the sciences, this time zeroing in on linguistics and sociology. This is a work of first-rate thinking. Demanding yet enriching, this book is a major contribution to modern reformation and its intellectual renewal."


Science and Faith: Friends or Foes?
C. John Collins

"Collins maps the entire interface between faithful biblical interpretation and questions of all sorts posed in the name of the sciences. Interesting, fair-minded, shrewd, and clear from start to finish, this will prove outstanding as a pastoral resource."


Sound Doctrine: How a Church Grows in the Love and Holiness of God
Bobby Jamieson

"Scripture is for sound doctrine, sound doctrine is for real life, and real life is for real church growth. So says Jamieson, and he hits the nail on the head brilliantly every time."


The Evangelicals: What They Believe, Where They Are, and Their Politics
Christopher Catherwood

"Bright, breezy, and wearing his learning lightly, historian Catherwood has crafted a most illuminating cross-sectional review of the global evangelical movement as it is today. I found it unputdownable; I think many others will too."


The Gospel and Personal Evangelism
Mark Dever

"For most of us, personal evangelism is the reverse of easy, and so it becomes a task we evade. Mark Dever writes to shake us up about this, clearing our heads as to just what evangelizing involves and motivating our hearts to go to it realistically and responsibly. This is a word in season that will surely do a great deal of good."


The Message of the New Testament: Promises Kept
Mark Dever

"Here is a vigorous, juicy, engaging, life-centered, God-honoring set of sermons, brilliantly overviewing the entire New Testament: a truly rich resource from which to benefit and borrow. Dr. Dever is a Puritan in twenty-first-century clothing, and it shows."


The Pilgrim's Progress: From This World to That Which Is to Come
John Bunyan; C. J. Lovik, Editor

"If any smoothing of Bunyan's seventeenth-century language plus new colored pictures can set Pilgrim's Progress aglow in the hearts of today's young readers, this lovely book will surely do it."


The Shepherd Leader at Home: Knowing, Leading, Protecting, and Providing for Your Family
Timothy Z. Witmer

"With marriage and the family under present-day pressures, it takes a wise man to think and write well about being a husband and father under God. This book reveals Dr. Witmer as just such a wise man, and makes his wisdom available to us all. Highly recommended."


The Theology of B. B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary
Fred G. Zaspel

"Well before the transdenominational convergence of what we now call the evangelical church, B. B. Warfield spent forty years as the Presbyterian Horatius, holding the bridge that leads into the citadel of the Westminster Standards against those he saw as spoilers from the wastelands of liberalism. A heavyweight academic and a complete player in the fields of systematic, exegetical, historical, and polemical theology, he scattered his wisdom in hundreds of articles, which this book surveys and integrates with great skill. Warfield can now be seen in his full stature as the godly giant that he was, thanks to Fred Zaspel's labor of love. Best thanks, and hallelujah!"


Their God is Too Small: Open Theism and the Undermining of Confidence in God
Bruce A. Ware

"Open theism supports its reducing of God's sovereignty by denying his full knowledge of the future. If any doubt remains as to whether this falls short of the Bible's teaching and waters down Christian faith and hope, Bruce Ware's pastoral reasoning will surely dispel it."


Things That Cannot Be Shaken: Holding Fast to Your Faith in a Relativistic World
K. Scott Oliphint and Rod Mays

"The authors make vivid the two-way street of our communion with God and God's being with us. Their book is full of things that we today need urgently to take to heart."


Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God
John Piper

"Thinking—the alert, meticulous, probing, logical, critical use of the mind—will be a highway either to godliness or to its opposite, depending on how it is done. Taking leads from Jonathan Edwards, John Piper surefootedly plots the true path here. His book should be, and I hope will be, widely read."


To Know and Love God: Method for Theology
David K. Clark

"Clark sets forth a wide-ranging, constantly centrist, moderately technical, analytically alert demonstration of the what, why, and how of the evangelical theological task, interacting at each stage with rival positions. No comparable across-the-board vindication of evangelical mental method exists; this is a landmark book."


Truth with Love: The Apologetics of Francis Schaeffer
Bryan A. Follis

"The real Francis Schaeffer—Reformed apologist, youth evangelist, lover of God and of people—is here profiled and celebrated. The best appreciation of Schaeffer and his legacy yet written."


Why We Belong: Evangelical Unity and Denominational Diversity
Anthony L. Chute, Christopher W. Morgan, and Robert A. Peterson, Editors

"Biblical evangelicalism must always be churchly, and churchly evangelicalism today cannot avoid being denominational. And denominational evangelicalism is a spiritual smorgasbord, offering more spiritual wealth and wisdom than any one person can possibly take on board. In these pages evangelical leaders become tour guides to their own denominational heritage. Authoritative? Yes. Absorbing? That too. Enriching? Very much so. Taste and see."

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