Christian Literature

This curated collection includes study guides featuring a broad range of expert analyses on the works of prominent Christian thinkers and writers, from the early philosophical writings of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas to C.S. Lewis’s renowned books on Christianity.

Publication year 1955Genre Short Story, FictionTags Modern Classic Fiction, Southern Gothic, Christian literature

Flannery O’Connor originally published the short story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” in the 1953 anthology The Avon Book of Modern Writing. It subsequently appeared in several other collections and is today one of O’Connor’s most famous works. It is also one of the best-known examples of the Southern Gothic genre, which O’Connor explored in most of her writing. This genre is characterized by its emphasis on the interplay between grace and the... Read A Good Man is Hard to Find Summary

Publication year 1961Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature

Clive Staples Lewis (1888-1963) C.S. Lewis was a British writer and academic, renowned for his works on Christianity, and best remembered today as the author of the children’s book series The Chronicles of Narnia. He graduated from Oxford University and taught there until 1954 when he became Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University. A Grief Observed was originally publishedunder the pseudonym N.W. Clerk and attributed to Lewis only after his death. A Grief... Read A Grief Observed Summary

Publication year 1977Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Marriage, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature, Grief / Death

Sheldon Vanauken’s celebrated memoir A Severe Mercy is a moving portrait of deep love confronted with suffering and death. Published in 1977, A Severe Mercy was written by Vanauken from the compilation of many years’ worth of journal entries, hand-written letters, and firsthand accounts of the people and events that the narrative relates. As a Yale- and Oxford-trained scholar and professor of English and an accomplished poet and author, Vanauken brings his literary expertise to... Read A Severe Mercy Summary

Publication year 1980Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Christian literature, Inspirational, Leadership/Organization/Management, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 1871Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Relationships: Friendship, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Fantasy, Classic Fiction, Christian literature, Fairy Tale / Folklore

Publication year 1993Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Historical Fiction, Christian literature, Romance

A Voice in the Wind (originally published in 1993) by American author Francine Rivers is an amalgam of history, Christian allegory, and romance novel. Set in ancient Rome, the novel uses the decadence and cruelty of the Roman Empire as a backdrop for a tale of religious persecution, forbidden love, and the triumph of faith. Rivers has written extensively in the Christian fiction genre, producing four multi-book series and several stand-alone novels, and the book’s... Read A Voice in the Wind Summary

Publication year 1611Genre Scripture, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Life/Time: The PastTags Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature

Publication year 1992Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: Marriage, Relationships: FamilyTags Christian literature, Self Help

Publication year 1973Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Relationships: Friendship, Society: ColonialismTags Christian literature

Bruchko is a 1978 memoir by American author Bruce Olson about his time working as a Christian missionary in Venezuela and Colombia with an Indigenous tribe, the Barí. Olson depicts his missionary work as based on a divine mission that followed a spiritual experience he had as a youth. At 19, he moved from the United States to South America, where he went to the jungles in the Colombian-Venezuelan border to convert the infamously violent... Read Bruchko Summary

Publication year 1914Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Lyric Poem, Satire, Military / War, Victorian Period, Christian literature

English poet and novelist Thomas Hardy wrote “Channel Firing” in May of 1914, only three months before the beginning of WWI. Eerily prophetic, the poem depicts the global chaos and destruction that soon followed. Overlaid by tones of satire and irony, the poem details the violence of war and humanity’s age-old proclivity toward it through a conversation between God and the dead. Hardy, although best known for his earlier novels, received positive reception concerning war... Read Channel Firing Summary

Publication year 1542Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Society: War, Society: Nation, Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags History: World, Latin American Literature, Christian literature, Creative Nonfiction, Colonialism / Postcolonialism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Race / Racism, Renaissance

The Chronicle of the Narváez Expedition by Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was originally written in 1542, with a reprint in 1555. The chronicle follows Cabeza de Vaca’s memories of his survival after the expedition (led by Pánfilo de Narváez) failed and broke apart, and his subsequent peregrinations through the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. His chronicle stands as an important primary document of the age of the conquistadores. Of particular importance are Cabeza... Read Chronicle of the Narvaez Expedition Summary

