This article is regularly updated and may be edited at any time. The recommendation of these resources does not mean that I endorse all of their contents.
Every Christian is a disciple. A disciple is a follower of Jesus who studies his teachings and puts them into practice. The following resources can help you in the life of discipleship. My favorite resources are marked with an asterisk (*). Whenever you’re choosing resources:
- Avoid using a devotional book as a substitute for serious Bible study. If you want a supplement for your devotional times, read a section from one of the Christian spiritual classics.
- Avoid feeding too much on any one writer or speaker. Listen to a wide variety of reputable voices.
- Avoid “feel-good” preachers who give motivational speeches instead of explaining and applying God’s word. If you are in doubt, ask your pastor.
- Avoid preachers who are characterized by a harsh, arrogant, or sarcastic attitude.
- When in doubt, consult your pastor.
Bible Reading Resources
There is no substitute for the continuous reading and study of God’s word.
- “FAQs on Bible Reading,” an article that answers questions such as “Where should I begin?” and “Which translation should I read?”
- ESV Wide Margin Reference Bible, one of the best Bibles for notetaking.
- “A 30-Day Reading Plan for New Disciples.”
- Obedience Challenge, a 90-day Gospels Bible reading plan for new Christians, with an emphasis on obeying 48 commands of Jesus in the Gospels.
- “One Story the Leads to Jesus,” a one-year reading plan from BibleProject, also available in the Read Scripture and YouVersion Bible apps.
- “Jesus Fulfills the Story of the Old Testament (Nehemiah 9),” a sermon that provides an intro to the Bible. See chart here.
Bible Study Resources
- “FAQs on Bible Reading,” an article that answers questions such as “What Bible marking tools do you recommend?”
- “Bible Study Tools and Methods,” an episode of the Holy Joys Podcast.
- “Keep Looking: The Life-Changing Secret to Reading the Bible,” a video retelling of “Agassiz and the Fish.”
- How Can I Get More Out of My Bible Reading?, a short book by Jeremy Kimble (only 64 pages).
- “How to Study the Bible, Part 1” and Part 2, short articles by Philip Brown.
- “How to Study the Bible with Jen Wilkin,” a video series.
- *The Bible Project. A wealth of resources, including video overviews of every book of the Bible and major biblical themes.
- bestcommentaries.com — a website with the best-rated commentaries on each book of the Bible (“rotten tomatoes for biblical studies”).
- John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible.
- *ESV Study Bible (over 20,000 study notes).
- *CSB Ancient Faith Study Bible (study notes from the church fathers).
- NET Bible, Full-notes Edition (60,000 translators’ notes).
- biblehub.com offers a number of free commentaries, including Calvin’s Commentary (which even Arminius considered the best since the church fathers).
- Logos Bible Software. “Logos Bible Software is a powerful Bible study and sermon prep platform that allows you to study Scripture and consult commentaries, devotionals, Bible dictionaries, and more—all from your computer, tablet, or phone.”
- Pursuing Holiness, a study on sanctification by my friend Darrell Stetler.
Creeds, Confessions, Catechisms
Creeds (e.g., Nicene Creed) are statements of basic Christian beliefs: “what has everywhere, always, and by all been believed” (Vincent of Lerins). Confessions (e.g., 25 Articles of Religion) usually include content that is important but not essential and may not be believed by all Christians. Catechisms are teaching tools that include much of the same material as creeds and confessions, and are usually in Q&A format.
- The Apostles’ Creed. See below for video and text resources on the Creed.
- The Nicene Creed. See “Passages” below. The second ecumenical creed (i.e., creed affirmed by the whole church) affirms that Jesus is eternally begotten by the Father and therefore fully shares the Father’s nature (“of one substance with the Father”), i.e., he is fully God.
- The Athanasian Creed. The third ecumenical creed provides a clear account of the church’s faith in the Trinity.
- The Chalcedonian Creed. The Chalcedonian Creed or Definition (451) sets forth the Christian doctrine of the incarnation.
- The 25 Articles of Religion. Wesley’s abridgment of the 39 Articles of the Church of England for the Methodists in North America.
- The Belgic Confession. Arminius affirmed the Belgic Confession to the day he died and argued that the high Calvinists were imposing a narrow interpretation on the whole.
- The Five Arminian Articles of 1610. After Arminius’s death in 1609, his followers the Remonstrants published five doctrinal articles (see “Five-Point Arminianism“).
- Wesley’s Revision of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. See also “The Westminster Shorter Catechism (revised for Methodists).”
- The Westminster Catechism Songs. The Q&As of the WSC sung by Brian Suavé.
- Thirty Questions: A Short Catechism on the Christian Faith by Timothy Tennent.
- A Catechism for Kids: 52 Questions and Answers (for preschool children).
- The Apostles’ Creed: For All God’s Children by Ben Myers (for children ages 4–8).
- “An Introduction to the Church’s Liturgical Calendar.” See chart here. See also “Why I Love the Church Calendar.”
- See the “Music” section below for playlists for each liturgical season.
