16 Book Recommendations for Studying Apologetics

16 Book Recommendations for Studying ApologeticsI’ve been asked several times lately for book recommendations in the area of apologetics (learning to defend your faith), so today I’m giving you my top picks!

I’ve broken my recommendations into four areas, plus a bonus category of books that didn’t fit neatly elsewhere:

  • Nature of Truth and Worldviews
  • God
  • Jesus
  • The Bible

I’m giving you three picks in each category. The “required” pick is what I recommend as the starting point. The “extra credit” pick will take you deeper. The “advanced” pick will challenge you significantly.

Remember, we can’t equip our kids to meet today’s faith challenges unless we first equip ourselves. No matter where you are on your faith journey, you’ll find something here that will deepen your faith and better prepare you to raise kids who love the Lord.

 

Nature of Truth and Worldviews

 

Required

True for You, But Not for Me: Overcoming Objections to Christian Faith by Paul Copan

Paul Copan has written several really accessible books on apologetics. His chapters are typically very short and to the point, making his books good reads for busy parents. This book concisely but thoroughly addresses a plethora of common secular statements like, “Who are you to judge others?”, “Christians are intolerant!” and “Who are you to impose your morality on others?” It’s an excellent introduction to Christian logic on the nature of truth.

 

Extra Credit

Neighboring Faiths: A Christian Introduction to World Religions by Winfried Corduan

This is not a short read – it’s 496 pages. But each chapter is an independent exploration of a different religion, so you can pick and choose chapters whenever you want. I read this recently and I can’t tell you how much it developed my understanding of Christianity in the context of other worldviews. Every Christian parent should work through this book (or one like it).

 

Advanced

How Do We Know?: An Introduction to Epistemology by James K. Dew

Epistemology is the study of knowledge: how do we know what we know? In the Christian context, what makes belief in something rational and justified? I must say that I’m not a person who gets very excited about philosophy. But this particular topic is important for Christians to understand today, given how frequently non-believers make claims that Christian belief is irrational. This is a short and accessible introduction that provides an excellent framework for learning about this topic.

 

God

 

Required

Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy and Science (a volume of articles edited by William Dembski and Michael Licona)

This is a unique collection of (mostly) easy-to-read articles that explain the evidence for God from a variety of sources. If you feel like you don’t have time to read whole books, this is a great resource – you can pick an article at a time!

 

Extra Credit

Read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, then True Reason: Confronting the Irrationality of the New Atheism (a volume of essays edited by Tom Gilson and Carson Weitnauer)

Yes, I’m recommending that you read a book written by a highly antagonistic atheist (Richard Dawkins). But hear me out. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, will give you the sense of urgency you need for equipping your kids to defend their faith more than reading this 400+ page book of attacks on religion. It may be painful, but you have to know what your kids are up against. Otherwise, it’s like training a football team while refusing to watch the game films of your upcoming opponent.

When you’re done, read the book True Reason. This is a fantastic collection of essays that just destroy the notion that the new atheists – like Dawkins – should have any special claim to being more reasonable than Christians. These authors really nailed it. If you know teens who have been swayed by atheist writers, get them a copy of True Reason too.

 

Advanced

Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig

No list of apologetics books would be complete without a recommendation for William Lane Craig. This is his classic book that dives deep into the evidence for God. If you are just starting out in apologetics, definitely don’t start here. But when you’re ready to really go deep, this is where you want to go. It’s difficult in parts, but don’t let that dissuade you from the rest.

 

Jesus

 

Required

The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Gary Habermas and Michael Licona

There is no apologetics topic on Jesus more important than the resurrection. The near-universal claim of non-believers is that Jesus did not come back to life because we know that people who die stay dead. So what evidence is there that someone DID miraculously come back to life, even though we all know that doesn’t naturally happen? This book explains what you need to know: the resurrection is an event that is open to historical investigation, not a matter of blind faith. It’s a must-read.

 

Extra Credit

No extra credit – focus on the required book! It’s that important.

 

Advanced

Read How Jesus Became God by Bart Ehrman, then How God Became Jesus (multiple author collection).

Bart Ehrman is an ex-Christian New Testament scholar who has written several best-selling books challenging the reliability of the Bible. In How Jesus Became God, he attempts to make a case that neither the disciples nor Jesus himself claimed that Jesus was God. Here again I’m recommending you read a book by a non-believer so you can understand what the secular world is saying. After you read Ehrman’s book, read How God Became Jesus, which is a response to Ehrman by five biblical scholars who are Christians.

