Every servant of the Lord should have a basic library of trusted books to help explain the Bible and to provide teaching in many aspects of the Christian life. The most essential book to have is the Bible itself. A few study Bibles are listed below. These are the Bibles that The Servant’s Place recommends so that the servant of God will grow to be “wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ”. For, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:15-16 ESV
The Bible should be the most important and precious possession held by a servant of the Lord. The Bible is to be treasured as beyond price for it is the very word of God in written form. God addresses every human being through His written word. All of the Bible is God’s word and must be the one and only book servants must turn to for divine guidance. The Bible was written as the Apostle John reminds us, “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing, you may have life in His name.” John 20:31 ESV. God’s Word will accomplish the purposes for which God intended (Isaiah 55:11).
The best suggestion anyone can give regarding the Bible is to read and study it daily and to memorize great portions of it, to meditate on it day and night and most importantly, to obey its teachings for God is speaking to us.
Following the listing of recommended Study Bibles are the top ten recommended books for your home library and a larger selection of books for the home or church library. Near the bottom of this page are recommended on-line journals and magazines.
- Recommended Study Bibles
There are many excellent Study Bibles available today and to limit the selection to a few may not do justice to those who are not on the “list”. However the few recommended Study Bibles listed below are those, that in the opinion of the Servant’s Place, should be in the outstanding category. These selections have been recommended due to their comprehensive study resources and general approach (neither too specific to one theological system nor targeted to a specific audience and not presented for a narrowly defined reason).
The MacArthur Study Bible – NASB , NKJV, ESV, NIV 2011
The MacArthur Study Bibles in the NASB updated version, NKJV, ESV and NIV 2011 include thousands of commentary notes, a concordance, many appendices, maps and charts. It is an comprehensive study resource that is in the outstanding category in the field of Study Bibles. The combination of the three versions, which are essentially literal translations, and the commentary notes by MacArthur are Study Bibles that can be considered the most essential “all in one” Bible study tools available today. The notes by MacArthur have a distinctive reformed viewpoint. MacArthur is a conservative pastor, teacher and scholar who holds to the pre-millennial and pre-tribulation rapture position and stands solidly for the Lordship Salvation doctrine.
The Nelson Study Bible – NKJV
This highly recommended Study Bible is Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, and is edited by Earl D. Radmacher General Editor,Ronald B. Allen – Old Testament Editor and H. Wayne House – New Testament Editor. The Nelson Study Bible also contains many of the same features of the MacArthur Study Bible but with a theological viewpoint closer to that of Dallas Theological Seminary. This is an excellent Study Bible worthy of choice by anyone desiring to have an intimate knowledge of the Bible.
Thompson Chain-Reference Bible – KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV
Published by B.B. Kirkbride Bible Co. of Indianapolis, Indiana, the Thompson Chain-Reference Bibles have proven to be an invaluable study reference for serious Bible students. Along with thousands of chain references and their chain topics with Scripture verses fully printed, these Study Bibles also abound with charts, maps, individual Bible book introductions, character studies, extensive concordance and many other study tools. Although these Study Bibles do not provide commentary notes their cross references are without equal among Study Bibles and should be among the Bibles most valued by any student of God’s Word.
Life Application Bible – KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV.
The KJV and NKJV versions are published by Tyndale House Publishers and the NIV and the NASB- updated edition versions are published by Zondervan Inc. The popular Life Application Study Bibles have many of the same features of the other commentary style Bibles but with a decided devotional approach. They have an index to the notes at the back of these Bibles rather than a typical concordance. They also have less cross-references than the other Bibles listed above. Yet they offer excellent character studies, individual Bible book introductions, charts, maps and many more study resources making these Study Bibles recommended for those wanting a devotional style approach.
NIV Study Bible-Revised
Published in 2011 by Zondervan Corp, the NIV revised Study Bible is similar in appearance to the MacArthur Study Bibles and the Nelson NKJV Study Bible featuring thousands of commentary notes along with extensive cross references, subject indexes, maps, charts and essays along with Bible book introductions and a large concordance. The 2011 edition and previous NIV editions are the world’s top selling Study Bible. The 1984 NIV edition is still preferred by many Christians but may be difficult to obtain.
