Gospel Relevance

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11 Books Every Christian in College Should Read

So … what are the best Christian books for college students?

I became an avid reader in college. And now that I’m over three years out of college — and having read dozens and dozens of books — I think I have a grasp for what reading material would be helpful for a Christian during his or her college years. While there’s plenty of books that could have made this list, I picked eleven.

Outside of the Bible, of course, below are the eleven books every Christian in college should read (and why).

8 Quick Tips to Help You Read More Books

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11 Books Every Christian in College Should Read

11) What Is Reformed Theology?: Understanding the Basics by R.C. Sproul

In many ways, college is a formative time for developing what you really believe. This book will help you with the basics of classic Reformed theology, and show you why it is so important to adhere to sound doctrine.

10) Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt

I’m convinced that many Christians in college who live in America are asleep with respect to overseas missions and why it is so important. This book will wake you up.

9) Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck

At your age, you might be struggling with a low view of the Church in light of your upbringing, theological ignorance, personal pride, or whatever. I was once there. This book will show you that your Christian walk is not just “you and Jesus,” and help you grow a love for God’s bride.

8) The Soul Winner (Updated Edition): How to Lead Sinners to the Saviour by Charles Spurgeon

During college, you’ll have more time to spend with unbelievers than you probably will for the rest of your life. This book will teach you how to reach the lost and make you weep for the lost.

7) Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper

Become a doctor. Be a teacher. Go into the financial services industry. Get your degree and excel at your job. But don’t waste your life. By taking the reader through much Scripture and experience, Piper will show you how and why this matters. Because after all, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” (Charles Studd)

6) The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving (LifeChange Books) by Randy Alcorn

You might be a broke college student, but the two dollars in your bank account is still the Lord’s. Alcorn will show you how to steward your money to the glory of God — an important principle to learn at your age.

5) Knowing God by J.I. Packer

Packer reveals the excellencies of God and will help you know him better with your mind, soul, and heart. When a theological book sells over one million copies, you should pay attention.

4) Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Tim Keller.

Fewer things in the Christian life are more important than prayer. Developing a strong prayer life is essential in college and this book is simply outstanding.

3) Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist by John Piper

Until I read this book, I didn’t know that God wanted me to be happy in him, and that he is happy in himself. Piper shows the reader that true pleasure and ultimate satisfaction comes not from parties, popularity, and prominence — but comes from God himself.

2) The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul

You are not cool; you are a Christian. At your age, you might be tempted to think too highly of yourself, and too lowly of God. I did. This book is by no means safe and will have you trembling in the presence of God.

1) Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will by Kevin DeYoung

This book is not the best on the list, but considering the strains of college, it might be the most helpful to read during college. Why? I don’t know a single college student who doesn’t struggle with answers to nagging questions like, “Who should I marry?” and “What city should I live in?” and “What is God’s will for my life?” These questions are probably more pressing, more prominent, during college than any other time in your life. This book will help you answer those questions, remove anxiety for your future, and increase your faith in God’s providential hand in all of your decisions in life.

You may also like:

  1. 6 Things Every Christian in College Should Know 
  2. The Christian Reader’s Resource Guide 
  3. 8 Quick Tips to Help You Read More Books 

About David Qaoud

David Qaoud (MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary) is associate pastor of Bethesda Evangelical Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and founder of gospelrelevance.com. His work has appeared on The Gospel Coalition, For the Church, and Banner of Truth. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and two children. Learn more.

16 Replies

  1. Also good for senior citizens like me to read. You have a good list here.

  2. Trevor Adams

    Great post David! I would add Wild at Heart by John Eldredge for guys to check out. But love the books you listed, great resources!

    1. Nice addition, Trevor. Hope the married life is going well! Miss you, man.

  3. I recently purchased “Just do Something,” looking forward to it. Good list.

  4. I am impressed with the list. There are so many great books out there that it is hard to narrow it down to only a handful.

  5. Reblogged this on The Transformation Project and commented:
    We are all called to show ourselves approved. These great Christian classics are incredible. I have to admit that I am challenged by this list and will pick up some of the ones I have missed. I would like to add a couple to the list though –
    1. Heaven – by Randy Acorn
    2. The Circle Maker – by Mark Batterson
    3. Not A Fan – by Kyle Idleman

    2 Timothy 4:1-5 – read it and the read one of these this month and go to the next one.


  6. Well written and a solid list, though I’ve only read through Knowing God (and that was for a college class!). I need to expand my horizons a little.

    1. For sure. *Knowing God* is gold.

  7. Katie

    You should read Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. My whole church did a series on this book, and it was life changing! It’s one of the best books I’ve read.

    1. Hi Katie, I’ve heard good things about the book, though I’ve yet to read it. Happy to hear that it’s had that much of an impact on you.

  8. Matt

    I know you said that there are some books you left out, but I’ve got some more that might be helpful:

    – The Essential Truths of the Christian Faith by RC Sproul
    – A Reason for God by Tim Keller
    – Mere Christianity by CS Lewis
    – The Problem of Pain by CS Lewis
    – Preaching by Tim Keller

    In a lot of ways, each one of these are useful. The Essential Truths for a foundation in sound theology, A Reason and Pain to help answer critics of God, Mere Christianity to help defend the faith, and Preaching to help communicate it well. I mean these have helped me a lot in high school and have certainly help in college.

    1. Hi Matt, those are all great additions. Tim Keller is one of my favorite authors, and I love R.C. Sproul. And of course, “Mere Christianity” is a classic. The only book that I may have left out is “Preaching.” Most Christian college students probably won’t ever preach. But you’re right: learning to communicate well is important. Thanks for adding to this list.