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Books I Recommend: Biographies

I love to read biographies. I enjoy other genres too, but biographies are my favorite. Where other books describe about strengths and weaknesses, biographies display those strengths and weaknesses. Here is a selection of biographies I recommend.

Christians You Should Know

Here is a selection of important Christians you should get to know.

  • Bunyan, John
    Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan by Faith Cook. A fast-paced and interesting account of Bunyan’s life.
  • Calvin, John
    Calvin by Bruce Gordon. Gordon does an especially good job of setting Calvin within his historical context, showing how the theologian was a product of his time, his nation, his church.
  • Chambers, Oswald
    Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God by David McCasland. Introduces a new generation to the author of My Utmost For His Highest.
  • Edwards, Jonathan
    Jonathan Edwards: A Life by George Marsden. This is a powerful biography of a very important theologian.
  • Grey, Jane
    Lady Jane Grey by Faith Cook. Here is the short, tragic life of Lady Jane Grey.
  • Jones, Peter
    Sacred Feathers by Donald B. Smith. This tells the story of a Canadian member of the Ojibwa tribe who became a powerful preacher.
  • Keller, Timothy
    Timothy Keller by Collin Hansen. However you tell the history of Christianity at the dawn of new millennium, it needs to include Keller.
  • Lewis, C.S.
    C.S. Lewis – A Life by Alister McGrath. McGrath portrays Lewis as an eccentric genius and a reluctant prophet.
  • Livingstone, David
    David Livingstone by Vance Christie. This is a large and excellent biography of a key figure in world missions
  • MacArthur, John
    Servant of the Word & Flock by Iain Murray. Murray did not set out to write a full-length biography. But since he did, it is well worth reading.
  • Moody, D.L.
    D.L. Moody: A Life by Kevin Belmonte. A solid biography of a man who changed the world.
  • Newton, John
    John Newton by Jonathan Aitken. There is much more to Newton than “Amazing Grace.”
  • Packer, J.I.
    J.I Packer: An Evangelical Life by Leland Ryken. This is an enjoyable account of Packer’s life, though it may leave you wanting more.
  • Shaeffer, Francis
    Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life by Colin Duriez. This will probably not be the definitive account of Schaeffer’s life, but it is the best so far.
  • Spurgeon, Charles
    Spurgeon by Arnold Dallimore. This biography is too short, but serves as a great introduction to Charles Spurgeon.
  • Spurgeon, Suzie
    Susie by Ray Rhodes Jr. So much of Charles’ ministry was enabled by the love and commitment of his wife. (See also Susannah Spurgeon by Mary Mohler.)
  • Tozer, A.W.
    A.W. Tozer: A Passion for God by Lyle Dorsett. This is an honest, and at times painful, account of Tozer’s life.
  • Tyndale, William
    William Tyndale: A Biography by David Daniell. An account of the man who gave us the Bible in English.
  • Whitefield, George
    George Whitefield by Arnold Dallimore. This biography of Whitefield is a massive two-volume set that tells the life of one of God’s more unusual servants. This may be one of the most impactful biographies you’ll ever read.
  • Wilberforce, William
    Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas. Traces the life of the British politician who dedicated his life to revoking slavery.


There are many missionaries you ought to know. Here are a few of them:

  • Carmichael, Amy
    Amy Carmichael: Beauty for Ashes by Iain Murray. A short but packed little biography of an important figure.
  • Judson, Adoniram
    Adoniram Judson by Vance Christie. The very first foreign missionary to be sent from America.
  • Liddell, Eric
    Pure Gold by David McCasland. An Olympic hero who left it all behind and died on the mission field.
  • Martyn, Henry
    For the Love of India: The Story of Henry Martyn by Jim Cromarty. Martyn’s short career as a missionary was marked by dedication, honesty, transparency and sacrifice.
  • Stam, John & Betty
    John & Betty Stam by Vance Christie. Christian martyrs who sparked a great resurgence of missionary fervor.
  • Taylor, Hudson
    Hudson Taylor: Gospel Pioneer to China by Vance Christie. A short but powerful account of the life of a man who was truly great in the Kingdom of God.


Here are just a few of my favorite political biographies.

  • Adams, John
    John Adams by David McCullough. McCullough may be the best biographer alive today.
  • Churchill, Winston
    The Last Lion (3-volume set) by William Manchester. It takes three volumes to do justice to a man with the legacy of Winston Churchill.
  • Lincoln, Abraham
    A. Lincoln: A Biography by Ronald C. White Jr. This is a brilliant account of Lincoln’s life.
  • Truman, Harry
    Truman by David McCullough – This is easily one of the best biographies ever written.

(For more recommendations, you may wish to see my reading project: Biographies of the U.S. Presidents.)


Here are a few other figures whose biographies may interest you.

  • Beecher, Henry Ward
    The Most Famous Man in America by Debby Applegate. Ward was a fake, philanderer and apostate, but remained one of America’s most celebrated preachers in his day.
  • Jackson, Stonewall
    Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend by James Robertson Jr. Jackson remains a fascinating figure and this is an incredible account of his life.
  • Jobs, Steve
    Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Jobs was a fascinating figure; Isaacson’s account of his life reveals him in all his strengths and weaknesses.
  • Schulz, Charles
    A Charlie Brown Religion by Stephen J. Lind. Lind tells the story of the life of the Peanuts creator by focusing on his faith.