Basic Christianity

A friend of mine recently asked me what would be a good book or resource for someone who isn’t a Christian “but really wants to understand what being a Christian means.” My mind started scanning through my mental library. The search results of my gray matter quickly yielded several quality titles that would fit the bill.

However, of all the very good resources that I could have suggested there was one that stood out to my mind. And although the book is over 50 years old, it is still perhaps the first book I would recommend as a clear, straightforward presentation of the gospel message. That book is John Stott’s Basic Christianity.

The following is the table of contents for the 50th anniversary edition (John R. W. Stott, Basic Christianity, 3rd ed. [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008].):

1. The Right Approach
Part One: Who Christ Is
2. The Claims of Christ
3. The Character of Christ
4. The Resurrected Christ
Part Two: What We Need
5. The Fact and Nature of Sin
6. The Consequences of Sin
Part Three: What Christ Has Done
7. The Death of Christ
8. The Salvation of Christ
Part Four: How to Respond
9. Counting the Cost
10. Reaching a Decision
11. Being a Christian

Here is how the book begins:

“In the beginning God.” The first four words of the Bible are more than a way of launching the story of creation or introducing the book of Genesis. They supply the key that opens our understanding to the Bible as a whole. They tell us that the religion of the Bible is a religion in which God takes the initiative (Basic Christianity, p. 17).



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