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On My Shelf: Life and Books with Michael Kruger

On My Shelf helps you get to know various writers through a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lives as readers.

I asked Michael Kruger—president and professor of New Testament and early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina, and author of several books including Christianity at the Crossroads and The Question of Canon—about what’s on his nightstand, favorite biographies, books that have shaped his thinking on gospel ministry, and more.


What’s on your nightstand right now?

What are some books you re-read and why?

The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter is a book I try to read regularly. It reminds me not only how to care for the souls of others, but also my own.

The Mortification of Sin by John Owen is a tough read, but one worth repeating as much as possible. It is always a good reminder to return to the art of killing sin lest it be killing you.

I try to read through The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien every few years not only because I love the literature but also as a way to stir my imagination.

What biographies or autobiographies have most influenced you and why?

Arnold Dallimore’s biography of George Whitefield was quite influential. It maps out his evangelistic zeal in conjunction with his doctrinal disputes with Wesley.

Andy Hoffecker’s biography of Charles Hodge was a helpful glimpse into the life of a seminary professor, as was John D’Elia’s biography of George Eldon Ladd. The latter in particular highlights some of the dangers and pitfalls of academic ministry.

What are your favorite fiction books?

See above, Lord of the Rings. A similar genre I’ve enjoyed is the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.

What books have most shaped your view of gospel ministry?

What books have most shaped your view of marriage and fatherhood?

What is your favorite popular-level book on the early church?

The Rise of Christianity by Rodney Stark

What is your favorite popular-level book on the reliability of Scripture?

‘Fundamentalism’ and the Word of God. This is an all-around classic work and vintage J. I. Packer.

Which book do you wish every evangelical Christian would read and why?

Packer’s ‘Fundamentalism’ and the Word of God! We live in a crisis of biblical authority, and it would be helpful if every believer could digest this book.

What are you learning about life and following Jesus?

I am learning that perseverance is the goal of the Christian life. The race is not to the swift but to those who keep on running. I just want to finish well.


Also in the On My Shelf series: Robert Smith • Tony Merida • Andy Crouch • Walter Strickland • Hannah Anderson • S. D. Smith • Curtis Woods • Mindy Belz • Steve Timmis • David Mathis • Michael Lindsay • Nathan Finn • Jennifer Marshall • Todd Billings • Greg Thornbury • Greg Forster • Jen Pollock Michel • Sam Storms • Barton Swaim • John Stonestreet • George Marsden • Andrew Wilson • Sally Lloyd-Jones • Darryl Williamson • D. A. Horton • Carl Ellis • Owen Strachan • Thomas Kidd • David Murray • Jarvis Williams • Gracy Olmstead • Matthew Hall • Drew Dyck • Louis Markos • Ray Ortlund • Brett McCracken • Mez McConnell • Erik Raymond • Sandra McCracken • Tim Challies • Sammy Rhodes • Karen Ellis • Alastair Roberts • Scott Sauls • Karen Swallow Prior • Jackie Hill Perry • Bruce Ashford • Jonathan Leeman • Megan Hill • Marvin Olasky • David Wells • John Frame • Rod Dreher • James K. A. Smith • Randy Alcorn • Tom Schreiner • Trillia Newbell • Jen Wilkin • Joe Carter • Timothy George • Tim Keller • Bryan Chapell • Lauren Chandler • Mike Cosper • Russell Moore • Jared Wilson • Kathy Keller • J. D. Greear • Kevin DeYoung • Kathleen Nielson • Thabiti Anyabwile • Elyse Fitzpatrick • Collin Hansen • Fred Sanders • Rosaria Butterfield • Nancy Guthrie • Matt Chandler

Browse dozens of book recommendations from The Gospel Coalition’s leaders and sign up your church at Hubworthy.

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