Books to read along side the bible


Hi, after recently becoming interested in Christianity I’ve began reading the bible. I’ve been having a highly enjoyable time and have had an experience which is helping to confirm that I am on the right path.

Currently, I am reading through the bible quite quickly to gather the basic messages of the bible, rather than studying it deeply. I’ve read through the Gospels of Mark and John and through Acts and Romans and have started on Matthew. Along side my reading, I have watched a handful of documentaries about the history of the bible, the church and about Jesus’ life which are helping me put everything into context a little more easily.

However, I would like to read some works about Christianity that aren’t of the bible but are about the bible or living as a Christian and the philosophies of Christianity. Perhaps by Saints or Popes or someone. I just don’t know where to begin other than The Confessions of St Augustine - Which might not be a great place to start?. I don’t know of any truly religious people who could offer some guidance, so here I am.

Any thoughts? Also, sorry if this isn’t the correct forum. A little new here and unsure of where questions should go.


Try Pope Benedict's "Jesus of Nazareth" or one of the papal encyclicals.



Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

The Catechism of the Catholic Church


The first things that come to my mind are:

Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton

The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church


[quote="JM3, post:3, topic:332473"]


I'm surprised you included The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius in your list. It's a worthwhile read especially for those of us who like reading Plato and Cicero and so forth, but it's sometimes theologically and philosophically iffy and not something I would suggest for the purpose of exploring Christianity.

I'm not familiar with the other works you list, but they look interesting.


Welcome to CAF! :wave: We are always happy to oblige with book recommendations. :slight_smile:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a great resource and is available both in print and online. The Catechism (frequently abbreviated as CCC) basically pulls together all Catholic teaching. It more or less serves to tie together the Catholic interpretation of Scripture and Tradition.

If the Catechism seems difficult to get into, you can always try the Compendium (in print or online) or the YouCat (Youth Catechism). Both of those follow the same structure and contain the same content as the big Catechism. They just put it in language that is easier to understand.

Someone else recommended pope Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth. I also recommend this. It is actually a series of three books (Volume I, Volume II, and Volume III). These books do a great job of really connecting the dots in the Gospel and showing the portrait of Jesus that emerges from them. You can tell by reading them that they are the fruit of a lifetime of reflection, scholarship, and – above all – a profound relationship with the Lord.

Others mentioned G.K Chesterton and C.S. Lewis. Both of them are great Christian authors from the past 100 years that make for some good reading. You can’t really go wrong with anything by either of them.

If you are interested in delving into the writings of the Early Church Fathers (like St. Augustine), you might peruse They have digitized the extensive 37 volume collection of the writings of the Early Church Fathers. So there’s plenty there to read. :slight_smile:

If you’re looking for some quick, easy reads that paint the “big picture” of the story of the Bible, I would recommend A Father Who Keeps His Promises by Scott Hahn, Bible Basics by John Bergsma, and The Real Story by Edward Sri and Curtis Martin.

God bless you in your reading. :slight_smile:


A good solid Catholic Bible commentary is very useful. I use the online Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, but it can be rather anti-Semitic (I just skip over such comments). But he quotes many of the Early Church Fathers and other early Bible scholars, so it's worth the while.


Thank you very much, guys! That should be enough reading to last a day or two =]

I guess I’ll begin with the Catechism (makes sense, really) and then alternate between some works by the early Church Fathers and more modern authors. I’m a bit of a history nut, so reading the early works seems especially interesting to me.


Sounds like a good plan. :thumbsup: If you’re ever looking for further reading recommendations or encounter any questions as you read, feel free to come back here and ask away.


Whenever you get the chance you should read the Apostolic Fathers as well, such as 1-2 Clement, Didache, Letter of Polycarp, Ignatius Letters, etc.


Check out my thread:


The Catechism of the Catholic Church has an appendix which has a list of scripture citations and the paragraph numbers where they are cited.

So, although the CCC is not strictly a commentary of the Bible, you might try reading one of the books of the Bible and then looking up the associated paragraphs in the CCC.

This may help give you some sense of the applicability or interpretation of the associated verses of scripture.


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