Borrowing Brains: Best Books on the Christian Home?

Holding HandsWell, my last two attempts at borrowing brains (here and here) have reaped benefits, so I’ll go back to the well again. What are the best books you’ve read on the Christian Home? I’m preaching a short series on the home before jumping into I John. We have some 80 regular attendees who are teenagers or younger, so we need to be equipping people to raise them in a godly fashion.

For my part, I’ve appreciated Ted Tripp’s Shepherding a Child’s Heart, and I’ve been disappointed in a number of others. I’ve been particularly troubled by some theological deficiencies with the Pearl’s, and I think their books can border on mere behaviorism, though they can provide at least some helpful ideas for very discerning readers.  I’m sure there are better books “out there” than the ones on my shelves. Help?

Oh, yeah: I’ll take mp3 links to helpful sermons, too.


14 Responses

  1. Chris,

    First I appreciate your blog “My Two Cents”. As far as the topic at hand here are a few titles, “Strengthening Your Marriage” by Wayne Mack and “Christian Living in the Home” by Jay E. Adams. Check for these titles and many other good ones.

    God Bless,
    Pastor JFD

  2. Chris:

    I have used Tripp’s book for several years in teaching a parenting class. I’ve also used Paul Tripp’s book, “Age of Opportunity,” Lou Priolo’s books “Teach them Diligently” and “Heart of Anger.” (I’ve expanded our class to 3 different classes and hope to go to 4 soon.)

    I would also recommend “Your Family God’s Way” by Wayne Mack.

    There are some other helpful resources, but that is a short list.


  3. Jim Berg has an extended bibliography on many counseling related topics here.

    I am personally not all that enchanted with Priolo, even though Jim Berg recommends his book on men’s issues, The Complete Husband. Here is how I sum up that one: “The man is to blame. I am personal friends with Jay Adams. The man is to blame. I am a fishing buddy of Jay Adams. The man is to blame, etc.” As you might be able to tell, I am not impressed.

    Anyway I thought I might recommend Jim Berg’s Changed into His Image as a good general book that can be applied to family life as well.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  4. I would echo Ken’s recommendations, and would also suggest staying as far away from the Pearl’s material as possible- your congregation doesn’t need to be exposed to that.

    Everyday Talk by Younts is a brief but helpful book.

  5. Instruments in the Redeemers Hands by Paul Tripp is broader in topic than the family but would also be helpful.

  6. Chris-
    We have been reviewing parenting books and other resources lately. I would suggest going to the Covenant Life website, ( and listening to the sermon series called Parent Training by Kenneth Maresco… tremendous. Also the Sovereign Grace Ministries website has several messages and interviews dealing with parenting… these have ranked amongst the most helpful resources I have ever found on parenting… most are done by CJ Mahaney (along with wife and family in some cases).
    Also, get a hold of “Growing up Christian” by Karl Grausten- excellent for the challenges of parenting “christian” kids.

    One outstanding book geared specifically toward Mother-Daughter relationships is “GirlTalk” by Carolyn Mahaney. The flip side of that book for Fathers and Sons would be Steve Lawson’s tremendous book, “Legacy” (there may be more to the title than that).
    I liked Jay Younts book, “Everyday Talk” as well. I echo everything that has been said about the Tripp’s books. In fact, there is a lady that has written a follow-up of sorts to Shepherding A Childs Heart, called, “Don’t Make Me Count To Three”… I think it is written by Ginger Plowman.

    Two more that I found helpful… each in there own way- “The Myth of Adolescence” by David Alan Black… very thought-provoking for me as a parent and a youth pastor. Also, “When Good Kids Make Bad Choices” by Jim Newheiser and Elize Fitzpatrick.

    Hope this helps… I appreciate your concern in this area of pastoral ministry,,, it is too often overlooked.

    Grace and peace,
    Jason Wredberg

  7. Chris,
    I am working my way through “The Joy of a Word-Filled Family” by John Barnett at It would be good to look at as it is set up to be taught through with study questions and such.