Publication year 400Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: BeautyTags Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature, Philosophy

Confessions, or Confessiones in the original Latin, is a book of spiritual reflection, philosophical commentary, and Biblical interpretation produced in the last century of the Western Roman Empire. Written around the year 400 CE by Saint Augustine of Hippo, a prominent Catholic bishop in the Roman province of Africa, the book is sometimes called the world’s first autobiography. Although this claim is inaccurate, Confessions has nevertheless born enormous influence on personal narrative writing in the... Read Confessions Summary

Publication year 2023Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature

Publication year 1307Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionTags Italian Literature, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, Christian literature

The Inferno is the first book of Dante Alighieri’s great medieval epic, The Divine Comedy: a monument of world literature. Written between 1308 and 1320, the three-part poem charts Dante’s transformative journey through Hell and Purgatory to Heaven itself. The poem’s form—terza rima, an endlessly circling pattern of interweaving triple rhymes—reflects its major theme: the wisdom, power, and love of the trinitarian Christian God. Like every book of the Comedy, Inferno ends with the word... Read Dante's Inferno Summary

Publication year 1633Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Christian literature, Religion / Spirituality, Restoration

Publication year 2018Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Relationships: FriendshipTags Inspirational, Christian literature, Religion / Spirituality, Self Help

Publication year 1485Genre Play, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature

Publication year 2018Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Christian literature, Creative Nonfiction, Relationships, Health / Medicine, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 2004Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Daughters & SonsTags Historical Fiction, Christian literature

Published in 2004, Gilead is Marilynne Robinson’s second novel and the first in the Gilead trilogy, which includes Home (2008) and Lila (2014). The story is written as a letter from dying Congregationalist minister John Ames to his young son. The letter is a bittersweet account of John’s life. With a slow, thoughtful pace and intimate tone, John shares past family memories and resolves an old personal grievance with his best friend’s son. As John... Read Gilead Summary

Publication year 90Genre Scripture, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: CommunityTags Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature

The Gospel of John is the last of the four biblical gospels in the New Testament, each offering a biography of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. It is traditionally attributed to John, one of Jesus’s 12 disciples and a major leader in the early church, though some scholars dispute that attribution. The Gospel of John, most likely written in the latter decades of the first century CE, is part of the Johannine corpus... Read Gospel of John Summary

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Action / Adventure, Christian literature

Publication year 1955Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Christian literature, Allegory / Fable / Parable, Psychology, Religion / Spirituality, Self Help, British Literature

Hannah Hurnard’s 1955 novel Hinds’ Feet on High Places is an allegorical portrayal of purgation, progress, and ascent within the spiritual life. Born to Quaker parents, Hurnard struggled with her faith in her youth but experienced a powerful conversion at the age of 19. In the wake of this newfound inspiration, she gained theological training in England and went on to author almost two dozen books over the course of her life.Of those, Hinds’ Feet... Read Hinds’ Feet on High Places Summary

Publication year 1896Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature, Poverty

In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do by American Minister Charles Monroe Sheldon is a Christian novel that encourages readers to lead their lives according to the compassionate teachings of Jesus Christ. Published in 1896, it was an instant bestseller in the UK and the US. With more than 30 million copies sold, it was one of the best selling American novels of all time.The work is based on Sheldon’s lectures to his congregation in... Read In His Steps Summary

Publication year 1927Genre Poem, FictionTags Free verse, Poetry: Dramatic Poem, Allegory / Fable / Parable, Christian literature, Religion / Spirituality, Holidays & Occasions

Publication year 2011Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Christian literature

Kisses From Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption, published in 2009, is a Christian memoir that follows the life of Katie Davis as she moves from the suburbs of Nashville to Uganda after high school to care for abandoned and orphaned children. This study guide refers to the 2011 First Howard Books hardcover edition.  Kisses From Katie is broken into 21 chapters that linearly tell the story of how Katie moved from Tennessee... Read Kisses from Katie Summary

Publication year 1995Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Self Discovery, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Christian literature, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Religion / Spirituality

