In the first century, Jesus Christ’s disciples, the Apostle Paul, and others penned the New Testament, the second part of the Holy Bible that would become the best-selling and most widely distributed book in history with more than 5 billion copies printed, according to Guinness World Records.
While the Bible was completed nearly 2,000 years ago, today’s pastors, philosophers, journalists, physicians, and others have written countless books commentating on Scripture that have sold hundreds of millions of copies, profoundly influenced the world, and inspired many people to live lives of faith.
Now, to help readers pick out some of the best inspirational books by these authors, questsin has compiled this list of the top 25 living Christian nonfiction authors. The criteria followed were simple: The authors who sold the most books and are considered “highly influential” in the Christian space.
While this is not a definitive guide, questsin sought to determine how many books an author sold by cross-referencing the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association list of best-selling Christian books with information provided by the authors themselves and their publishers, along with personal bios, Amazon author pages, news articles, and other credible sources.
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The second criterion — authors who are “highly influential” — is a more subjective one based on knowledge of the Christian publishing industry and influential figures within Christianity.
Given the sheer number of influential Christians, undoubtedly many great writers were left out, but this list should offer questsin readers a reasonable guide to the best-selling and most influential living Christian nonfiction authors.
Without further ado, here’s how questsin, in collaboration with Christian author Troy Anderson, ranked the top 25 living Christian nonfiction authors:
1. Pastor Rick Warren — The leader of one of America’s largest megachurches, Rick Warren’s blockbuster book “The Purpose Driven Life” has sold more than 50 million copies, prompting TIME to name him one of “the 100 most influential people in the world.” Zondervan plans to release a “50 millionth copy edition” of the book later this year, Warren told questsin. Gallup and Barna Group polls found 16 percent of Americans — or 60 million people — have read it. Guinness World Records lists it as the second most translated book in history, next to the Bible. Newsweek described Warren as one of “15 People Who Make America Great” and the Encyclopædia Britannica calls him “one of the most influential Evangelical Christians in the United States.”
As co-founder with his wife Kay of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, Warren built the Purpose Driven Network, a global alliance of more than 400,000 pastors representing 162 countries. His book, “The Purpose Driven Church,” has sold over 1.5 million copies, while his book “The Purpose of Christmas” has sold over 1 million copies.
2. Max Lucado — Described by Goodreads as “America’s best-selling inspirational author,” Pastor Max Lucado’s books have sold nearly 100 million copies and have occupied spots on every major national best-seller list. “Max Lucado has spent the last 40 years telling the story of God’s grace in books, in pulpits, on broadcasts, on music tours … every chance he gets,” according to his bio. “Max’s message of God’s unfathomable grace has resonated with people around the world for the past 30 years, making Max one of the world’s most popular authors.” The senior pastor at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, Lucado is the author of “On the Anvil,” “Just Like Jesus,” “In the Grip of Grace,” and “When God Whispers Your Name.”
3. Josh McDowell — Christian apologist, speaker, and evangelist Josh McDowell is the author or co-author of nearly 150 books with 51 million copies distributed that reach the “spiritually skeptical.” An agnostic in his youth, McDowell challenged himself to intellectually examine the claims of Christianity, leading to the discovery of “compelling, overwhelming evidence for the reliability of the Christian faith.” McDowell is best known for his 1977 book “More Than a Carpenter,” with over 27 million copies distributed, and 1972 book, “Evidence That Demands a Verdict,” which was named one of the 20th century’s top 40 books and one of the 13 most influential books of the last 50 years on Christian thought by World magazine.
4. Joyce Meyer — Known as a practical Bible teacher, The New York Times best-selling author and speaker Joyce Meyer has written over 100 books that have sold more than 40 million copies and been translated into more than 100 languages. About 12 million of her books have been distributed free of charge. Her inspirational books are credited with helping “millions of people find hope and restoration through Jesus Christ.” Her best-sellers include “Power Thoughts,” “The Confident Woman,” “How to Hear from God,” and “Battlefield of the Mind.” Her broadcast, “Enjoying Everyday Life,” airs daily on hundreds of television networks and radio stations worldwide.
5. Hal Lindsey — Described by The New York Times as “the Jeremiah of today,” Hal Lindsey is the author of “The Late Great Planet Earth,” the best-selling nonfiction book of the 1970s that sold over 35 million copies. Considered the father of the modern-day Bible prophecy movement, Lindsey, 89, continues to anchor “The Hal Lindsey Report” on TBN and many other Christian networks — offering his thoughts on “yesterday’s prophecies and today’s headlines.” He’s also the author of “Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth,” “The Terminal Generation,” “Rapture,” and other best-sellers. Lindsey helped write the script for the 1979 movie “The Late Great Planet Earth” narrated by actor Orson Welles.
