Christian Biographies Worth Your Time

“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” (Heb. 13:7) And as one preacher said, “you can’t imitate what you don’t know.” So when was the last time your read a good Christian biography? Plenty of Christians have an abridged copy of Fox’s Book of Martyrs—which is a good place to start. I would like to suggest a few other good ones about some great church leaders that you may not have considered:

Meet the Puritans: With a Guide to Modern Reprints by Joel R. Beeke And Randall J. Pederson

Filled with short biographies of a hundred or so Puritans with a list of their works that are still in print. A great resource to get to really get to know the Puritans. And if you liked this book you can read about some other Puritans in Scottish Puritans: Select Biographies by W. K. Tweedie . It is two volumes loaded with biographical material.

John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace by Jonathan Aitken and Philip Yancey

More than a story about “Amazing Grace.” Read this book to discover his impact on the lives of Cowper and Wilberforce, and many others.

Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas

The exciting story of William Wilberforce’s fight to stop the slave trade in England.

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

Eric Metaxas is a adept writer. This biography reveals Bonhoeffer’s love for the Scriptures, Christ, and the Church revealing a Bonhoeffer that has been perverted for over fifty years. Metaxas does a great job of exhibiting Bonhoeffer’s struggle to do the will of God has he grapples with the issue of state and church. Highly recommended.

Calvin by T. H. L. Parker

Life of Arthur W Pink by Iain Murray

The Cambridge Seven: The True Story of Ordinary Men Used in No Ordinary Way by John Pollock

The Mighty Weakness of John Knox by Douglas Bond

Thomas Boston: His Life & Times by Andrew Thomson

Wesley and Men Who Followed by Iain H. Murray

Confessions St. Augustine

O.K., you have heard of this biography but have you read it? Get Garry Wills’ updated translation for a easy to read copy.

Anne Bradstreet: A Guided Tour of the Life and Thought of a Puritan Poet by Heidi L. Nichols

“Bradstreet’s unique role in church history, as a woman espousing Puritan and Reformed theology in the early American colonies, makes an ideal figure for study.” J.I. Packer

John Stott: The Making of a Leader: A Biography of the Early Years by Timothy Dudley-Smith

The Forgotten Spurgeon by Iain H. Murray

A Passion for God: The Spiritual Journey of A.W. Tozer by Lyle W. Dorsett

But make sure you don’t forget about reading about great missionaries! And this list is just a beginning:

Peace Child: An Unforgettable Story of Primitive Jungle Treachery in the 20th Century by Don Richardson

Daws: A Man Who Trusted God by Betty L Skinner

The story of Dawson Trotman the founder of The Navigators. Read the story about a disciplined man committed to the diligent study of God’s Word and training leaders to teach others to do the same.

Cameron Townsend: Good News in Every Language by Geoff Benge

Cameron Townsend is the founder of the Wycliffe Bible Translators.

John G. Paton: Missionary to the New Hebrides by John Gibson Paton

The Life and Diary of David Brainerd by Jonathan Edwards

This book has inspired missionaries for decades and has not been out of print since it was first published in 1749.

Hudson Taylor: Gospel Pioneer to China by Vance E. Christie

Flight Path: A Biography of Frank Barker Jr by Janie Buck & Mary Lou Davis

If none of these meet your fancy, you can always read about Bible characters. They can all be found in your Bible, but for a start you could read these:

The Apostle: A Life of Paul by John Pollock

Elijah: A Man of Heroism and Humility By Charles R. Swindoll

Charles Swindall has numerous books on Bible characters like Job, Ester, David, et al.

Simon Peter by Hugh Martin or From Simon to Peter by J. Glyn Owen

Both of these are out of print but are available used or in your local library.


…and the list goes on.



  1. Thank you for the list, I like to have something written down I can come back to. I may need another bookshelf.
    Did anyone get back to that lady that commented on the kill pill blog?

  2. Each year John Piper does a biography on another giant of the faith like you are listing above. I have enjoyed them greatly. You can read them or listen to John give the biography.

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