ESV Study Bible
The first edition of the ESV Study Bible, published in 2008, is a wealth of information contained in approximately 2,800 pages and has over 2 million words. The Introduction to the 2008 version states its contents are, “equivalent to a 20 volume Bible Resource library”. The ESV is an essentially literal translation composed by a team of conservative editors. It has a distinctive “reformed” viewpoint with numerous articles on Biblical topics and has a useful but brief concordance. One outstanding feature by the publishers is the online version which is useful for Bible study and sermon preparation. The ESV Study Bible is non-committal with regards to the end times but many of its contributors hold to an “amillennial” eschatological viewpoint of the end times.
Other Study Bibles
There are many other Study Bibles which may be used for comparative purposes when preparing a Bible Study or as a basic background for sermon preparation. The following may be classified as specialty Bibles with a definite pre-millennial view point.
– David Jeremiah Study Bible: NKJV – Holman Christian Standard Study Bible – Holman Bible Publishers
– Ryrie Study Bible, Moody Publishers, KJV, NAS, NIV, ESV
– Scofield Study Bible, Oxford University Press, Old and Newer Versions: KJV, NKJV, NIV
- Recommended Books
From an ever-growing list of published books, it is difficult or almost impossible for Christian scholars or pastors to agree on the top ten or top fifty of the books they would recommend that every Christian should read or study. The books stated below have been carefully considered and are highly recommended. Others will undoubtedly be added in the future. The danger is not to post too many so that the purchase of these books becomes too heavy of a financial burden. Therefore if they cannot be purchased for home use, please encourage your church librarian to obtain them for the library in your church. Interlibrary loans can also be arranged from many public libraries if your local public library branch does not have these books.
Note: Pastors and advanced Bible students will have discerned that the books listed below are a mix of theological viewpoints. The Servant’s Place however will only recommend books that are conservative and evangelical and whose authors are those who hold to the truth that the Bible is God’s inspired (God breathed) Word and is without error and is the only absolute truth for this day or any day past or future. Refer to the “About” section of this Website.
The Top Ten Books for the Home Library recommended by The Servants Place.
- Knowing God by J. I. Packer
At least this book is at or near the top of every conservative, evangelical scholar’s recommended list and for good reason. If you only had one other choice other than a Bible to purchase, make it this classic by J. I. Packer. Read it at least once a year.
- Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
If you haven’t become acquainted with this author, start with this classic. It will help explain the Christian faith in ways that will challenge your thinking. C. S. Lewis is perhaps best known for the children’s series, “The Chronicles of Narnia” which have been made into film and shown around the world. Other Classic books recommended by C. S. Lewis include, The Problem of Pain, Suprised by Joy, The Great Divorce, Miracles, God in the Dock, The Pilgrim’s Regress and The Screwtape Letters
- Three Choices:
Basic Theology by Charles Ryrie, and Understanding Christian Theology, General Editors: Charles R. Swindoll and Roy B. Zuck; and TheMoody Handbook of Theology by Paul Enns.
Not everyone would list a theology book near the top of a top ten list. But theology is important and these books will help explain the doctrines of Scripture clearly so students of the Bible will not become overwhelmed with technical terms often found in theological text books.
- Exhaustive Concordance: Many versions are now available. For years the standard exhaustive concordance was Strongs for the KJV version. Now many other concordances for almost every Bible version are available in book form, in CD format and free on the Internet (Bible Gateway.com) An exhaustive concordance is invaluable when undertaking a study of Bible words or when trying to find cross references to help explain a particular Bible passage or verse.
- Desiring God (updated edition) by John Piper
No other author, since the days of Jonathan Edwards, has revived the need for Christians to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. The delight of God is every Christian’s duty. Read this outstanding book with your Bible and heart open to what God will reveal.
- The New Unger’s Bible Handbook – Moody Publishers
For a one volume Bible Handbook at a reasonable price Unger’s Bible Handbook is an indispensable and trusted resource explaining the grand themes of the Bible and individual Bible book introduction and outlines.
- Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary – Thomas Nelson Publishers
Every Christian home should have a Bible Dictionary to help explain the major words and great doctrines of the Scriptures. This one is arguably without peer for a one volume dictionary.
- The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
What is a book of fiction doing on a top ten list of books for the Christian servant? Good question! This enduring puritan classic like no other book in print explains the journey of becoming a Christian and the challenges of walking in faith. It is best to get an updated English version that preserves the intent of the author but can be understood by today’s readers. The Bunyan Ministries Website is suggested for many in-depth resources on John Bunyan.
- The Knowledge of The Holy by A. W. Tozer
This book has helped countless Christians gain a deep understanding and appreciation for the person and holiness of God. It should be read slowly and prayerfully. It will impact the life of anyone who seriously considers its message.
- The Joy of Fearing God by Jerry Bridges
Jerry Bridges has been associated with the Navigators Organization for nearly half a century. He has made an invaluable contribution to Christianity at large by his devotional writings and The Joy of Fearing God is perhaps his best work. It is also worthy of reading once a year.
Other recommended Books for the home or church library
This is a very brief and selective list and is not stated in any particular order of recommendation but all should at least be included in any conservative evangelical church library. Fiction books, except for a few exceptions are not listed.
A Passion for Souls: Life of D. L. Moody by Lyle W. Dorsett
Abandoned to God by Oswald Chambers
Above all Earthly Powers by David F. Wells
Ashamed of the Gospel by John MacArthur
Basic Christianity by John Stott
Being the Body by Chuck Colson and Ellen Vaughn Born Again by Chuck Colson
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J. I. Packer
Evidence for Christianity by Josh McDowell
Faith That Endures by Ronald Boyd-MacMillan
Father, Son & Holy Spirit by Bruce Ware
Future Grace by John Piper
Great Lives from God’s Word Series by Charles R. Swindoll
Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland H. Bainton
Him We Proclaim by Dennis E. Johnson
Holiness by J.C. Ryle
How Now Shall We Live by Chuck Colson and Nancy Pearcey
How Should We Then Live by Francis Schaeffer
Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias
Keep in Step with the Spirit by J. I. Packer
Know What You Believe, updated Edition by Paul E. Little
Lectures to My Students by Charles Spurgeon
Let the Nations be Glad by John Piper
Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark E. Dever
No Place for Truth by David Wells
Operation World, latest edition, by Jason Mandryk
Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ: A Pauline Theology by Thomas R. Schreiner
Paul, The Apostle of the Heart Set Free by F.F. Bruce
Praying Backwards by Bryan Chapell
Salvation to the Ends of the Earth by Andreas J. Kostenberger and Peter T. O’Brien
Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, Edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor
The Battle for the Beginning by John MacArthur
The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
The Deliberate Church by Mark Dever and Paul Alexander
The Disciplines of Grace by Jerry Bridges
The Grace Awakening by Charles Swindoll
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis
The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges
The Race Set Before Us by Thomas R. Schreiner and Ardel B. Caneday
The Safest Place on Earth by Larry Crabb
The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
The Training of the Twelve by A. B. Bruce
The Unshakable Truth by Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell
Through Gates of Splendour by Elisabeth Elliot
Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace by James Montgomery Boice
William Tyndale: A Biography by David Daniell
Women’s Ministry in the Local Church by J. Ligon Duncan and Susan Hunt
Reference and Academic
(Please refer to the Bible Commentaries and Studies Article for recommended books in that category)
Analytical Concordance to the Bible,edited by Robert Young Basic Theology by Charles Ryrie
Best Books for Your Bible Study Library by Cyril J. Barber
Christian Theology by Millard J. Erickson (caution: old earth creation view)
Cruden’s Complete Concordance by Alexander Cruden
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J. I. Packer
Everlasting Dominion by Eugene Merrill
Exhaustive Concordance to the Bible by James Strong
Future Israel by Barry Horner
God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment by James M. Hamilton Jr.
