Book Review – 50 People Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Spiritual Giants of the Faith

• Warren Wiersbe (1929-2019), 50 People Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Spiritual Giants of the Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2009), 398 pp.

It’s been a privilege to spend the last few months making my way through Wiersbe’s 50 People Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Spiritual Giants of the Faith. This book is a precious treasure trove of short biographies highlighting notable Christian figures from the past 500 years or so. D. L. Moody, C. H. Spurgeon and Amy Carmichael are just a few names that fill this volume. Fanny Crosby and C. I. Scofield were of particular interest to me. And of course, it’s always a treat to come across names that you aren’t familiar with and to see how closely connected they were to some of the more well-known giants of the faith.

Wiersbe aims to encourage and inspire by curating these short bio-sketches. He states, ”When our faith is weak or the pressures of the world seem overwhelming, remembering the great men and women of the past can inspire us to renewed strength and purpose.” I’ve often been stirred and challenged by the accounts of men like Jim Elliot and Robert Murray McCheyne. Whenever I’m feeling down and discouraged I find in them a balm for my soul. On the opposite end of the spectrum, whenever I’m feeling proud and entitled I find them calling me out, as it were, from their journal entries which are saturated with a sensitivity to their sin. Biographies have a way of helping and humbling us. No matter what stage of life we are at. And for that I am thankful.

At the end of each biography, Wiersbe points the reader in the direction of more extensive and scholarly pieces. He even includes a recommended reading list at the back of the book for further study on each person. I really appreciate him doing this. It’s like he serves up the appetizer and then shows you where the main-course is found.

Finally, I’d have to say that one of my favourite characteristics of this book is the warmth and intimacy with which Wiersbe writes as he recounts the faithful men who filled the pulpit at Moody before him. You especially get this vibe as he writes about H. A. Ironside. You can tell that sharing these Moody men with us is more than just a project. He desires to honour their life and legacy and to encourage us to learn from their example.

I heartily recommend this precious volume of biographies to you. Each biography is short and can easily be read in 5 minutes. Perfect with breakfast or right before you go to bed. May this book warm and challenge your heart, and may you be blessed by spending time with 50 People Every Christian Should Know.

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