By Rebecca Brant & Jessi Strong

Among the millions of books that have been written through the ages, those that endure we call “classics.” From Plato’s The Republic and Thoreau’s Walden to Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Twain’s Huckleberry Finn — these are the volumes that make the lists of books everyone should read. Among Christian titles, Knowing God by J. I. Packer ranks in the top 50 books that have been most influential in shaping evangelical beliefs. In fact, it makes the top five.


By Perry Phillips

For many of us, giving a talk to a room of just 40 or 50 people is a daunting task—even more so without a public address system. Yet Jesus spoke outdoors to crowds 10 times that number. On one occasion, 5,000 men—not including women and children—heard him speak. He so captivated them that they didn’t think about eating (Matt 14:13–21; Mark 6:30–44; Luke 9:10–17; John 6:1–14). Shortly there-after, 4,000 men, besides women and children, heard his teachings and witnessed his healings, again foregoing food (Matt 15:29 –39; Mark 8:1–10).

By Karen H. Jobes

The book of Esther does not mention God. It also doesn’t mention the law, the temple, or any of the practices of ancient Israelite religion (with the possible exception of fasting in 4:16). It may, therefore, seem odd to speak of the theology of the book of Esther. Nevertheless, the book of Esther is undeniably in the canon of Scripture of both the synagogue and the church, and therefore, in a sense, God is telling us this story in which he is not explicitly mentioned.

By Michael S. Heiser

The apostle Paul wrote 13 letters that make up nearly half the books of the New Testament. One of those letters was written to the fledgling church at Colossae. As Paul was closing this letter, he wrote:

15 Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. (Col 4:15–16 ESV)