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Choosing which ones would go and which would stay was one of the harder decisions of my life. Books are my friends and I had over one thousand of them in my office at North Pointe.

They were a source of wisdom, counsel, challenge, empathy and entertainment for decades – food for my soul.

When I was nearing graduation from Eastern Pentecostal Bible College my professors advised me in making a choice between food and books, I should give up food for books. I took them at their word. Now I had to say goodbye.

Paring Down

I always knew one day my spacious office would become a memory and the gargantuan task of paring down my book collection would commence. That day came too soon in February 2019.

Each book was carefully evaluated and boxed either as a keeper or to be given a new home. In some cases a book would end up going back and forth from box to box before a final destiny was determined. Some of my trusted tomes found a new home on the bookshelves of friends and colleagues. Many were left orphaned and homeless.


The process got me thinking. If I could only keep ten books which ones would make the grade? My criteria are:

entertaining and enjoyable enough to read every year,

thought provoking, timeless, and practical

comprehensive for developing a vitalized Christian life.

10 Books Worth Keeping In Easy Reach

1. Your Bible

This book will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this book. That sentence is written in the inside cover of one of the many Bibles and New Testaments given to me over the course of my life. I read the Bible on my iPhone with YouVersion. YouVersion offers multiple translations of the Bible, devotional plans, and a reading community at your fingertips. My favorite print translations are the New International Version and The Message.

2. The Divine Conspiracy – Dallas Willard

Jesus’ most famous teachings are recorded in Matthew chapters 5-7, otherwise known as the Sermon on the Mount. Willard’s insights on the master’s radical call to discipleship challenged and changed me.


3. The Celebration of Discipline – Richard Foster

The classic read on spiritual formation. Not an easy read and even less easy to apply but well worth every moment you expend in application.



4. The Purpose Driven Life – Rick Warren

I give this book to everyone enquiring about how to discover his or her purpose and become a follower of Jesus. Warren’s is the best selling book after the Bible. The forty chapters are to be read over forty days.


5. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Steven Covey

Begin with the end in mind and sharpen the saw are two of Covey’s unforgettable axioms which have given me direction year after year.



6. Built to Last – Jim Collins

Are you working on building a ministry, a business, a life, or a legacy? This is your blueprint.



7. Every Good Endeavor – Timothy Keller

Everybody’s got to work. No matter what you’re working at, Keller’s book will show you why your work matters – to God and the world.



8. Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsay

Money is a master. Jesus spoke about money more than love, hell or heaven. Financial stewardship is a make or break aspect of every Christian’s life. If I could keep two books on this subject I’d pick The Wealthy Barber as well (see below).



9. Knowing God – J. I. Packer

This was a toss up between Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer and Packer’s classic. Both are on my library shelf close to my desk. I’ve read each one numerous times. It was a coin flip. Read one of them.


10. Anything by Eugene Petersen. You have over 55 books to choose from. My Petersen favorites are:

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

Run With the Horses

The Pastor

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

Reversed Thunder


anything by Anne Lamott. Anne is a writer’s friend and practical theologian in her own right. My Lamott favorites are:

Grace Eventually

Bird by Bird

Traveling Mercies

Honorable Mention

Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water and Loving the Bible Again – Rachel Held Evans’ title says it all

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie’s classic

The Wealthy Barber – David Chilton’s allegory on the way to grow wealth

21 Days to Fearless – Sarah Ball’s personal help for anxiety or depression.

The Knowledge of the Holy – A. W. Tozer (see #9)

Ordering Your Private World – Gordon MacDonald’s classic on escaping the golden cage.

The One Minute Manager – Ken Blanchard – time management at it’s best

Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation – John F. Walvoord – Daniel is the key to understanding Revelation and Walvoord is the key to understanding Daniel

A Tale of Three Kings – Gene Edwards – the interpersonal complexities of Saul, David and Absalom

Have you read all ten of my chosen books? If not, pick one for a spring reading project and let me know what you think. Please leave a comment below.

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Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 44 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vincent and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love inspiring people through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, and reading. I'm a fan of the Double E, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers


  • Wayne says:

    Reading Divine Conspiracy again while here in China. Challenging …

  • Shery Martin-Legault says:

    We are downsizing from a large townhouse to a much smaller apartment this summer. We have been building our library for over 30 years. We have gone shelf by shelf, book by book through our collection, passing some to our children, and many to local Christian thrift stores. Three bookcases are now emptied. Much debate and indecision. I am a reader and a writer. Letting go of books is hard. The favourites and most used remain for our move.

  • Bob Jones says:

    Thank you for commenting, Sherry. A difficult process. Which books are your indispensables?

  • Adena says:

    I also love Erwin Raphael McManus. Those are my keepers.
    My favourite of all time – The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Not a Christian book but I read it all the way to Europe one summer. Couldn’t put it down even on the second read.

  • Bob Jones says:

    The Glass Castle looks like a great memoir. I read the first 30 pages online at Thank you for sharing.

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