On My Shelf helps you get to know various writers through a behind-the-scences glimpse into their lives as readers. I talked with Bryan Chapell about what’s on his nightstand, books he regularly revisits, and the biographies that have most shaped him.
What’s on your nightstand right now?
- Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Journey Toward Justice
- Gary Comer’s Soul Whisperer
- Nik Ripken’s The Insanity of God
- Rosaria Butterfield’s The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert
- Wesley Hill’s Washed and Waiting
What are some books you regularly re-read and why?
- C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. It touched me in my teens, and reminds me how “searchers” think (at least searchers like me).
- Tim Keller’s The Reason for God. It helps me think about how “searchers” unlike me think.
- John Stott’s Between Two Worlds. It’s dated in lots of ways, but not in pastoral balance.
- The Valley of Vision. Poetic and realistic at the same time, for different parts of my heart and head, as I seek to search and be searched by biblical truth.
- Pascal’s Pensées. I don’t read this regularly, but it’s been remarkably helpful at different stages of life.
- D. A. Carson’s How Long, O Lord?. Dealing with the most frequently asked question in the church.
What books have most helped you teach others about Jesus?
- J. I. Packer’s Knowing God
- Sidney Greidanus’s Sola Scriptura. Not because it was devotional, but because it came when I was in crisis of knowing how to preach without hurting people.
- Jerry Bridges’s Discipline of Grace
- Walter Marshall’s The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification
- Samuel Bolton’s The True Bounds of Christian Freedom
What biographies or autobiographies have most influenced you and why?
- David Livingstone. It taught me what it means to be faithful when all alone, and loving those who reject you.
- William Still. It showed me what it looks like to stay faithful when everyone else thinks you are crazy, and maybe you are—but what else can you do than what you believe is right?
- A Man Called Peter. Because his wife thought he was real, even if others did not.
- Adoniram Judson. I’ve learned from his life in various versions because of courage, devotion, brokenness, restoration, resilience, sadness, godliness.