You’ll notice that 8 of the 12 best books on missions are biographies. Books only on missions theory are like a one-wheel bike. They only inform. Good missionary biographies are like a two-wheel bike. They inform and inspire.
1. Father of Faith Missions: The Life and Times of Anthony Norris Groves (Robert Dann, Autentic Media, 2004, 606 pp)
This book inspires as a good biography should. It also teaches like good missiology should. It touches on parenting, child rearing, support raising, Muslim apologetics, friendship, team ministry, church planting, language learning and much more. The book is out of print and difficult to find, but not impossible. Sometimes you must sell all you have to obtain a great treasure.
2. William Carey (S. Pearce Carey, Wakeman Trust, 2008, 437 pp)
William Carey may be the greatest missionary since the Apostle Paul. Ironically, he wasn’t a church planter. He didn’t even arrive on the field until his early 30’s. I’ve read this volume from cover to cover twice. His teammates were just as great of missionaries as he was.
3. Paul the Missionary: Realities, Strategies, and Methods (Eckhard Schnabel, IVP, 2010, 519 pages)
This is my go-to book for a biblical perspective on missions. Schnabel argues for the right missionary methods by ransacking the relevant New Testament texts. Churches should used this volume when crafting their missions philosophy. I wrote a review of it here and a summary here.
4. John G. Paton Autobiography (Banner of Truth, 2013, 538 pages)
This could be the most thrilling, fast-paced and adventurous book on missions ever written. Paton was a missionary to the cannibals of the South Seas in the 19th century. He lost his wife, child and many friends, but he never quit. It is a missionary classic. I wrote a review of it here.
5. Hudson Taylor, Two Volume (Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, OMF, 1996)
If you want a shorter version than the two volume, read Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret. But the two volumes of Growth of a Soul and Growth of the Work of God are far superior. I’m shocked at how cheap both hardback volumes are. A missionary to Ghana and close friend gifted this biography to me in my early twenties. The Lord used it to strengthen my calling to missions. Continue reading