I received a question for someone just starting out in their studies and asking for recommendations on where to start. Below is a recommended reading list I put together for them:
It is great to hear that you want to get started on such an important topic! I would start immediately by listening to lectures by Greg Koukl available on youtube.com regarding his “Tactics” material. Those lectures will prepare you to deal with difficult conversations and challenges even while you are still building up your base of knowledge.
I’m going to list some helpful books for you below, but please do not think you have to read all of these in order to be ready! If you listen to Koukl’s online lectures and read through On Guard then you will be ready to engage intelligently in almost any spiritual conversation. Studying further from that point will only help you to become more comfortable with the material and better equipped for such conversations.
Beginner – These are great books to start with, as you will not need a lot of background studies in order to get through the material.
On Guard by William Lane Craig – This book will give a good overview of arguments for God’s existence as well as rebuttals to common objections.
Tactics by Greg Koukl – Having already listened to the online lectures, I would read through the book as well at this point to help master the material.
Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes by Randolph Richards and Brandon O’Brien – This will help in interpreting scripture, which is vitally important for the apologist. You must know what you will defend if you are to defend it well!
The Atheist who Didn’t Exist by Andy Bannister – This is a light-hearted review of arguments raised against Christianity and how to respond to them.
Basic Theology by Charles Ryrie – This is an easy-to-read book that will give you a solid overview of Christian doctrine.
Intermediate/Advanced – The following books will be more difficult and will require careful attention in order to understand.
Systematic Theology in One Volume by Norman Geisler – This book covers most of the bases for the doctrine of God and Geisler covers objections and rebuttals to each point of doctrine.
Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig – This is a much more in-depth treatment of the arguments originally presented in On Guard and will aid you in mastering the material.
The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Bible by Joseph Holden and Norman Geisler – This book will aid you in defending the reliability and accuracy of the scriptures, as well as covering archaeological evidence for other events in scripture.
Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview by J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig – This is a more technical book on Christian philosophy
The Genesis of Science by James Hannam – This book will debunk many of the myths told about the historical relationship between science and faith.
Science & Its Limits by Del Ratzsch – This book treats the contemporary relationship between science and faith and offers rebuttal to “scientific” challenges to the faith.
That should get you started! As you read through these books, if you find a topic that interests you then I recommend looking at the footnotes that the author includes for further reading.
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