First Thoughts

Books on Revival

I am desperate to see a mighty outpouring of the Spirit of God in our day.

I am desperate for revival.

A mighty and great work of God is the only thing that can solve the overwhelming problems Christians are currently facing. It is the only reality that can stem the tide of cultural decline currently pulling our world into full-scale collapse. The Spirit of God alone can do what all our programs, politics, and striving have failed to accomplish.

On Sunday mornings in 2023 at First Baptist, we will be preaching through the book of Acts. Each week we will examine how the story proceeds and pay attention to the relevant biblical and theological principles, but our emphasis each week will be to evaluate God’s work in the revival that was the creation of the early church. The series is called Revival: Experiencing the Acts of God.

Acts is the inspired book on revival in the New Testament. If you want to see and understand what God does when he is doing a great work, you need to study the book of Acts.

But there are other books you can read as well. I have been helped by many books on revival, but here is a list of ten of my favorites that you may want to read this year as we study Acts.

These first books are ones that tell the story of various revivals.

A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir

Colin Hansen and John Woodbridge

This is a great introductory book to various revival stories that have happened throughout church history. If you want to dip your toe in the water and be introduced to various works of God, this is a great start. It is written by men who are eager to see God do a fresh work in our day.

A Narrative of Surprising Conversions

Jonathan Edwards

One of the great revivals in American history is known as the First Great Awakening, and the foremost preacher of that awakening in New England was Jonathan Edwards. This book is his own account of what God did in bringing countless people to salvation.

Revival and Revivalism: The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750-1858

Iain H. Murray

This book tells the story of many of the revivals in America. It is a remarkable portrait of how God grew his church in the United States. Along the way, Murray helps us understand a true work of God, called revival, and a human attempt at that work, called revivalism.

Almost all revivals have a leader and preacher at the center of them that God uses in a powerful way. There are dozens of wonderful biographies about these people. Here are four of my favorites.

George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the 18th Century Revival

Arnold Dallimore

Few people are more responsible for the Judeo-Christian history of the United States than George Whitefield—one of the most powerful preachers in history. He saw the conversion of thousands of men and women. At two volumes, the biography is a beast, but is more than worth the effort.

A Passion for Souls: The Life of D.L. Moody

Lyle Dorsett

How does a man move from a sinful shoe salesman to one of the great leaders in Christian history? Lyle Dorsett details the gripping story of the life and ministry of the great D.L. Moody.

Spurgeon: A Biography

Arnold Dallimore

What is the story behind the greatest preacher since Jesus himself? Dallimore explains the remarkable life of the “Prince of Preachers.” If you’re looking for a biography on this great man, you have plenty to choose from, but this one is my favorite.

One Soul at a Time: The Story of Billy Graham

Grant Wacker

This biography of the great Graham is gripping, concise, and quite readable. Those are the reasons I love recommending this introduction to the life of the man who preached to more people on the planet than any other man in history.

The following books explain the concept of revival.

Sermons on Revival

Charles Spurgeon

I love this book. It is a collection of sermons by Charles Spurgeon where he addresses the concept of revival. These sermons will expand your knowledge and grip your soul.

Revival

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Lloyd-Jones was the great preacher of Westminster Chapel in the middle of the last century. One of his most well-known sermon series is on revival, and those sermons are chronicled in this book. It is an absolute must-read for anyone who wants to understand a biblical vision of revival.

Dynamics of Spiritual Life: An Evangelical Theology of Renewal

Richard Lovelace

Different than any of the other books on this list, this work explains a theology of revival. If you want to understand not just the great works of God but also the great truths that drive those events, then this book is for you.


Dr. Heath Lambert has been the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville since 2017. He is the author of several books, including Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace.

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