SOLA Book Recommendations for College Students (and Beyond)

sola book recommendations for college students (and beyond)

sola network     |     SEPTEMBER 30, 2019     |    2 MIN READ

Books can have a powerful impact in our lives. Here are a list of books our SOLA Editorial Board members recommend you check out during your college years, but even if you’ve passed those years, it’s not too late to start!

To help you pick a book, we’ve organized them into 3 categories: Seeking Faith (or I Have a Lot of Questions); Finding My Faith (or I’ve Grown Up In Church, but I Still Don’t Get It); and Growing My Faith (or Being a Christian is Hard).

During October, we will be giving away bundles of these books, so follow us on Facebook and Instagram to find out how you can add a few of these to your collection.

Seeking Faith (or I Have a Lot of Questions)

1. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

I wasn't a Christian in college and every Christian I knew presupposed a Christian worldview upon me when they tried to discuss God. Perhaps the most helpful book was C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity where it helped me wrestle and articulate the idea of God. I think college is the time when worldviews are developed (since you're encountering so many different ones), so I think exploring works like Lewis and Warfield go a long ways for students. -- Thomas Hwang

2. Knowing God by J.I. Packer

While I was in college, this book helped me to understand and appreciate the person of God in a deeper way. Beyond that, it helped me to think more deeply about certain biblical truths. -- Steve Chang

3. The Reason for God by Tim Keller

Reading this in college would have helped me strengthen the connection between faith and my studies. Tim Keller makes apologetics accessible in a practical way. -- Daniel K. Eng

Finding My Faith (or I’ve Grown Up In Church, but I Still Don’t Get It)

1. The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

It's really sad, but I learned more from this children’s book about seeing Christ in the Old Testament than I did from growing up in conservative evangelical churches. I didn't realize the depth of my legalism until I read this book at the end of my senior year of college and felt my heart yearning for more of Christ as I re-read Old Testament with a fresh lens. This book forever changed how I read and teach the Bible. -- Moses Lee

2. Desiring God by John Piper

I loved Jesus and loved theology. John Piper forged these together with crystal clarity that left me overwhelmed and delighted in the goodness and sovereignty of God. It clarified for me how to look at all of life for God's glory in love. -- P.J. Tibayan

3. Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul

This is the book that awakened me to God's supreme glory and his majestic sovereignty. This book helped me to understand that I am indeed not the center of the universe, and it's good and right that Yahweh is. -- Kevin Yi

4. What's So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey

This is an old-school book that helped me to understand the radical nature of God's grace. Yancey's a fantastic writer, and his way of engaging his own questions taught me a lot about how to process and engage my own questions and thoughts. -- Kevin Yi

5. Crazy Love by Francis Chan

This book challenged me to closely examine Jesus' call to discipleship and what it means to follow him. Francis Chan's direct style is what I needed (and still need) as I look at my priorities. -- Daniel K. Eng

Growing My Faith (or Being a Christian is Hard)

1. Lillian Trasher: The Greatest Wonder in Egypt by Janet and Geoff Benge

I’ve been most influenced by reading about the life of Christians. YWAM publishes missionary biographies, and they are very easy-to-read and short. But they contain so much encouragement and challenges to us Christians to live out the fact that the good news is real. I particularly enjoyed the biography of Lillian Trasher, who was a missionary in Egypt who created an orphanage. --  Hannah Chao

2. Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper

This book helped me understand the necessity of worshiping Christ to live a truly joyful life and that missions is most beautiful when it grows out of that joy. It also was probably the first domino to fall in a series of books that helped me understand and become more Christ-centered in my thinking and living. -- Tim St. John

3. When We Get it Wrong by Dominic Smart

We all fail and sin. I couldn't get significant victory over lust because I didn't understand how to receive grace for the battle. God used this book to help me learn how to cling to Jesus so that I could help others follow Jesus. -- P.J. Tibayan

4. Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges

The book, in a way, discipled me as to the life that I should be pursuing. Evangelicals of today may call such a book bordering on legalistic, but I found it to exalt the holiness of God and call us to do the same. -- Steve Chang

5. The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges

In college, I struggled to have an anchor when it came to my relationship with God. This book helped me to see the benefits of preaching the Gospel to myself. Reflecting on God's grace for me as presented in the Bible helped me to refine my decision-making. -- Daniel K. Eng

6. The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis

This is a short work (originally a sermon Lewis gave in Oxford), but it blew my mind as a college student. He put into words truths that I had felt for many years but could not articulate. Reading it was one of those magical moments of recognition and feeling known, like in the part of the book in which Lewis says that friendship is that moment of saying ”What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” -- Brett McCracken

7. Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

Reading this would've helped me reflect on God's purpose for marriage, which would've impacted the way I approached (1) dating and (2) my own spiritual life. -- Daniel K. Eng