With so many books, videos, and other online materials begging to be discovered and read, where is the best place to begin studying apologetics? These five books are among my personal favourites and, in my opinion, present a solid starting point for those looking to get into the ministry.
I was recently inspired by an excellent video from a new youtube channel called Standardized Apologetics to share some of my personal favourite apologetics books. In addition to my list, I’ll share a link to SA’s video below as he notes some more brilliant and essential works to help those who may be interested find some solid footing in the field. Without further ado, here are my top five favourite books on Christian apologetics.
5. Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace.
Finding J. Warner Wallace’s work was the first exposure I ever had to Christian apologetics and his writing is what made me fall in love with the ministry. Wallace’s writing style is incredibly easy to read and enjoy and since his case for the reliability of the Gospel accounts and the historicity of the Resurrection is based on his decades of experience as a cold case detective the steps he applies are logical and easy to understand. What makes Cold Case Christianity essential reading is that Wallace shares real-life examples of cases he has solved and applies those same principles to his examination of the Gospels and Acts. If there is anyone you can trust to tell you who is a reliable witness it’s J. Warner Wallace.
4. The Holman Apologetics Commentary on the Bible by Michael Wilkins, Craig A. Evens, Darrell L. Bock, and Andreas J. Köstenberger.
One of the most important resources for budding apologists are Bible commentaries. Although devotions are an important part of your spiritual growth a face value reading of the Bible doesn’t provide a lot of support in the face of trying objections. The Holman Apologetics Commentary of the Gospels and Acts is a fantastic place to begin. Not a day goes by where I’m not reading something from it. It’s a simple but comprehensive look at the most common objections to the Gospels and Acts.
3. The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Gary R. Habermas and Mike Licona.
The bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the core of Christianity’s existence. Without it, the religion would not and could not have survived, but is there really any evidence that can support its historicity? That’s the exact question scholars Gary Habermas and Michael Licona answer in this book. The authors take a common but crucial approach to the Resurrection with what is known as The Minimal Facts Approach. This uses only the bare minimum facts that are agreed upon by even the most skeptical scholars and historians to make a case for the Resurrection. It’s a short and simple read that will quickly get new apologists equipped to answer the most oft-repeated objections.
2. Misreading Scripture With Western Eyes by E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien.
One of the firsts lessons I learnt when I starting writing apologetics was that my way of reading the Bible caused me to miss or else completely misunderstand vitally important concepts and meanings. I was reading the Bible as if it were a book that was written to me and not for me. I soon learned that, although the Bible was written for us it wasn’t written to us, it was written to people hundreds of years ago in a culture that functioned completely unlike our own. This is one of the most important books I’ve ever read and I cannot recommend it enough to both believers and skeptics willing to know the truth. This isn’t an “apologetic” book in the sense that it supports the Christian faith through evidence or arguments, it’s simply two guys looking at how the culture the Bible was written in functioned and lived their lives. They do this by noting the vast amount of similarities between Hebrew culture and that of countries such as Indonesia and Japan. Learning how to read the Bible by putting aside your cultural biases will help your defence immensely. I cannot recommend it enough.
1. The Case For Christ by Lee Strobel
Maybe an obvious pick but it’s a great one nonetheless. Strobel’s Case For…. books are the most enjoyable apologetic works I have ever and most likely ever will read. The Case for Christ documents Strobel’s investigation of the existence of Jesus and His resurrection as an atheist (and he doesn’t hold back the snark either!). He asks the hardest and most common questions and receives answers for each one by well-renowned scholars and philosophers. As excellent as the other works on this list are it is Strobel’s books that I will recommend first each and every time. (As a side, his latest work, The Case For Miracles is superb as well).
I could list a ton more but for now, these will definitely help provide a solid foundation for your defence. You can also see Standardized Apologetic’s top five books in the link below, and make sure to check out his other videos while you’re at it.