The Read for the Lord programme was devised for use at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. These lists – the ‘Start-Up List’ and the ‘Sequel List’ – are designed to be of use both to starters and more advanced readers. The books are selected for enjoyable reading, not laboured study.

We believe these are the most helpful books on their subject bearing in mind reasonable length and reader-friendly style. These lists vary the type of reading so that doctrinal, biographical and devotional books are intertwined, to give balance. (We recommend that books are read in the order given in the list.)

These days most publishers let books go out of print very quickly, and therefore these lists will be reissued from time to time with substitute titles. All the books within the reading lists below are available to order from the Tabernacle Bookshop. 

Gains of completing the recommended reading list – when united to a sincere devotional life

  1. Readers are far better equipped for serving the Lord as witnessing Christians, shepherds of others, or teachers in any department of the church.
  2. They will be ‘bigger’ people whose minds are far more alive, active and awake through their entire lives. Intelligence and mental energy will be stimulated and will continue growing, continuing bright and sharp into old age. Regular reading enlarges the ability to think, and increases powers of expression.
  3. Readers help their churches to withstand false teaching so that they do not fall prey to the avalanche of errors of these last days. Would you be an anchor in the church? Christian reading boosts discernment.
  4. Readers are greatly helped in deep trials and barren times because they are given a clear view of how God deals with His people, seeing them through to victory.

Hints on following both reading lists

  1. Read the way that suits you. Whether fast or slow, read naturally. (They say that slow readers retain more than fast ones.)
  2. Read and think. Let books give you food for thought. Assess what you read. Think it over in spare moments.
  3. Read and talk about it. Share impressions and recommendations. This will greatly enrich all your spiritual conversation, and it is one of the best ways to seal your knowledge in your mind.
  4. Read and be challenged. Let a good biography fire you up. Let a doctrinal book lead you to prove God. Let a devotional book stir self-examination and love to Christ.
  5. Read systematically. Don’t read only one kind of book (e.g. biography) so that your knowledge is lopsided. This programme takes you through a full range of vital topics in rotation. This secures the greatest benefit.
  6. Read always. Always have a book ‘on the go’. However little time you may have to spare in any week, try to read – even if only a few pages. Once broken, the reading habit recovers slowly, sometimes after months or years.
  7. Read but don’t steal. Your first priority throughout life is to read God’s Word. Other reading must never raid Bible reading time. Only the Word is infallible and authoritative, and all other books are good only as they promote Bible understanding and application.

Start-up List

1 The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan

398 pages, paperback, CLC, out of stock
The best possible starting point is this greatest-of-all allegories, which once shaped the nation. The nature of salvation and the spiritual battles of the believer are unfolded so helpfully, one never forgets. (C. H. Spurgeon read this over 100 times, regarding it as the most significant book after the Bible.)

2a Seven Certain Signs of True Conversion – Peter Masters

21 pages, booklet, Sword & Trowel
How can seekers tell if God has worked in their hearts? This outlines the marks of true conversion so helpful for gaining and keeping assurance of salvation.

2b Baptism, the Picture and its Purpose – Peter Masters

24 pages, booklet, Sword & Trowel
This describes the fourfold pictorial message of baptism intended by God, and shows why it is essential for new believers.

3 A Body of Divinity – Thomas Watson

328 pages, paperback, Banner of Truth
This classic is still the best way to obtain a bird’s-eye view of the faith. There are constant devotional and practical applications making this a fine survey of all the key doctrines. Of all the Puritans, Watson’s style is the briefest and most ‘modern’. Ideal for study groups, and for all ages.

4 Holiness – J. C. Ryle

324 pages, paperback, EP
This outstanding manual needs no commendation. All who read it remember its counsels clearly, and recommend it to others. In vigorous prose it imparts an education in sanctification, assurance, growth, and love for Christ and has changed many lives.

5 Steps for Guidance in the Journey of Life – Peter Masters

134 pages, paperback, Wakeman
Christians must seek God’s will in all the major decisions of life. Here are six biblical steps for finding God’s pathway with special attention to courtship and marriage, and chapters on how to think about wealth, ambition, leisure and church membership.

6 God’s Rules for Holiness: Unlocking the Ten Commandments – Peter Masters

139 pages, paperback, Sword & Trowel
Taken at face value the Ten Commandments are binding on all people, and will guard the way to Heaven. But the Commandments are far greater than their surface meaning, as this book shows. They challenge us as Christians on a wide range of deeds and attitudes, providing positive virtues as goals. And they give immense help for staying close to the Lord in our walk and worship. 

7 Profiting from the Word – A. W. Pink

125 pages, paperback, Counted Faithful
Arguably Pink’s best book. Shows the effect of Bible reading (rightly done) on the believer’s attitude to sin, God, prayer, good works, obedience, the world, the promises, joy and love. A clear, stirring book for all readers, and good for group study. Excellent for young believers.

8 The Real Baptism of the Holy Spirit – Peter Masters

86 pages, paperback, Wakeman
Is there a second blessing or baptism of the Spirit after conversion? Is the believer meant to struggle against sin, or does the Spirit sanctify by grace? What is the witness of the Spirit? And what is meant by the filling of the Spirit? Straightforward answers with ‘proof texts’.

9 The Holy War: Abridged Edition – John Bunyan

319 pages, paperback, Whitaker
This stirring allegory will give every reader a deep understanding of what happens in the salvation of a soul. Bunyan’s brilliant illustrations describe with immense insight the fall of ‘Mansoul’ and its rescue. A ‘must’ to be read, prompting a great step forward in spiritual growth. This edition is recast in modern English. Strongly recommended.

