Read for the Lord
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.
The Pilgrims Progress – John Bunyan
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.)
Seven Certain Signs of True Conversion
21 page booklet.
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.
Baptism, the Picture and it’s Purpose
24 page booklet.
This describes the fourfold pictorial message of baptism intended by God, and shows why it is essential for new believers.