5 Books John MacArthur Wants on a Deserted Island

Someone asked John MacArthur to list the five books he would want on a deserted island. He responded with these five books.

1. The Bible

This first choice may appear dull, but it highlights an important truth: Christians must first read the Bible. Many Christians read other books but neglect the Bible. They read fiction, biographies and self–help books. They may even read Christian living books. But you cannot substitute the Word of God. The Bible must be preeminent.

2. The Existence and Attributes of God (Stephen Charnock)

Stephen Charnock’s book is my favorite book on the attributes of God. The most common way to systematically learn about God is to study his attributes. Because God is infinite, it is impossible for us to fully understand God. No book looks at God’s attributes better than Stephen Charnock’s magnum opus.

3. The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible (B.B. Warfield)

Is the Bible your final authority? Do you believe that the Bible is inspired by God? Benjamin Warfield helps us understand why we answer both questions in the affirmative.

Published in 1948, this book is a compilation of his writings on the fundamental topics of the Bible: canonicity, inerrancy, inspiration, and authority. Warfield was a great Reformed, evangelical scholar, and his book is foundational to a cardinal pillar of Reformed theology: Sola Scriptura.

4. Systematic Theology (Charles Hodge)

My favorite 19th century systematic theology is Charles Hodge’s. Hodges was a Calvinist. He was a Presbyterian theologian who studied and taught at Princeton Theological Seminary. His 3 volume theological work is seminal, laying the foundation for future works of systematic theology in the 20th and 21st century.

5. William Carey (S Pearce Carey)

Pearce Carey has written my favorite biography on William Carey. Known by many as the “father of modern missions,” Carey was an English missionary to India. He translated the Bible to several dialects including Bengali, Hindi and Arabic. He is famous for saying, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”

By reading great biographies, we allow the records of their life to impress our soul. William Carey had many admirable qualities, and this biography is masterfully written by his great–grandson.

My Personal Thoughts on John MacArthur’s 5 Books

  • The Bible must be my primary book.
  • Two cardinal disciplines of Christian study are theology proper and bibliology.
  • There is immense value in studying systematic theology.
  • I should read more biographies on Christian heroes.