10 Spurgeon – Arnold Dallimore

252 pages, paperback, Banner
(1834-92) This is selected as the first biography on the list because it shows the power of the Word alone in converting many, and the way God blessed one who was obedient and faithful to Him.

11 The Attributes of God – A. W. Pink

96 pages, paperback, Counted Faithful 
Nowhere else are the attributes of God presented in such brief compass with such clarity and devotional impact. Countless Christians have had their entire outlook transformed by this modern classic. Vital reading, because, before anything else, we must grasp God’s majesty and greatness.

12 The Charismatic Illusion – Peter Masters & John Whitcomb

Now with more answers to questions asked by people investigating the arguments, this veteran book contends for the biblical position on the gifts that prevailed for nearly 2,000 years before the charismatic movement came along. Here is the dynamic teaching of the Spirit that sustained true churches and believers through dark and bright years of history.

13 The Pilgrim Church – E. H. Broadbent

456 pages, cloth, Gospel Folio
A superb ‘sweep’ of the story of Gospel power down through the ages. This focuses especially on preachers and churches who were faithful to Christ, who laboured valiantly, who endured trial and persecution, who suffered martyrdom, and who strove to reform their churches to conform to the Word of God. A ‘conviction’ book, written with passion, and showing that those who are most faithful are those who are most blessed.

14a Christian Stewardship – Peter Masters

22 pages, booklet, S&T
The duties of Christian stewardship are here presented, and many questions answered.

14b Your Reasonable Service in the Lord’s Work – Peter Masters

24 pages, booklet, S&T
This is designed to inspire church members to seek avenues of service within the church. It focuses on the strong commands in the New Testament to serve the Lord.

15 The Lie (Evolution) – Ken Ham

68 pages, paperback, Master Books [HAM01]
The author shows how to recognise the two ‘world views’, one arising from ­evolution, and the other based on the fact of creation. It is shown that evolution is a religion. Many objections that are raised against the book of Genesis are answered. Christians must know how to answer these questions.

16 A Golden Treasury of Puritan Devotion – M. Di Gangi

Out of print
This is a brilliant way of tasting the Puritans. It contains 500 short extracts from thirteen key Puritans, all chosen for their above-average pithiness. Whether a play on words, or a surprising, even jolting figure, brilliant statements tumble out of these pages. How did these men produce so many? This is a very good way of appreciating more the great doctrines of the faith.

17 The Trinity – E. H. Bickersteth

82 pages, paperback, Kregel
There is nothing to match this brilliant book by an evangelical scholar-bishop of the nineteenth century. It really helps one to see the greatness of each Person of the Trinity, and to love the Lord as never before.

18a Stand for the Truth – Peter Masters

36 pages, booklet, S&T
This gives the biblical arguments for separation from false teaching, showing the positive value of doing this. Ten commonly-heard arguments in defence of co-operation with Bible-denying groups (for example in evangelism) are answered.

18b The Five Points of Calvinism – W. J. Seaton

Out of print
This clearly explains the famous ‘five points’, dealing helpfully with the problems that occur to many minds, and especially to young believers.

19 Answers to My Catholic Friends – Thomas F. Heinze

62 pages, paperback, Chick
A lively book, novel in style, in which the author (a missionary in Italy for over 30 years) pinpoints the key differences between biblical salvation and Catholic teaching. He never says too much. Eight chief differences are singled out. This will definitely help the reader to witness to Catholic friends.

20 Should Christians Drink? – Peter Masters

32 pages, booklet, S&T
What are the biblical statements which have ­convinced the overwhelming majority of Bible-­believers over the last two centuries that the Lord wants His people to ­abstain from alcohol? These statements should be pondered and obeyed by all who want to please the Lord.

21 William Carey – S. Pearce Carey

437 pages, paperback, Wakeman
(1761-1834) A long read – but readers will never regret it. Dr John MacArthur calls this the best book he has ever read. It is a beautifully produced biography of the ‘father of modern missions’. Compelling pages convey the very atmosphere of an extraordinary time of missionary advance. Carey and his colleagues overcame mountainous obstacles to become the most productive church planters and Bible translators of all time. This story will stir the hearts of young and old alike.

22 From Forgiven to ­Forgiving – Jay Adams

175 pages, paperback, Calvary Press
This simply must be read as it deals with one of the saddest omissions in many Christian lives. It is subtitled – Learning to Forgive One Another God’s Way. All ­aspects of forgiveness are presented, including common errors among Christians, and the matter of restitution also.

23 The Healing Epidemic – Peter Masters

143 pages, paperback, Wakeman
A kind of sequel to Charismatic Illusion, this answers charismatic claims and arguments, showing that sign-gifts have ceased. It includes chapters on demons; on how James 5 should be obeyed today, and on the Bible’s insistence that the mind should always be ‘switched on’ in worship. It has a great concluding chapter on medical aspects of divine healing, by the late Prof Verna Wright, a much-loved and eminent Christian doctor.

24a Remember the Lord’s Day – Peter Masters

34 pages, booklet, S&T
Why was the sabbath day instituted by the Lord, and does it continue now as the Lord’s Day? If so, in what way has it changed with the coming of Christ? How should it be kept? This booklet responds to these and other questions, showing that the sabbath principle is still God’s will for believers today, and listing its purposes and blessings.

24b The Purposes of the Lord’s Supper – Peter Masters

24 pages, booklet, S&T
This lists nine purposes behind the Lord’s Supper, and provides a basis for thought and prayer at the Table.