His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation

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This is the story of the people, the books, the lectures, and ultimately the God who formed and shaped the life of Timothy Keller.

Millions have read books and listened to sermons by Timothy Keller. But which people and what events shaped his own thinking and spiritual growth? With access to Keller’s personal notes and sermons—as well as interviews with family members and longtime friends—Collin Hansen gives you understanding of one of the 21st century’s most influential church leaders.

Spend any time around Timothy Keller and you’ll learn what he’s reading, what he’s learning, what he’s seeing. The story of Timothy Keller is the story of his spiritual and intellectual influences, from the woman who taught him how to read the Bible to the professor who taught him to preach Jesus from every text to the philosopher who taught him to see beneath society’s surface.

Hansen introduces readers to Keller’s early years: the home where he grew up, the church where he learned to care for souls, and the city that lifted him to the international fame he never wanted.

“Unlike a traditional biography, this book tells Keller’s story from the perspective of his influences, more than his influence,” Hansen writes. “A child of the 1960s, student in the 1970s, church planter in the 1980s, and leader of one of New York’s largest churches on September 11, 2001, Timothy Keller’s life spans many of the last century’s most tumultuous events.”


Purchase the book, ebook, or audiobook and then submit your order via the button below to get access to bonus content taking you even deeper in your understanding of Keller’s life and thought.

  • Exclusive video (more than 120 minutes) with accompanying 65-page ebook reflecting on key themes in Tim Keller’s Center Church. Contributors include Michael Horton, Alan Hirsch, and Gabriel Salguero, all in conversation with Tim Keller.
  • The 10 Most Important Christian Books Written within My Lifetime, a list by Tim Keller
  • The Essential Tim Keller: Recommended Reading, a list by Collin Hansen
  • The first three chapters of Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation (book and audiobook)
  • An invitation to a virtual book discussion and Q&A with Collin Hansen (February 2023)

*Find your order number in the subject line of your email receipt from Amazon or in your Amazon order history.



COLLIN HANSEN serves as vice president of content and editor in chief for The Gospel Coalition, as well as the executive director of The Keller Center for Cultural Apologetics. He hosts the Gospelbound podcast and has written and edited many books. He earned an MDiv at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and an undergraduate degree in journalism and history from Northwestern University. He is an adjunct professor of apologetics and co-chair of the advisory board at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama.


“Tim Keller has been an immensely wise mentor for many of us. This book is a rich account of the sources of his spiritual formation, the people who helped lead him to them, and the dynamics contributing to the successes of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.”

—George Marsden, author of Jonathan Edwards: A Life

“Collin Hansen brilliantly examines the story behind one of the greatest thinkers, teachers, and writers of our time. If you’ve been as blessed as I have by Tim Keller’s work and ministry, you must read this book.”

—John Thune, U.S. senator from South Dakota

“As a Tim Keller admirer I was eager to read this biography, and Collin Hansen did not disappoint. In his marvelously written narrative, we learn much about the people, experiences, and struggles that have shaped Tim’s amazing ministry. I can add that I found this book inspiring—but with the awareness that saying so does not do justice to the profound ways it also spoke to my soul!”

—Richard J. Mouw, president emeritus, Fuller Theological Seminary

“Tim Keller is a spiritual father to me and to so many through his teachings. No one has shaped my view of God and Scripture more, so what a treasure to be able to read all that has shaped his! This is the story of a faithful, imperfect man and the God he so loves and has given his life to serving.”

—Jennie Allen, author of Get Out of Your Head and founder and visionary of IF:Gathering

“Collin Hansen’s informative study of Tim Keller explains how this traditional Calvinist became so effective as a minister in New York City despite that city’s reputation for ignoring anything traditionally Christian. Especially important have been diverse influences that included well-known authors and preachers, but also lesser-known Bible teachers and pastoral exemplars as well as fellow Presbyterians who combined cultural, biblical, and pietistic emphases with the doctrinal. Under God, this mixture has not only worked, but also shown others the staying power, even in a hypermodern world, of what might be called soft-shell Calvinism.”

—Mark Noll, author of America's Book: The Rise and Decline of a Bible Civilization, 1794-1911

“Tim Keller’s sermons and books have influenced me greatly, but I believe his curiosity has influenced me most. To now have insight into the people and places that cultivated his brilliance—a dramatic yet suitable word—feels like a gift I didn’t know I needed.”

—Jackie Hill Perry, Bible teacher and author of Holier Than Thou

“Like millions of others, I have been deeply impacted by Tim and Kathy Keller’s ministry. In recent years, as I’ve gotten to know them, I have an even deeper appreciation for their abiding faith in Jesus. I think all of us who have benefited from their ministry will be intrigued to learn more about the events and decisions that have shaped their lives.”

—Bill Haslam, forty-ninth governor of Tennessee

“Here is the story of a man possessed of unusual native gifts of analysis and synthesis, of the home and family life that has shaped him, of people both long dead and contemporary whose insights he has taken hold of in the interests of communicating the gospel, and also of the twists and turns of God’s providence in his life. These pages may well have been titled Becoming Tim Keller. That ‘becoming’ has been neither a quick nor an easy road. But Collin Hansen’s account of it will be as challenging to readers as it is instructive.”

—Sinclair Ferguson, author of The Whole Christ

“Tim Keller has done the hard work of being a faithful servant in our fractured world. His love of neighbor and consistent witness to the gospel are both inspiring and humbling. Even those of us who’ve earmarked his many books and listened to scores of his sermons will learn a lot about the ideas, people, and events—from the tumult of the 1960s counterculture to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 to the polarized times in which we live today—that shaped Tim’s life and ministry. Collin Hansen’s book is a special treat.”

—Ben Sasse, president of the University of Florida

“My faith in God was challenged daily in front of millions while cohosting The View. That same decade, my pastor, Tim Keller, taught the facts of the Bible without judgment on nonbelievers. His teaching deepened my understanding of shedding shame and prepared me to live out the truth and grace of the gospel while sharing the gospel. This book will illuminate the ‘why’ behind the ‘who’ of Tim Keller.”

—Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Emmy Award–winning daytime cohost of The View and New York Times bestselling author

“In our time, few Christian leaders have a vision of the faith that is as recognizable—and as globally influential—as Tim Keller. In this engaging book, Collin Hansen charts the fascinating range of figures whose writings and examples influenced that vision and guides the reader through a life spent exploring and distilling the best of the Christian tradition. By humanizing a towering figure, Hansen challenges his own audience to learn from the deliberateness that marks Keller’s own journey in the faith. Quite simply, I could not put this book down.”

—James Eglinton, Meldrum Senior Lecturer in Reformed Theology, New College, University of Edinburgh

“I’m so grateful for this well-written and expertly researched work. Collin Hansen reveals things that many of us never knew about Keller. This is a book about Tim Keller of course, but in the end, it is a book about Jesus Christ. I’m fairly sure this was intentional, or at least instinctive, and as a result it is a delight.”

—Tim Farron, member of the British Parliament and former leader of the Liberal Democrats

Understand the principles and practices that allowed Keller to synthesize so many different influences in a coherent ministry.

Take the best of Keller’s preaching and teaching to meet emerging challenges in the 21st century.

Develop your own historical, theological, and cultural perspectives to shape your leadership.