Joseph from Atlanta asks, “Pastor John, if you were stranded on an island and had to choose only three books to take, which ones would you choose?”
The Obvious First
I never know how to answer a question like this, but everybody knows the first one: I would take the Bible. I cannot live without the word of God, and though I have enough of it stored up in my mind maybe to survive, I don’t want to just survive. So, I would take a Bible.
Stranded with Edwards and Baxter
And then I would cheat and ask, Can I take the collected works of Jonathan Edwards? I would take the Yale edition.
Yeah, okay, that’s totally cheating.
Then if I had to pick one Edwards book, I would take Religious Affections. And I would take it because it had a huge impact on me years ago, and because it is such a deeply convicting analysis of the human soul and how to describe a godly soul. And I know I would want to be godly on this island.
And I am going to surprise everybody with the last one. If I had to throw them in a suitcase right now — and tomorrow it may be different — I would throw in Richard Baxter’s A Christian Directory, because it is nine hundred double column pages of biblical analysis of the Christian life and all of its challenges of every possible kind. Tim Keller has this statement on the front of the book: “The greatest manual on biblical counseling ever produced.”
Okay, that should be enough for everybody. And J.I. Packer wrote the forward for this reissue of the book and calls it stunning things as well. So, a book that just canvasses the whole of the Christian life in its political and personal and inner and vertical relations with lots and lots of Scripture would probably be very, very protective and stimulating for me on that island.