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.