You Must Read - A Review

Banner of Truth Trust is a blessing to the body of Christ in many ways. They work to keep some good, old texts in print that would otherwise be found only in used book stores or consigned to the deep, dark dungeon of online libraries. Not only this, but have they often published high quality new books that touch on topics in ways that are fresh and helpful for contemporary readers.

A recent book by a whole host of evangelical thinkers highlights thirty-two books or sets published by Banner of Truth that have been particularly formative.


As Al Mohler outreads the rest of the world, it is helpful to know that he sees Iain Murray’s book Forgotten Spurgeon as one of the most significant in Banner of Truth’s backlist. Likewise, when Alistair Begg picks What is an Evangelical by Martyn Lloyd-Jones it provides a bump toward reading the volume.

Mark Dever, of course, highlights Richard Sibbes. Anyone who knows Dever would have expected it. Still, the essay Dever writes explains just why Sibbes is so helpful to the contemporary pastor.

You Must Read is a book full of book reviews and essays. They don’t follow the stodgy formula for reviews that those of us who write for academic journals have mastered. Instead, they are lively essays about the book, the author of the book, and why the book is so special in the life of the reviewer.


This recent release is interesting on a number of levels. First, it provides insight into some solid books that Banner of Truth has put into print. Second, it can serve as a reading list as it points to some books that a pretty impressive list of thinkers finds important. Third, the reviews are helpful in pointing the reader toward which volumes would be best to target next.

Reading is an art and a science. It is also a great deal of work. Books like this can be enjoyable reading material in and of themselves. This one is. They can also provide a service by bringing to light old books that need to be read. This one does.

C.S. Lewis famously recommended reading a book from a previous century for every book one reads from his own century. Of course, reading C.S. Lewis now counts as reading an old book. However, it is always difficult to know which old books to read. There are staple classics in Christianity, like Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress and Athanasius On the Incarnation. However, there are many good texts that would otherwise go unnoticed because they fall into obscurity because of their dialect or out of fashion because their theology is considered dated.

Over the past decades, Banner of Truth Trust has resurrected many such mathoms, which are worthy of consideration, but somewhat off the beaten path.

A major force in the work of Banner of Truth has been Iain Murray who has four biographies listed in the pages of this present volume. One eighth of the books are by Murray, but all of the books owe their continued life, in part, to Murray’s efforts to get good books in print. This is a volume that honors the legacy of Murray.

There is little chance You Must Read will become a best seller. In fact, it may not get a second printing. However, this is one of those books that will find a place on my shelf in preparation for a student or young pastor I will someday mentor. As a book about books, there is a certain sort of person that will appreciate it, find it useful, and be changed by it. Our goal should be to help that sort of person find this sort of book.

Note: A gratis copy of this volume was provided by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review.