 

The Bible

 

Required

Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace

When someone asks me for a book recommendation for getting started in apologetics, this is my go-to title. J. Warner Wallace is a homicide detective and former atheist who examined the claims of the New Testament using detective techniques. The book considers important questions like, “Were the witnesses present?” “Were they corroborated?” “Were they accurate?” and “Were they biased?” The information is creatively presented through a detective’s evaluation, making it a fascinating and memorable read. My top recommendation in the list.

 

Extra Credit

Can We Still Believe the Bible? By Craig L. Blomberg

This book is more academic in nature than Cold-Case Christianity, but addresses some crucial questions about the Bible that Cold-Case Christianity doesn’t get into. Most books on these particular questions are quite dry, but I found this one to be very readable. Each of the following questions forms a chapter in the book: Aren’t the copies of the Bible hopelessly corrupt? Wasn’t the selection of books for the canon just political? Can we trust any of our translations of the Bible? Don’t these issues rule out biblical inerrancy? Aren’t several narrative genres of the Bible unhistorical? Don’t all the miracles make the Bible mythical? Every Christian should be able to answer these questions. If you can’t, get this book.

 

(Very, Very, Very) Advanced

On the Reliability of the Old Testament by K.A. Kitchen

This one is for the over-achievers. It’s 500+ pages about the archaeological support for the Old Testament by a top scholar. For most, that’s enough information to move you on to my next recommendation. But if you like history or have a special interest in the Old Testament, this is an amazing work. It really gave me an appreciation for the difficulties of Old Testament research.

 

Bonus Picks (books that don’t fit neatly in the other categories)

 

Required

Confident Faith: Building a Firm Foundation for Your Beliefs by Mark Mittelberg

If you’re just getting started on the journey of developing a more well-rooted faith, this is a wonderful book that is totally unintimidating. Mittelberg writes as if you are sitting down with him over a cup of coffee. The book has a fun “Faith Path Questionnaire” that helps you discover how you came to your beliefs, describes the six different types of faith paths (and their positive/negative aspects), introduces twenty pieces of evidence for Christianity, and explains ten barriers to belief. It’s a smorgasbord of insight into developing a more confident faith. If you feel like you’re not a very “academic” person, you may enjoy this one more than any other! And if you enjoy this book, you should check out Mittelberg’s book Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask, which tackles 10 big questions in a similarly accessible way.

 

Extra Credit

When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook on Christian Evidences by Norman Geisler

Appropriately named, this is a catch-all “handbook” that discusses a broad spectrum of questions about Christianity. Each chapter stands alone, so you can read it as you have time, or treat it strictly as a reference. Very well written and easy to read.

 

Advanced

Signature in the Cell by Stephen Meyer

You may have noticed that I didn’t get into books on creation and evolution here. The subject is critical but would require its own post of recommendations. That said, if I could isolate just one book from that category to add here, it would be this one. Signature in the Cell explains in great detail the complexities of DNA to answer the question of whether life is the product of unthinking matter or of an intelligent mind. I’m not sure any book has made more of an impression on me in terms of the evidence for God.

 

OK, your turn! What picks would you add to the list? Do you have any thoughts to add on the books listed here? I’d love to hear what you think!

27 Comments

  1. Dancing the Shipoopi on July 24, 2014 at 7:23 AM

    What’s So Great About Christianity by Dinesh D’Souza
    Faith Has Its Reasons by Boa and Bowman



  2. Andrea on July 24, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    My top picks:
    Mere Christianity by CS Lewis
    Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey
    Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
    Understanding the Times David Noebel
    Seeking Allah Finding Jesus Qureshi
    Can Man Live Without God Ravi Zacharias
    Truth Project dvds by Focus on Family
    Ultimate Proof Jason Lisle
    …..so many good ones



  3. […] from Natasha Crain’s blog –  Comments […]



  4. Bobby Brooks on July 24, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    Excellent format Natasha!



  5. James on July 24, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    These are my top 10, or nearly so. So many good apologetic books to choose from. 🙂 Natasha, if you have not read “I don’t have enough Faith to be an Atheist” I would highly recommend that one. So many depend on what level of apologetics you find yourself. I have put * to represent, in my opinion what level they would be. One * for beginners, two ** for intermediate, and three *** for advanced.

    *On Guard by William Lane Craig
    *Tactics by Greg Koukl
    *The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask by Mark Mittleberg
    *Cold-Case Christianity by Jim Wallace
    *The Case for Christ/Faith/Creator by Lee Strobel
    **I Don’t have enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek
    **Defending Your Faith by R.C. Sproul
    **The Reason for God by Tim Keller
    **What’s so Great about Christianity by Dinesh D’Souza
    ***Miracles by Craig Keener
    ***God’s Undertaker by John Lennox
    ***Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig

    A Manual For Creating Atheists by Peter Boghossian would fall into the category of the God Delusion by Dawkins. it would put a scare into many Christians. It should be quickly followed up by Tom Gilson’s materials.

