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Reflections

How about Reading Some Christian Classics? Part 1

By Kenneth R. Samples - June 12, 2018
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Only human beings read. And from a biblical perspective, it may be reasonably inferred that humans’ capacity to read is part of the intellectual endowment that comes from being made in Gods image (Genesis 1:26–27). Moreover, God gave humankind a divinely inspired book to read and study in order to discover truth and salvation. Interestingly, scientists in various disciplines today—both religious and otherwisethink that human exceptionalism is evidenced in our unique ability to think, speak, write, and read.

Because historic Christianity is a bookish religion, the faith helped spread literacy throughout the world, especially during the medieval period and during the Protestant Reformation. Christian scholars produced many books through the centuries that have become enduring classics. In this first part of my series on Christian classics, I’d like to recommend five books in a distinct literary category for your Christian reading pleasure and to grow and challenge you in your faith. In succeeding parts of this series, Ill introduce books in other categories.

Part 1: Memoirs, Devotionals, and Spirituality Classics

Christians today often like to hear the testimony of others who have come to faith in Christ. Im always inspired and challenged by reading about the lives and hearing the soulful reflections of some of Christianitys greatest leaders and thinkers of the past. Here are five Christian classics in the broad category of biography:

1. Confessions by St. Augustine

Augustine is arguably the most influential Christian thinker outside the New Testament authors. His book Confessions is credited with creating the literary genre of biography in Western civilization. The book catalogues Augustines dramatic conversion to Christianity. The word “confession” is understood in a triple sense: confession of sin, confession of a newfound faith, and confession to the glory of God.

2. Pensées by Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal was a leading scientist, mathematician, inventor, and Christian thinker. Pensées is French for thoughts or reflections. This work is a collection of Pascals notes on various subjects that he hoped to put together into a work of Christian apologetics, but unfortunately, he died prematurely. While consisting of a group of notes and comments on various topics, the quality of writing and reflection makes the work a perennial bestseller.

3. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

This book tells the harrowing story of the ten Boom family, Dutch Christians who were imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp for hiding Jews during the Holocaust. Corrie ten Boom shares her personal and powerful story of suffering, courage, and hope in the midst of World War II.

4. The Life of St. Francis of Assisi by St. Bonaventure

St. Bonaventure was a great Catholic philosopher and theologian who lived in the High Middle Ages and was a contemporary of Thomas Aquinas. In this work, Bonaventure writes about another great Catholic saint named Francis of Assisi.

5. Surprised by Joy by C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis is arguably the most influential Christian thinker and writer of the twentieth century. A literary scholar, Lewis wrote books of fiction as well as on Christian theology and apologetics. In Surprised by Joy, he tells the story of his famous conversion to Christianity from atheism.

Well, thats my recommended list of biographical Christian classics. I hope youll take some time to read them. Join me next week for part two of this series in which well look at another category of Christian classics.

Reflections: Your Turn

Which of these classics have you read? Which one are you looking forward to reading? Visit Reflections on WordPress to comment with your response.

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