  8. Thanks, all. Many are ordered. However, feel free to post other recommendations, both as a help to me and a reference for others in the future. I’ll try to make “What I’m Reading” posts as I get to them.

    I’d still be interested in mp3’s, particularly if they are free. :)

    Thanks again for the help! Of course, I’ll bill you for any book you recommended that I don’t care for.

  9. Chris,

    Greg Mazak has a series on the home you can find at sermon audio. I listened to a few, and they were good.

    I review a lot of books on the home for my husband, from both a secular and biblical world view. I still think my mom’s books on marriage and children are the best. See . The two titles are Happily Married and Precept upon Precept (now titled Parenting with Wisdom).

    A more practical book is Parenting with Scripture by Kara Durbin. It’s a topical list of situations parents face, with appropriate verses and discussion ideas for teaching children. She comes from an evangelical perspective, so some of her categories and definitions would be contrary from a nouthetic approach. Still, the questions for discussion are excellent.

    Nobody here has mentioned John MacArthur’s book on parenting (What the Bible Says about Parenting). It is also good overview on parenting, more philosophy than technique. One of the more helpful concepts he discusses is the tendency for parents and teachers to present only the gentle side of God, minus God’s hatred for sin, etc. In doing so, he explains, parents obscure the necessity of salvation and the problem of sin. He addresses more than any other author the younger, unsaved child.

  10. Hey,

    This is the first time I’ve ever posted. I am a friend of your brother’s (Jeff). I personally would recommend a couple I’ve recently.

    I would echo the recommendation on Macauthur’s book. I actually just got finished reading it and it was very helpful and a much more balanced approach to spiritual parenting than what most books have. He also interacts with modern philosophies and contradicts them biblically.

    Family Worship by Donald Whitney. VERY good resource of the discipline of having personal family worship at home and practical solutions of how to do it.

  11. Dr. Mark Minnick’s church, Mt. Calvary Baptist in Greenville, SC, has frequent messages on the family. When we were there, they used to take a month of Sunday Schools and have different men teach (and ladies in some sessions for ladies) on the home. I looked around on their web site, and a couple of sets of messages that can be downloaded on MP3s are Wise Words for House Building and Marriage and the Family: Establishing the Proverbial Better House. Also you can do a search there for messages on the family from Dr. Minnick here. I have not heard these particular messages, but everything that I have ever heard in or from Mt. Calvary is good. :)

  12. Hi, Randy. I’m in the middle of MacArthur’s book, and I’ve found it to be exactly what you’ve described. I’m soooooooo weary of Christian parenting guru’s, and MacArthur’s common sense and straight talk from the Scriptures is a very refreshing change from the common 12-step-process-to-children-as-perfect-as-mine approach. He goes out of his way to demythologize and simplify what it means to parent in a biblical manner. Good stuff. Thanks for posting.

    FWIW, the book is now titled What the Bible Says About Parenting, though it was initially released as Successful Christian Parenting.

    Also, I’ve enjoyed Whitney’s book on the Christian disciplines, and I’ll look into this one as well. Thanks for the tip.

    Barbara, thanks for the link to the Mt. Calvary resources. You’re right: you can count on Mt. Calvary for solid biblical teaching. I’ll probably get the series on parenting from Pastor Minnick. Wondering: if I pay the $5 fee, do I get downloads or a disk? Thanks again.

  13. […] This book was first recommended to me by Michelle Brock and Randy Scott on this thread.  Thanks! Posted in Ministry Resources, What I’m Reading, […]

  14. I just love your site! I stumbled across it while looking for Christian commentary on The Grapes of Wrath. Your views echoed my own sentiments so I came back to read more. I read Elisabeth Elliot’s “The Shaping of A Christian Family” a few years ago, and I’ll be giving it as a wedding present to every one of my five children. It echoes so many of the things that we hope they were hearing and seeing through these raising up years. God bless you and yours.

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