Friday, November 22, 2013

Christian Biographies: Where to Start?


I shared yesterday that reading the stories of people's lives is good for our Christian faith. There is something about reading about the successes and failures of other people that make our life a bit more exciting and normal. They have run the race before us and set an example that it is possible. 

But who has time to dig into 300 page biographical books. I might be able to read one every once and a while, but I tend to invest more of my reading time to other types of genre. And so I have found a few resources that have been helpful for me as I try to gain a glimpse into someones life. These are shorter books or articles that give the highlights of those that have already run the race. My faith stands on their shoulders in many ways. Here a few places I go to read some biographies.

The Swans Are Not Silent by John Piper
This is certainly one of my favorite series of biographical sketches. Every year at Piper's Desiring God Pastors conference, he takes time to do a major biographical lesson on a father of our faith. Many of these have been turned into books, but you can download all of them at the Desiring God site for free. 

The Puritans by Tim Challies
Several months ago, Challies posted some really helpful and thoughtful summaries of the lives of Puritans. If you are interested in spending five to ten minutes reading about the life of some man your pastor usually quotes, check out his list of biographical sketches. He recently has moved to a series on Christian Philanthropists that is really interesting as well. 

Christian Biographies for Young Readers by Simonetta Carr
Over at my wife's blog, she raves about these biographies from Carr. While these might be designed for younger readers with great graphics, my guess is that many adults can learn a lot of things from these books. My wife has reviewed her book on Lady Jane Grey, Athanasius, Augustine, John Owen, and John Calvin.

Hall of Contemporary Reformers by Monergism
If you are looking for some very short biographies of guys who are still alive (only a few of these guys have passed away), then this is the place to look. From John Piper to Tim Keller to Mark Dever, and many others, the guys over at Monergism have collected short biographical information including their publications. For some, like John MacArthur, this is a very long list.

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