Left Behind (1995) is the first book in the series of the same name. It was co-authored by Tim LaHaye, a minister and prophecy scholar, and Jerry B. Jenkins, an author of mystery novels, biographies, and Christian fiction. The series is a work of speculative Christian fiction based on biblical prophecies related to the so-called “end times.” Its plot opens with “the Rapture,” a cataclysmic event discussed in biblical prophecy in which Jesus returns to... Read Left Behind Summary

Publication year 2012Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Society: CommunityTags Christian literature, Religion / Spirituality, Self Help, Inspirational

Publication year 1952Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Relationships: MarriageTags Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature

Mere Christianity by Clive Staples Lewis (more commonly known as C. S. Lewis) was first published in 1952 as an expansion of some radio talks Lewis gave during World War II. Though Lewis himself is best known for his children’s fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity is likely Lewis’s most famous work of Christian apologetics—a genre dedicated to addressing various critiques of Christian theology. Lewis was well poised to make this kind of... Read Mere Christianity Summary

Publication year 2024Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Gratitude, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Joy, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Christian literature, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 1946Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Nurture v. NatureTags Christian literature, Animals, American Literature

Publication year 1517Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Christian literature, Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality

Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature, Philosophy, Education

St. Augustine of Hippo’s On Christian Doctrine is a theological work offering guidance to the interpretation of biblical scripture, as well as Augustine’s precepts for effective rhetorical practice and Christian teaching. The work first appeared in 397 AD. Augustine’s expertise on these topics is twofold. As Bishop of Hippo, Augustine brings ecclesiastical authority and an extensive knowledge of the scriptures to his theology; as a former teacher of rhetoric, he speaks as an expert when... Read On Christian Doctrine Summary

Publication year 395Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality, Classic Fiction, Christian literature

Publication year 1673Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Christian literature, Religion / Spirituality, Renaissance

Publication year 1908Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: CommunityTags Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature, Philosophy

G. K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy was published in 1908 as an awaited follow-up to his acclaimed essay collection entitled Heretics, which was published three years earlier. A short and pithy volume, Orthodoxy lays out the author’s philosophical convictions aligning with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and the Christian religion. Chesterton questions the resonance and popularity of Christianity, and he attempts to answer this question by saying that it is the perfect blend of the... Read Orthodoxy Summary

Publication year 1938Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Arts / Culture, Christian literature

Published in 1938, Out of the Silent Planet is a science fiction novel by author C. S. Lewis, best known for his bestselling fantasy children’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia. It is the first book in Lewis’s Space Trilogy, followed by Perelandra (1943) and That Hideous Strength (1945). With Out of the Silent Planet, Lewis sought to write a narrative that differed from contemporary popular science fiction, which he believed promoted harmful ideas like human... Read Out of the Silent Planet Summary

Publication year 1670Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature, French Literature

Publication year 1858Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Femininity, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Fantasy, Classic Fiction, Christian literature

Phantastes: a Faerie Romance for Men and Women (1858) by George MacDonald is an extended fairy tale in which Anodos, a youth just coming of age, enters a hauntingly beautiful fairy wood. Ever pursuing his ideal of beauty, he meets many of the inhabitants of the enchanted world, overcoming obstacles as he learns what it means to become not just a man but a good man, eventually achieving union with the divine.George MacDonald (1824-1905) was a... Read Phantastes Summary

Publication year 1951Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Fantasy, Classic Fiction, Action / Adventure, Christian literature

Prince Caspian is a young adult fantasy adventure novel by British author C. S. Lewis. Published in 1951, the novel was Lewis’s second addition to the popular Chronicles of Narnia series. In this story, the Pevensie children suddenly return to Narnia, where hundreds of years have passed since they defeated the evil White Witch and reigned as kings and queens at Cair Paravel. The children now confront the new challenge of helping their ally Prince... Read Prince Caspian Summary

Publication year 1316Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Classic Fiction, Italian Literature, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, Christian literature

Purgatorio is the second of three poems that make up The Divine Comedy by Florentine statesman, poet, and philosopher Dante. In The Divine Comedy, Dante travels first through Hell (the poem Inferno), then through Purgatory (the poem Purgatorio), and finally through Heaven (the poem Paradiso). Purgatorio follows Dante on his journey from the shores of Purgatory, through the seven levels where penitents atone for the seven deadly sins, and into the Garden of Eden. The... Read Purgatorio Summary

