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Audio and video from the 2012 Gospel Coalition National Women’s Conference is now available.

A couple of friends mentioned that they are unaware of the sort of books that the women teaching at this conference would recommend for further reading. So I decided to ask the female plenary speakers what they’d recommend what women who went to the conference and wanted to go deeper and further.

Kathleen Nielsen provided a reading guide on the TGC website, which would be a wonderful place to start.

Here are some other recommendations I received.


Far as the Curse Is Found: The Covenant Story of Redemption by Michael Williams.

This book has really helped me to understand the big picture story of the Bible as well as the big themes of the Bible. I refer back to it again and again.

Bible Doctrine by Wayne Grudem

This reference book with its short explanations of major doctrines has been a great help to me when I want a sound summary of orthodox belief on a doctrine or need to figure out how to explain something concisely.

The Goldsworthy Trilogy (which includes Gospel and Kingdom, The Gospel in Revelation, and Gospel and Wisdom) by Graeme Goldsworthy.

The development of understanding the story of the Bible as “God’s people in God’s place under God’s authority” helps me understand passages again and again throughout the Bible.

The Israel of God by O. Palmer Robertson

This book has helped me a great deal in understanding God’s past, present, and future plans for Israel. (The audio sessions of O. Palmer Robertson teaching this available at The Gospel Coalition audio resources is also a help.) Similarly, I found another book that has really helped me with this: Whose Promised Land? Israel or Palestine by Colin Chapman.

Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament by Christopher Wright and The Unfolding Mystery by Edmund Clowney.

These are the two books I started with to seek to understand how to see Christ in the Old Testament.

Guidance and the Voice of God by Phillip Jensen and Tony Payne.

So much wisdom here for a culture that longs to hear a supernatural word from God in the ordinary decisions of life.

The Most Misused Verses in the Bible by Eric Bargerhuff.

When I received a copy of this book recently, I wrote the author and told him this was a book I have always wanted to write. He works his way concisely and wisely through often misused scriptures—the ones people claim as a promise that aren’t a promise and such—and brings clarity to them.

The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung.

I was able to read an advance copy of this upcoming book, and it is definitely one to pre-order so you get it when it is released!



Knowing God, by J. I. Packer.

A book that helps the reader to focus on the attributes of God, and deserves to be read again and again.

Biblical Theology

Gospel and Kingdom, According to Plan, by Graeme Goldsworthy.


A Call to Spiritual Reformation, by D. A. Carson.

A thorough work on Paul’s prayers that challenges the reader about priorities in prayer.


George Whitfield, by Arnold Dallimore. [See the big two-volume version here.]

Hudson Taylor: A Man in Christ, by Roger Steer.

The Swans Are Not Silent Series, by John Piper.


Questioning Evangelism, by Randy Newman. A great book for everyone on day-to-day evangelism.


Redeeming Singleness, by Barry Danylak.

Old Testament

Commentaries by Dale Ralph Davis. Non-technical commentaries that help the reader to have a better understanding of OT books like Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings.


Basic Christianity

Christian Living

Christian Biography

Christian Truth


The Bible


With a different audience, I might offer suggestions that would stimulate women to love the Lord with more of their mind. However, my observation of the TGCW audience is that many of these women are already engaged in that pursuit. Hence, my encouragement would be to read books that help them love the Lord with more of their heart. Of course, there is value in reading books to stimulate both the heart and the mind. However, as this young-ish crowd ages (particularly those who will have multiple children), their available time for reading will likely be curtailed for a season and they will have to be highly selective. That being the case, I would encourage them to be sure to include:

Reading, meditation, and memorization of Scripture.

I do not assume this is a given. I asked 500-600 women in a breakout session at TGCW how many would say they do not currently have a consistent devotional habit. As is the case anywhere/everywhere I have ever asked this question (including groups of Bible study leaders, pastors’ wives, etc.), some 90% of the women in the room raised a hand in response. I don’t think we can stress this enough. It is His Word that gives life, and far too many believers, even those in vocational ministry, are malnourished from want of sufficient intake of Scripture. If you don’t have time to read anything else, read this Book!

Quality devotional literature.

Some of my favorites:

These provide fuel to keep my heart warm; they make me more receptive and responsive to the Word and the Spirit.

Biographies of (mostly dead) people who loved and served Jesus with all their heart.

. . . to name a few. These have had (and continue to have) a huge impact on my life.

[Note: Noel Piper’s Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God is a great introduction to a number of these women.]

Sermons of anointed preachers/pastors who proclaim(ed) the Word with hearts aflame.

These help me meditate on and better understand Scripture, while “taking it home” to the heart and life. Recently, I have been blessed by reading many of Spurgeon’s collected sermons on the Song of Solomon (The Most Holy Place).

As I said in my message at TGCW, “Sound theology should always lead to doxology and transformation.” I try to have a steady diet of books that help cultivate sound, biblical thinking and press me to worship and life transformation.

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16 thoughts on “TGC Women’s Recommended Reading”

  1. Not bad for men either! :-)

  2. Natalie says:

    Thanks! I didn’t attend the conference, but watched much of it from home. After Paige Brown’s session on Kingdom Matters, I went on Amazon and looked up every reference she mentioned. (After considering her admonition to look at how to apply all that I have learned, thus far.) I am not able to attend seminary right now, with two small kids at home. But I am an avid reader, and I can study from home. This list helps! Thanks to all who labor to raise up a new generation of women who will proclaim Christ… it means more to us than we can say.

    1. Melodylynn says:

      I started doing the same thing Natalie, because I would have loved having a book list from Paige too! I only got to the first one so far, Richard Pratt, and found that he’s president of Third Millenium Ministries, which offers seminary level courses for free online! I’m looking into “Kingdom, Covenants and Canon of the Old Testament” to learn more about this kingdom I’ve been given resources for helping to build.

  3. Melody says:

    Thanks for these recommendations! There are so many books that *could* be read sometimes it’s hard to narrow it down in to what is most useful.

  4. Betsy says:

    When I read Nancy Leigh Demoss’s recommendation of biographies of “mostly dead” people, I couldn’t help but think of the Princess Bride.

    1. kb says:

      I was thinking the exact same thing!

  5. Kathryn says:

    THANK YOU!! This is spectacular.

  6. Kim says:

    So great to see so many women recommending D.A. Carson’s A Call to Spiritual Reformation. A volume worth reading multiple times.

  7. David Anfenson says:

    Does anyone find it ironic and disturbing that most if not all of these authors are men. How about we share some wonderful books from pastors, authors, and scholars that are women?

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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