6. Stormie Omartian — Known as the best-selling author of “The Power of Praying” series of books, Stormie Omartian has sold more than 32 million books that help people learn “how God changes lives when we learn to trust in Him, seek His will, and follow His lead no matter what the circumstances.” Over 28 million copies of “The Power of Praying” series have been sold. Her other best-selling books include “Prayer Warrior;” “Lead Me, Holy Spirit;” and “The Prayer That Changes Everything.” In demand as an international speaker, Stormie’s passion is to “help people know God and love him in a deep way.”
7. Rev. Billy Graham — Approaching the astonishing age of 100, Billy Graham has preached the gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history — nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories. He’s reached another 2 billion people via radio and television broadcasts. Considered the most recognizable evangelist in modern history, Graham has written more than 30 books that have sold over 20 million copies. This includes “Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity, and Our Life Beyond,” his autobiography “Just as I Am,” “Approaching Hoofbeats: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” and “Angels: God’s Secret Agents.”
8. Sarah Young — Inspired by a 1930s devotional book titled “God Calling,” Young decided to “listen” to God and wrote down what she sensed he was saying. “Of course, I wasn’t listening for an audible voice; I was seeking the ‘still, small voice’ of God in my mind/heart,” Young told CBN.com. The result was “Jesus Calling,” a publishing phenomenon that led to many books that have collectively sold over 20 million copies. Young’s devotional writings are personal reflections from her daily quiet time of Bible reading, praying, and writing in prayer journals. Her books, including “Jesus Always,” encourage “readers in their journey toward intimacy with Christ.” Serving as missionaries in Japan and Australia for many years, she and her husband, an ordained minister with the Presbyterian Church in America, live in the United States now.
9. Bruce Wilkinson — A popular Christian teacher, Bruce Wilkinson is the author of the New York Times best-seller “The Prayer of Jabez,” which has sold over 20 million copies. In the book, Wilkinson explores the life of Jabez, an overlooked biblical hero, and explores how people can “release God’s miraculous power and experience the blessings God longs to give each of us.” Wilkinson is the founder of WorldTeach, an initiative to train Bible teachers around the world, and Dream for Africa, a humanitarian organization that addresses AIDS, orphan care, and starvation in sub-Saharan Africa.
10. Joel Osteen — Nicknamed “the smiling preacher,” Joel Osteen is the pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas — America’s largest and fastest-growing church — where he delivers “God’s message of hope and encouragement” to more than 38,000 attendees each week, along with 7 million people who view his sermons on television or online. Osteen is the most watched inspirational figure in America, according to Nielsen Media Research. His weekly broadcast is also seen in over 100 nations. Osteen is the author of seven New York Times best-sellers, including his first book, “Your Best Life Now,” which has sold over 10 million copies. His books, “Break Out!;” “You Can, You Will;” and others, have sold in excess of 8 million copies.
11. Philip Yancey — An editor-at-large for Christianity Today, Philip Yancey is the best-selling author of many books that have sold more than 14 million copies combined. This includes two books that won ECPA’s Christian Book of the Year Award: “The Jesus I Never Knew” and “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” “I write books for myself,” Yancey said in his autobiography. “I’m a pilgrim, recovering from a bad church upbringing, searching for a faith that makes its followers larger and not smaller. I feel overwhelming gratitude that I can make a living writing about the questions that most interest me. My books are a process of exploration and investigation of things I wonder about and worry about.”
12. Todd Burpo — The incredible story detailed in the blockbuster book “Heaven Is for Real” emerged in the months following Pastor Todd Burpo’s son Colton’s emergency appendectomy. As his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival, the 3-year-old boy told his parents that he left his body during the surgery — and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital at that time. He spoke of visiting heaven and relaying stories told to him by people he met there and even sharing events that happened before he was born. He amazed his parents with obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly. The book has sold over 13 million copies.
13. Gary Chapman — A longtime pastor and marriage counselor, Chapman is author of “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate,” a book that has sold over 10 million copies and has helped millions of people save their “marriages by showing them simple and practical ways to communicate their love.” As those who have attended his marriage conferences know, Chapman’s expertise in marriage originates with the success and failures he and his wife Karolyn have experienced in their marriage of more than 45 years. He hosts the nationally syndicated radio program, “A Love Language Minute,” and a Saturday morning program, “Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.” He’s the author of many other books, including “Anger,” “The Family You’ve Always Wanted” and “How to Really Love Your Adult Child.”
14. Dave Ramsey — Host of the popular “The Dave Ramsey Show” heard on nearly 600 radio stations, Ramsey is the author of many best-selling, faith-based books that have sold over 10 million copies. Ramsey founded Ramsey Solutions in 1992 to “counsel folks hurting from the results of financial stress.” Since then, over 4.5 million people have participated in Financial Peace University to learn how to get out of debt, save up a $1,000 emergency fund, and invest for their future. Ramsey has written more than 15 books, seven of them debuting on best-sellers lists, including “Financial Peace,” “The Total Money Makeover,” and “The Complete Guide to Money.”