    Lastly, Miracles by Keener, (not cheap) is not an apologetic book per say, but a wealth of information on miracles past and present day that will greatly boost your faith.



  6. Stef on July 24, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Thanks for these great recommendations! My husband recommends the author John Lennox:
    God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?
    Gunning For God: Why the New Atheists Are Missing the Target
    Seven Days That Divide the World: The Beginning According to Genesis and Science
    I haven’t had a chance to read all of them yet but he has a strong science background which is great for the topics he covers!



  7. Michael on July 24, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    Lovely recommendations, but all of them seem to be missing a very important title.

    The Bible, by God.

    “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isa 55:10-11 ESV)



    • Robert Vroom on July 24, 2014 at 4:12 PM

      I wish there was a way to like comments here. 🙂



    • Jamie on January 24, 2015 at 11:09 AM

      Awesome!! 🙂



  8. Cristero on July 24, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    Edward Feser – The Last Superstition



  9. Marcia on July 24, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    ~The Universe Next Door by James Sire
    ~Scripture Twisting by James Sire
    ~The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back by Peter Jones (good for understanding neo-Gnostic New Age views today)
    ~All books by Ron Rhodes
    ~SpellBound: The Paranormal Seduction of Today’s Kids by Marcia Montenegro (the occult) (okay, no one can expect me not to give my book!)



  10. Robert Vroom on July 24, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    Christian Apologetics by Douglas Groothuis is an excellent book too.



  11. Thom A. Schultz on July 24, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    FaithReasons Top 10 Books On/About Apologetics
    1. Baker Encyclopedia Of Christian Apologetics, N. Geisler.
    2. New Dictionary Of Christian Apologetics, ed. Campbell-Jack, McGrath, and Evans.
    3. I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist, Geisler and Turek.
    4. Mere Apologetics, A. McGrath.
    5. Christian Apologetics, D. Groothuis.
    6. Scaling The Secular City, J. P. Moreland.
    7. Faith Has Its Reasons, Boa and Bowman.
    8. Christian Apologetics, N. Geisler.
    9. Handbook Of Christian Apologetics, Kreeft and Tacelli.
    10. God Is Great, God Is Good, ed. Craig and Meister.

    There are many other books I would have liked to include. There are also books that are easier to read that I would like to have included (perhaps I will do a list of easy reading apologetics works later). One could also make a list of classic apologetics works. None the less, my criteria for this list is books that explain the purpose of apologetics well and/or are important resources on apologetics (provide helpful arguments for the claims of Xty) for a contemporary apologist. Some honorable mentions that I want to mention are:
    A. Five Views On Apologetics, Cowan.
    B. A History Of Apologetics, Dulles.
    C. Reasonable Faith, Craig.
    D. Reasons For Faith, Geisler and Meister.
    E. Mere Christianity, Lewis.
    F. Know Why you Believe, Little.
    G. Testing Christianity’s Truth Claims, Lewis.
    H. Varieties Of Christian Apologetics, Ramm.
    I. Christian Apologetics In A World Community, Dryness.
    Missing are any presuppositional apologetics works as I am convinced that the presuppositional approach is inadequate as an apologetic method. Still, the best of that approach is
    J. Faith And Reason, R. Nash.
    Picking best works is sometimes like listing best friends in order. It is hard to do and sometimes seems unfair. Still, I think this list is a fine list of important works in apologetics. I will review each of the Top 10 in future posts and explain the reasons for my choices. I may review some of the H.M. list throughout. May all this be of some help to you as you prepare to defend and share your faith or just discover strong reasons for you beliefs.
    #FRtoptenbookreviews
    #FRapologeticbookreviews
    FaithReasons (an Apologetic or Reasons for the Xn Faith page) or FR address:

    https://www.facebook.com/FaithReasons

    Faith Reasons II (a page that offers commentary on Xn Theology and Ethics) or FRII address:

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Faith-Reasons-II/119578241577554
    Copyright © 2014
    Thom A. Schultz and/or
    FaithReasons-All rights reserved



    • Paul Short on July 26, 2014 at 9:54 AM

      “Missing are any presuppositional apologetics works as I am convinced that the presuppositional approach is inadequate as an apologetic method.”

      Truer words were never spoken. I watched a presuppositional apologist in a debate once. The audience was literally laughing at him. It was bad…and uncomfortable.