- *Read Scripture by BibleProject (best Bible reading/study app). One-year Bible reading plan with a daily Psalm and integrated videos that explain each book of the Bible and major biblical themes.
- Lectio 365 (best prayer app). Short morning and evening prayers that follow the acronym PRAY: P:ause to be still. R:ejoice with a Psalm and R:eflect on Scripture. A:sk for God’s help Y:ield to His will in your life.
- BiblicalTraining (free classes on the Bible). Dozens of classes on the Bible, theology, church history, and the Christian life from world-renowned professors. Start with the Foundations classes.
- The Bible Project. The videos from the Read Scripture app and other resources to grow your Bible reading skills.
- Five Psalms. Pray through five Psalms of the day. If you complete your regular Bible reading in the evening, pray these in the morning, or vice versa.
- *Passages: Nicaea. A beautiful introduction to the Christian faith. Traces the history and theology of the Nicene Creed, the most universally accepted summary of the faith. 5 stars. Learn more.
- Ask NT Wright Anything. Q&A on a wide variety of topics with one of the world’s leading New Testament scholars.
- Quick to Listen by Christianity Today. Analysis of cultural events from a Christian perspective.
- Holy Joys Podcast. Discussions of theology and ministry practice. Some episodes are focused on pastors and disciple-makers, but most are relevant for every Christian.
- The Hour of Holiness Podcast. A podcast from Wesley Biblical Seminary with Bill Ury.
- Holy Joys Sermons. A podcast with regularly published sermons that expound Scripture.
- Sermons by Timothy Tennent. Sermons and speeches from the President of Asbury University.
- Brooklyn Tabernacle Sermons by Jim Cymbala. See also Cymbala’s daily devotions.
- Sermons by N. T. Wright. Wright is somewhat controversial but always interesting and provocative.
- Gospel in Life by Tim Keller. Keller is Reformed Presbyterian, so I can’t agree with everything (e.g., his views on predestination); however, I affirm most of what he says and appreciate his engagement with culture. His sermons defend the Christian faith and demonstrate its relevance.
- Desiring God Sermons by John Piper. Piper is a Reformed Baptist and outspoken Calvinist, so I can’t agree with everything, and I caution against his misrepresentations of Arminianism (see Roger Olson’s blog posts); however, I affirm much of what he says and resonate with his central message of Christian hedonism (“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him”), which finds deep resonance in classic Christianity and the Wesleyan tradition (see my article “Holiness and the Pursuit of Happiness in God“).
- Truth for Life Sermons by Alistair Begg. Begg is also a Calvinist, but he’s very pastoral and practical.
For various reasons, I urge disciples to avoid popular internet preachers such as Steven Furtick, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Andy Stanley, James MacDonald, Mark Driscoll, and John MacArthur. These preachers may have some good things to say, but they are problematic or even dangerous at some points, and there are better resources available.
Videos & Youtube Channels
- Seven Minute Seminary from Seedbed. Wesleyan education.
- The Bible Project. See above.
- Unbelievable? with Justin Brierly from Premier Insight. A podcast that brings skeptics and Christians together for conversations that matter about faith.
- Truth Unites with Gavin Ortlund. While I don’t agree with some of Ortlund’s theological views, he models how to engage charitably with challenging questions.
- Russell Moore. Videos on a wide range of issues, especially ethics. See also The Russell Moore Show by Christianity Today.
- “What Christians Ought to Believe, Session 1: Christian Creeds for Beginners” by Michael Bird. Full video series here. Audiobook here.
Blogs & Articles
A few of my favorite sites that regularly publish articles:
- Seedbed. See especially the articles by Timothy Tennent.
- Roger Olson’s blog at Patheos. Blog posts by a well-known Arminian theologian. See “My Response (Finally!) to John Piper’s ‘AskPastorJohn’ Episode 238 (About Me).”
- fredfredfred.com/blog/. Blog posts by Wesleyan theologian Fred Sanders, who specializes in the doctrine of the Trinity.
- kevinmwatson.com. Posts by Wesleyan historian Kevin Watson. Check out the summaries of Wesley’s standard sermons.
- Word from the Bird. A regular newsletter about biblical and theological studies by Michael Bird.
- For His Renown. Blog posts by biblical theologian Jim Hamilton.
- Center for Baptist Renewal. Since I’m not Baptist, I can’t agree with everything; however, most of the resources are catholic (i.e., for all Christians) and much-needed. Check out their podcast series on Theology Classics.
- holyjoys.org. We have a library with hundreds of articles and podcasts to explore.
Short Books (150 pages or less)
- The Apostles’ Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism by Ben Myers. A short, beautiful exposition of one of the earliest summaries of the Christian faith.
- The Lord’s Prayer: A Guide to Praying to Our Father by Wesley Hill. A short, refreshing guide to prayer, following the model prayer that Jesus gave to his disciples.
- The Ten Commandments: A Guide to the Perfect Law of Liberty by Peter Leithart. A bit more difficult but still accessible exposition of God’s will for his people to love him with all their heart and to love their neighbors as themselves.
