What Books to Read?

At the WorshipGod06 conference, and a number of times since then, I’ve been asked to recommend a basic reading list for worship pastors and musicians. While no book can replace the study of God’s Word itself, other books can help us grasp biblical truths more clearly so that we return to Scripture with renewed vigor and faith. Here are a few books that I think are helpful, although I know many more could be added. This is just to get you started. I’ve listed them by category, starting with books that are smaller and more introductory in nature, and ending with books that are a more challenging (but very fruitful!) read. By the way, I wouldn’t agree with everything in each of these books, but I don’t think the authors are overly concerned about that. (Sorry I don’t have the links set up for these, but I hope to get to it later.)


True Worship by Vaughan Roberts
Worship by the Book, ed. By D.A. Carson (particularly the first chapter)
Desiring God by John Piper
Engaging with God by David Peterson
Created for Worship by Noel Due
Unceasing Worship by Harold Best


Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by Bruce Ware
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
The Doctrine of God by John Frame

The Person and Work of Christ:

Living The Cross-Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney
The Gospel for Real Life by Jerry Bridges
The Cross and Christian Ministry by D.A. Carson
The Work of Christ by Robert Letham
The Atonement by Leon Morris
The Cross of Christ by John Stott

The Holy Spirit:

Showing the Spirit by D.A. Carson
The Gift of Prophecy by Wayne Grudem
God’s Empowering Presence by Gordon Fee


God’s Big Picture by Vaughan Roberts
Concise Theology by J.I. Packer
Bible Doctrine by Wayne Grudem, ed. By Jeff Purswell
Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem


Let Us Sing by Lawrence C. Roff
Music Through the Eyes of Faith by Harold Best


The Enemy Within by Kris Lundgaard
Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney
The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges
On Indwelling Sin in Believers by John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Vol. 6

The Church:

Spiritual Disciplines within the Church by Donald Whitney
9Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever
The Church by Edmund Clowney

For more on why musicians should read books check out these posts.

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5 Responses to What Books to Read?

  1. Tom November 3, 2006 at 1:59 PM #

    Wonderful list! Thanks for sharing it! I’m placing it on the side bar of my site with other helpful reading lists.


    Doctrine Matters

  2. Charlie November 3, 2006 at 9:40 PM #

    What? No 9 Marks of a Healthy Church under church?

  3. Charlie November 5, 2006 at 6:10 PM #

    Do not mean to sound negitive in my last comment. your list is very good. Yet I was just wondering why no 9 Marks

  4. Dan Hames November 6, 2006 at 5:56 AM #

    Just to point out that “God’s Big Picture” is by Vaughan Roberts, though it’s modelled on Goldsworthy’s writing.

    Great list nonetheless!


  5. Bob Kauflin November 6, 2006 at 9:19 AM #


    Thanks for the correction. I must have been thinking about something else when I put Goldsworthy’s name as the author of God’s Big Picture. It’s a book I went through with one of my daughters when she was 15. Very helpful.


    No problem. 9Marks is a great book. Thanks for the recommendation.

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