Publication year 1813Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Natural World: Place, Natural World: Environment, Life/Time: The Future, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: WarTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Christian literature, Poetry: Dramatic Poem, Mythology, Fantasy, Philosophy, Politics / Government, Military / War, History: World, Science / Nature, Religion / Spirituality, Grief / Death, Romanticism / Romantic Period, British Literature

Publication year 2020Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature, Race / Racism, Social Justice, History: U.S.

Publication year 1991Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Romance, Christian literature

Redeeming Love is a 1991 historical romance novel written by Francine Rivers. It is set in California in the 1850s, during the Gold Rush. Taking its inspiration from the Biblical Book of Hosea, it is built upon the foundation of the author's newfound Christian beliefs.The Prologue opens the novel in New England, 1835. Sarah, a 6-year-old girl, meets her father for the first time and learns that she is the product of an adulterous affair... Read Redeeming Love Summary

Publication year 2016Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Self Discovery, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Inspirational, Christian literature, Sports, Disability

Shaken is a 2018 book by NFL quarterback Tim Tebow. In his book, Tebow shares personal experiences, inspirational stories, and biblical scriptures and parables to encourage readers to develop a strong Christian faith. Tebow reveals how his faith has helped him develop a strong identity, find his life’s purpose, and remain hopeful throughout life’s challenges. He coaches the reader to remain open to God’s influence in their life by maintaining strong friendships and asking for... Read Shaken Summary

Publication year 2006Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Natural World: Place, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Society: CommunityTags Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature

Setting himself the task of authoring a modern-day apologetic, N. T. Wright offers Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense (2006) as a contemporary treatment of the same ground covered by C. S. Lewis in his classic Mere Christianity, published in 1952. Simply Christian attempts to lay out as clearly and simply as possible the fundamental manner in which Christianity makes sense, and why it is capable of answering the most important questions that the human... Read Simply Christian Summary

Publication year 1741Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Emotions/Behavior: FearTags Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God is a sermon written by Jonathan Edwards, pastor of the Congregational church of Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1741, during the period of the First Great Awakening. Edwards delivered the sermon to remarkable effect on July 8, 1741, in Enfield, Connecticut, during a revival tour, and it was published shortly thereafter in Boston. Though its hellfire-and-brimstone style is not typical of Edwards’s work, it quickly became his best-known publication... Read Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Summary

Publication year 2004Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Fate, Society: CommunityTags Christian literature, Inspirational, Sports, Religion / Spirituality, American Literature

Publication year 1274Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature, Italian Literature, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages

Summa Theologica (originally Summa Theologiae) is the principal work of Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), an Italian friar, philosopher, and theologian and one of the central figures in medieval Christian thought. Aquinas wrote the Summa between 1265 and 1273, intending it to serve as a summation of all known theological learning for seminarians. He never finished the massive Latin work, but what he completed has influenced Roman Catholic theology and Western thought in general. Aquinas’ central... Read Summa Theologica Summary

Publication year 1955Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & PrideTags Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature

Surprised by Joy is C.S. Lewis’s spiritual autobiography, tracing the steps that led up to his conversion to Christianity. This guide refers to the 1955 Harcourt Brace & Company/Harvest Books edition. Lewis was born in 1898 in Ireland and begins his story with his childhood in Belfast, where he and his family lived in a maze-like house full of empty attics and heaps of books. He was close with his older brother, and together they... Read Surprised by Joy Summary

Publication year 2009Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionTags Self Help, Christian literature

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion (2010) is a memoir written by Catholic priest Gregory (Greg) Boyle. The memoir relays Boyle’s experiences serving as the leader of the Dolores Mission Church in the gang capital of the world, Los Angeles. Boyle, a Jesuit, performed his earliest missionary work in an impoverished Bolivian village. There, Boyle gained two lifelong attributes: an unyielding desire to help the poor and the ability to speak Spanish... Read Tattoos on the Heart Summary