- Baptism: A Guide to Life from Death by Peter Leithart. Every disciple should be baptized according to Christ’s command. This book casts a beautiful vision of baptism and explains why it’s so important for the Christian life.
- Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus by Jonathan Leeman. While many are skeptical of church membership (and commitment in general), this book shows why church membership is biblical (not optional) and every disciple should join a church as soon as possible.
- NewStart Discipleship Journal, designed for new Christians by my friend Darrell Stetler. See also Defending Your Faith Course, a basic introduction to evidence for the Christian faith.
Books & Audiobooks (150+ pages)
- Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities by Roger Olson.
- Seven Things I Wish Christians Knew about the Bible by Michael Bird.
- The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything (Second Edition) by Fred Sanders.
- Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. Audiobook here.
- The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer. Audiobook here.
- Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton. Audiobook here.
- The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Tim Keller. Audiobook here.
- What Christians Ought to Believe by Michael Bird. Audiobook here. Free Session 1 video here. Full video series here.
- Against Calvinism by Roger Olson. Audiobook here.
- The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Audiobook here.
- Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. Audiobook here.
- The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. Links to movies below.
Books & Audiobooks (Primary Sources)
- The Apostolic Fathers: A New Translation (Lexham Classics), translated by Rick Brannan. A group of documents written around the same time as the New Testament or immediately after.
- “Recovering the Christian Spiritual Classics,” a list of key Christian classics.
- On the Incarnation by Athanasius. Audiobook here. A great place to start reading the church fathers.
- The Fathers of the Church. Many works of the church fathers are available for free at newadvent.org/fathers. See also ccel.org/fathers.
- Popular Patristics. “The Popular Patristics series aims to provide readable and accurate translations of a broad range of early Christian literature to a wide audience—from students of Christian history and theology to lay Christians reading for spiritual benefit. Recognized Patristic scholars provide short but comprehensive and clear introductory essays according to their specializations for each volume.”
- “A Year With the Church Fathers: Reading List,” a list of key works from the church fathers and resources to aid in their study.
- The Freedom of a Christian by Martin Luther. Audiobook here.
- The Sermons of John Wesley. Available for free at the Wesley Center Online.
- Advent Playlist. For the weeks leading up to Christmas Day.
- Epiphany Playlist. For the weeks following Christmas Day.
- Lent Playlist. For the weeks leading up to Easter Sunday.
- Easter Playlist. For the weeks following Easter Sunday.
- Pentecost Playlist. For Pentecost Sunday and the weeks thereafter.
- The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.
- The Gettys.
- Shane & Shane.
- The Westminster Catechism Songs. The Q&As of the WSC sung by Brian Suavé.
- See “An Introduction to the Church’s Liturgical Calendar” for an explanation of the seasons mentioned above.
- The Visual Commentary on Scripture (VCS). The VCS provides theological commentary on the Bible in dialogue with works of art.
Movies & Shows
- VidAngel. A service that allows you to filter out nudity, graphic violence, and profanity from movies and shows on streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime.
- The Chosen (multi-season video series about the life of Christ). Unfortunately, most Christian movies and shows are cheesy. Thankfully, the Chosen, a multi-season series about the life of Christ, is an exception. It’s well-produced, moving, and theologically reasonable (at least so far, only Seasons 1 & 2 have been released). See a review here.
- Luther. The dramatic story of Martin Luther, the priest who confronted abuses in the Roman Catholic Church and sparked the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Watch it every year on or around October 31 (Reformation Day, the day that Luther posted his 95 Theses).
The New Testament in Its World Video Lectures by N. T. Wright and Michael F. Bird. An incredible series, though a bit expensive. Put it on your Christmas list.
The Chronicles Of Narnia. Based on the fantasy books by C. S. Lewis. Filled with Christian themes and motifs (Aslan is the Christ figure). The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe. Prince Caspian. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Resources for Children
- “Practical Ways to Nurture Children in the Faith,” an episode of the Holy Joys Podcast with practical tips for Christian parents.
- “Discipleship In the Home” audiobook by Dr. Matt Friedeman.
- ESV Kid’s Bible. Available in many cover styles. Best for ages 8–12.
- “A Catechism for Kids: 52 Questions and Answers.” Have kids memorize the answers, each four words or less. Stay tuned for a print version illustrated by Brent Vernon.
- The Apostles’ Creed: For All God’s Children (A FatCat Book) by Ben Myers.
- The Apostles’ Creed Coloring Book, illustrated by Natasha Kennedy. A coloring book companion to the book above by Ben Myers.
- The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones. Contains 21 stories from the Old Testament and 23 stories from the New Testament, each pointing to Jesus. Read one every night before bedtime.
- VeggieTales. A fun and silly series of shows and movies in which fruit and vegetable characters retell Bible stories and give life lessons. Many episodes are available for free on Youtube.
- Adventures in Odyssey. An audio drama that teaches biblical truths and principles. With an OA Club membership, you can get access to over 800 episodes, daily devotions for kids, and more. Great to listen to while in the car. Learn more.