God’s Greater Glory by Bruce Ware
God’s Lesser Glory by Bruce Ware
How to Choose a Bible Version by Robert L. Thomas
How to Read the Bible for All its Worth by Gordon Fee
How to Study the Bible, Revised, by Kay Arthur
Lectures in Systematic Theology by H. C. Thiessen
Major Bible Themes by L.S Chafer and J. Walvoord
Nave’s Topical Bible, edited by Orville J. Nave
Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps & Charts, Thomas Nelson Publishers
Nelson’s New Testament Survey by Mark Bailey and Tom Constable
Nelson’s Old Testament Survey by Charles Dyer and Eugene Merrill
New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, edited by R.L. Thomas
New Testament Commentary Survey, current edition, by D.A. Carson
New Testament Survey by Merrill C. Tenney New Testament Theology by Thomas R. Schreiner
No One Like Him by John S. Feinberg
Swindoll Leadership Library, Several Volumes, edited by Charles R. Swindoll
Systematic Theology by L.Berkhof (Reformed and Ammilennial in eschatalogy)
Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem 
Talk Thru the Bible by Bruce Wilkinson and Ken Boa
The Bible Reader’s Companion by Lawrence O. Richards
The Books and the Parchments by F. F. Bruce
The Fundamentals edited by R.A. Torrey The Greek-English Concordance to the N.T by J. Kohlenberger III, E. Goodrick & J. Swanson
The MacArthur Bible Handbook by John MacArthur, Thomas Nelson Publishers
The Messiah in the Old Testament, Walter C, Kaiser, Jr.
The Messianic Hope, by Michael Rydelnik
The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times by Ralph Gower
The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, by R. A.Torrey
The NIV Exhaustive Concordance, edited by E.Goodrick and J. Kohlenberger III
The Promise Plan of God by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.
The Wycliffe Historical Geography of Bible Lands, edited by C. F. Pfeiffer
Theological Workbook of the Old Testament, Editors: R.L Harris, G.L. Archer and B.K Waltke
Things to Come by Dwight J. Penetecost
Toward and Old Testament Theology, Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.
Understanding Christian Theology edited by Charles R. Swindoll and Roy B. Zuck
Zondervan Handbook of the Bible, Zondervan Publishers
 Caution: Grudem believes that the prophetic gifts given to the Apostles are still available (but not infallible) today. He also holds to an old earth creation viewpoint. This book is listed because it is still of much benefit to the discerning Bible student.
Bible Atlas, Holman Quick Source by Paul H. Wright
Crossway ESV Bible Atlas with CD Rom by John D. Currid and David P. Barrett
The New Moody Atlas of the Bible by Barry J. Beitzel
Zondervan Atlas of the Bible by Carl G. Rasmussen
Bible Dictionaries and Word Studies
Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology edited by W.A. Elwell, Baker
Expository Dictionary of Bible Words by Stephen D. Renn
Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Thomas Nelson Publishers
Smith’s Bible Dictionary by William Smith
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words by W.E. Vine
Zondervan’s Pictorial Bible Dictionary, edited by Merrill C. Tenney
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 4 volumes, edited by Geoffrey W. Bromiley,
The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, 5 volumes, edited by Merrill C. Tenney
A Mind for Missions: Ten Ways to Build Your World Vision by Paul Borthwick
Eternity in Their Hearts by Don Richardson
Faith That Endures by Ronald Boyd-MacMillan
How to Be a World Class Christian by Paul Borthwick
Introducing World Missions by Scott A Moreau, Gary R. Corwin and Gary B. McGee
Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper
Lords of the Earth by Don Richardson
Ministering Cross-Culturally by Sherwood G. Lingenfelter and Marvin K Mayers
Mission in the Old Testament: Israel As a Light to the Nations by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.
Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies by Dr. Gailyn Van Rheenen
More Than One Way? By Dennis L. Okholm and Timothy R. Phillips
Operation World, 7th Edition, Jason Mandryk, Biblica Publishing
Peace Child by Don Richardson
Salvation to the Ends of the Earth: A Biblical Theology of Mission by Andreas J. Kostenberger and Peter T. O’Brien
Serving as Senders by Neal Pirolo,
Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot
The Church is Bigger Than You Think by Patrick Johnstone
The Hole in our Gospel, Richard Stearns
The Reentry Team by Neal Pirolo
Through No Fault of Their Own by William Crockett and James Sigountos
Through Gates of Splendour by Elisabeth Elliot
What is Mission? Theological Explorations by Andrew J. Kirk
Helpful Books about Teaching Adults: (Alphabetical list by Author):
Fee, Gordon D. and Douglas Stuart. How to Read the Bible for All its Worth
Ford, Leroy. Design for Teaching and Training: A Self-Study Guide for Lesson Planning
Hendricks, Howard. Teaching to Save Lives: Seven Proven Ways to Make Your Teaching Come Alive
Hendricks, Howard and William Hendricks. Living By The Book: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible
Hunt, Josh and Larry Mays. Disciple Making Teachers
LeFever, Marlene D. Creative Teaching Methods
Richards, Lawrence O. and Gary J. Bredfelt. Creative Bible Teaching
Yount, William R. Called to Teach: An Introduction to the Ministry of Teaching
Zuck, Roy B. Spirit Filled Teaching
Zuck, Roy B. Teaching as Jesus Taught.
Helpful Books about Teaching Youth (Teens): Alphabetical list by Author:
An extensive list of resources for youth ministry is available from Youth Ministry Institute:
Dean, Kenda C. and Dave Rhan. Starting Right: Thinking Theologically About Youth Ministry
Dean, Kenda C. Practicing Passion: Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church
Fields, Doug. Purpose-Driven Youth Ministry
Higgs, Mike. Youth Ministry from the Inside Out: Who You Are Shapes What You Do
Lambert, Dan. Creative Teaching That Changes Lives: How to Teach Teens for Holistic Impact
Reid, Alvin L. Raising the Bar: Ministry to Youth in the New Millennium.
Robbins, Duffy. This Way to Youth Ministry: An Introduction to Adventure
Strommen, Merton P., Karen E. Jones, Dave Rahn. Youth Ministry That Transforms: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Hopes, Frustrations and Effectiveness of Today’s Youth Workers
Helpful Books about Teaching Children: Alphabetical list by Author:
Dunlop, Cheryl. Follow Me As I Follow Christ: A Guide to Teaching Children in a Church Setting
Fowler, Larry. Rock-Solid Kids: Giving Children a Biblical Foundation for Life
Price, Max. Help! I Teach Children’s Sunday School
Tolbert, La Verne. Teaching Like Jesus: A Practical Guide to Christian Education in Your Church
Trent, John, Rick Osborne and Kurt B. Bruner: Editors. A Parent’s Guide to the Spiritual Growth of Children
Trent, John, Rick Osborne and Kurt B. Bruner. Editors. Teaching Kids About God
Wamberg, Steve, John Conaway and H. Norman Wright. Faith Teaching
Elders and Deacons
This is the most referenced book on Biblical Eldership:
Biblical Eldership by Alexander Strauch. Sub-title: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Leadership. A condensed version of this book can be found on many Websites.
Other Selected Books by Alexander Strauch:
The Study Guide to Biblical Eldership
The Mentor’s Guide to Biblical Eldership: Twelve Lessons for Mentoring Men to Eldership
The New Testament Deacon: The Church’s Minister of Mercy
The New Testament Deacon: Study Guide
Other Publications for Elders and Deacons:
Getz, Gene A. Elders & Leaders: God’s Plan for Leading the Church
Newton, Phil A. Elders in Congregational Life: Discovering the Biblical Model for Church Leadership
Webb, Henry. Deacons: Servant Models in the Church. Updated Edition
Adams, Jay. Handbook of Church Discipline
Other recommended Lists of Christian Books:
- Book List by Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary
This is an updated list (.pdf format) of conservative resources that are highly recommended. The list is extensive and includes suggested commentaries for each book of the Bible.
- 850 Books of Biblical Expositors – The Masters Seminary
“850 Books for Biblical Expositors” which includes recommended commentaries for each book of the Bible. This is a very dated but still useful list. It is available in .pdf format from the Masters Seminary Website.