One of my favorite book categories is Christian biographies. I love learning about people whose lives have been changed and have changed the world. Biographies can help us meet people we would never have the opportunity to know any other way. In biographies we have opportunity to learn lessons from the lives of others that will benefit our own lives. Reading about the great men and women in history--both past and present--shapes our thoughts, our values, our actions, and even our character. As promised, here are a few of the biographies (in order) that have had the greatest impact on my life:
The Journals of Jim Elliot by Elisabeth Elliot. Jim Elliott was one of the five missionaries attempting to take the Gospel for the first time to the Auca Indians of Ecuador. He and the four others were speared to death in January 1956. His wife, Elisabeth published his personal journal notes. The notes record the inner struggles, victories, thoughts, motivation, faith, and commitment of Jim. A genuine life-changer!
The Life and Diary of David Brainerd by Philip E. Howard. This book is much like the previous. David Brainerd was a missionary to American Indians during the time that the American colonies were governed by Britain. His self-denial, courage, and genuine piety are both challenging and contagious. He, like Jim Elliot, died an untimely death. A remarkable story!
Daws: The Story of Dawson Trotman. Founder of the Navigators by B. Skinner. Dawson Trotman was an extroverted, energetic, tireless individual. He was highly disciplined and a man of great faith and vision. He was totally committed to world evangelism and created a systematic follow-up strategy for new converts and for training believers to reproduce themselves through evangelism and discipleship. His system and strategy became the Navigators which still exist today. Dawson drowned in an attempt to save another in 1956. This is a great story!
To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson. Adoniram Judson was America's first foreign missionary. His perseverance, determination, and faith in the midst of tragedy, hardship, and suffering form a truly remarkable story. You must read this story!
I will list some others in no certain order. All of these would be worth your time to read:
The True Story of John G. Paton: Missionary Among the South Sea Cannibals by John Paton
Faithful Witness: The Life and Mission of William Carey by Timothy George
Lincoln by David Herbert Donald
Time Enough to Win: Roger Staubach by Roger Staubach and Frank Luksa
I know that there are many more that I could recommend, but these come to mind. If you're interested, I will be glad to talk with you about these.