  12. John on July 25, 2014 at 6:33 AM

    An excellent book that covers almost all categories listed above in one easy-to-read volume is “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek. A companion DVD and a curriculum workbook is available for study at Mr. Turek’s website, Cross Examined. Another book that is unique in approach in that the focus is on how to apply one’s knowledge of Apologetics during real-life encounters is “Tactics: A Game plan For Discussing Your Christian Convictions” by Gregory Koukl. “Tactics” is invaluable and can be found at Mr. Koukl’s website, Stand to Reason.



  13. The Weekly Hit List: July 25, 2014 on July 25, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    […] Can We Still Believe the Bible? by Craig Blomberg was referenced on The Pathway and recommended by Natasha Crain. […]



  14. Leigh Ann on July 27, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    Mary Jo Sharp’s curriculum, Why Do You Believe That? is great for group or personal study. An excellent recommended reading list is included as well in the leader guide. What I appreciate is that it covers not simply knowing what we believe, but how to *listen*, share confidently and humbly, AND how to recognize faulty logic and arguments! The Bible is, of course, a source of truth for us as believers, but for many conversations, “The Bible says…” as our first or only response is very ineffective. Therefore, I’d recommend adding books such as The Fallacy Detective, The Art of Argument or even How to Argue Like Jesus to these wonderful selections!



  15. Rosann on July 28, 2014 at 6:21 AM

    Thanks for sharing this great list! I’m really enjoying Cold-Case Christianity. 🙂



  16. Paul Copan on July 29, 2014 at 7:12 AM

    Thanks for the post and recommendations, Natasha!



  17. Roger Sharp on August 5, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    GREAT LIST! Thanks for the shout out in the thread for Mary Jo Sharp’s works 😀 I’m a fan…



  18. Ben Davis on January 29, 2015 at 10:08 PM

    Straw dogs by John Gray is an excellent book from an atheistic perspective. He takes atheism to its logical conclusion. He completely destroys the notion that atheists can cling to a moralistic framework while being consistent with an atheistic world veiw.



  19. Ben on April 23, 2015 at 8:30 PM

    CS Lewis (Mere Christianity) Greg Koukl (Tactics) I read these two every year.



  20. M. Thomas on May 8, 2015 at 8:36 AM

    Thank you once again. I agree 100%. I’m currently reading “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist ” and “Mere Christianity “. How can I expect my daughter to believe, let alone defend what she hasn’t researched and come to believe based on evidence? Almost every discussion, whether political, scientific or just mundane, we reason with God’s view in mind. 100% of the people I ask how do they know God exists, the answer is always the same. They just know. They feel it in their hearts. I think that’s great, however, here I am today trying to find out if He really does. My daughter, if not prepared, will be challenged at the University. Before I can reason with her, her mind will be contaminated with false reasons as to why she should not believe in God. There’s evidence, but we have to research and convince ourselves of our belief.



  21. Tracy Dungan on May 20, 2015 at 7:55 AM

    My son has come home from college, and declared that he is an atheist. We’ve been discussing some apologetic issues for a couple of years now – that’s part of the reason why I’ve become such a fan of apologetics and of your blog – but I couldn’t stop this train. Now he’s checked out of the library what would probably be called the top ten books for your new atheist, and I’m trying to read some of them, too, so I know what is going in to his brain. I’m feeling in over my head – I’m not a fallacy detective (I’m reading up, but have a LONG way to go), I know what I believe and why but my ability to articulate falls short of my understanding. And there is just so much anger, and lies and truth mixed together, and a characterization of all Christians that makes me sick to think this is what my son thinks (or will think) of us.

    My question for you is about reading some of these atheist manuals/anti-apologetics. When you read something like The God Delusion, where do you go to protect and/or refresh your soul? I feel like this could be an entire devotional series… Know of something? Or have a few choice areas in the Bible that you meditate on before, during, and after?



  22. Bill on June 14, 2015 at 7:35 PM

    Do you have any recommendations for apologetics resources for children themselves? I have a few:
    -Dr. Craig’s series on what is God like?
    -Joey Allen big thoughts series
    Looking for more ideas.



  23. Norma Ramos on April 10, 2016 at 6:01 PM

    HI WHAT BOOKS CAN YOU RECOMMEND FOR CHILDREN..NEPHEW 6YRS OLD? 🙂



  24. Steven on November 10, 2017 at 7:30 AM

    Is God a moral monster Copan
    Beyond Opinion Ravi
    Jesus Among other God’s Ravi
    Case For Faith Lee Stroble
    Tactics Koukle