15. Lee Strobel — The former award-winning legal editor at the Chicago Tribune and atheist catapulted into the public debate regarding the evidence for Christianity with his New York Times best-selling book “The Case for Christ” in 1998. The book has since sold over 5 million copies and was turned into a major motion picture in 2017 detailing his journey from atheism to faith. His other books, “The Case for Faith,” “The Case for a Creator,” “The Case for a Real Jesus,” and “The Case for Easter,” have sold over 2.5 million copies and won several Gold Medallion and ECPA Christian Book awards. Strobel’s life work “has been to share the evidence that supports the truth and claims of Christianity and to equip believers to share their faith with the people they know and love.” He’s been interviewed on numerous television outlets, including “20/20,” Fox News, and CNN. The Washington Post described him as “one of the evangelical community’s most popular apologists.” Strobel is currently a teaching pastor at Woodlands Church in Texas and a professor of Christian thought at Houston Baptist University.
16. Joel Rosenberg — A former communications adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Joel Rosenberg is a New York Times best-selling author of nearly 20 books that have sold about 5 million copies. He was once described as a “modern-day Nostradamus” by U.S. News and World Report for writing a novel about a hijacked jet on a kamikaze mission into an American city nine months before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He’s been interviewed on hundreds of radio and television shows, including “Nightline,” “The Rush Limbaugh Show,” and “The Sean Hannity Show.” His articles and columns appear in National Review, FoxNews.com, The Jerusalem Post, and The Washington Times. His books include “Epicenter,” “Inside the Revolution,” and “Implosion.” Rosenberg lives with his wife and four children in Israel and is the founder and chairman of The Joshua Fund, a nonprofit educational and charitable organization launched in 2006 to mobilize Christians to “bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus.”
17. Beth Moore — Known for her Living Proof Live conferences, Beth Moore is one of the most sought-after Bible teachers and dynamic speakers in the world. A popular evangelist, conference speaker, and best-selling author of many books that have sold over 2.5 million copies, Moore is the founder of Living Proof Ministries whose purpose is to teach women “how to love and live on God’s Word.” Over the years, American missionaries and expatriates have taken her Bible studies overseas, leading to Beth Moore Bible study groups popping up around the world. She has written numerous books and Bible studies that have been read by women of all ages, races, and denominations, including “So Long, Insecurity;” “Praying God’s Word;” and “Get Out of That Pit.”
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18. Jonathan Cahn — Described by Charisma magazine as one of 40 people who “radically changed our world,” Rabbi Jonathan Cahn is the New York Times best-selling author of books that have sold over 2 million copies. Cahn, a Messianic Jewish rabbi at the Jerusalem Center/Beth Israel in Wayne, New Jersey, and president of Hope of the World ministries, is best known for his book “The Harbinger” in which he compares the United States and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to ancient Israel and the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel. It sold over 2 million copies. His latest book, “The Paradigm,” released in late 2017, has sold more than 350,000 copies. His teachings are broadcast daily over hundreds of radio stations throughout the nation and world, and he appears on numerous television programs.
19. Eric Metaxas — Described by ABC News as the “photogenic, witty ambassador for faith in public life,” Eric Metaxas is the author of four New York Times best-sellers, including “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy,” which was named Book of the Year by ECPA and sold over 2 million copies. Metaxas, host of “The Eric Metaxas Show,” a nationally syndicated radio program heard in over 120 cities, is also the author of “Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World.” He’s a senior fellow and lecturer at large for the King’s College in New York.
20. Francis Chan — The former pastor at the 5,000-member Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California, Chan is the best-selling author of “Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God,” “Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit,” and other books that have sold over 1.5 million copies. Today, Chan leads a house church movement in San Francisco called We Are Church. “And everyone’s growing and everyone’s having to read this book (Bible) for themselves and people actually caring for one another,” Chan said recently.
21. Ben Carson — Currently serving as the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Donald Trump, Ben Carson is a formerly renowned neurosurgeon and the best-selling author of many books that have sold over 1.5 million copies. His books include his popular autobiography “Gifted Hands,” “Think Big,” “The Big Picture,” and “Take the Risk,” which explore his personal philosophies on learning, success, demanding work, and religious faith.
22. David Platt — The president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board, Platt is also the founder of Radical, a resource ministry that exists to serve the church in accomplishing the mission of Christ, and the New York Times best-selling author of “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream” and other books that have sold over 1 million copies. He’s the former pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama.
23. John Bevere — An internationally sought-after speaker, Bevere is known for his “bold and uncompromising approach to God’s Word” and the best-selling author of “The Bait of Satan,” which sold over 1 million copies. He and his wife Lisa are the founders of Messenger International, an organization established to “teach, reach, and rescue.” His books and other resources have been translated into more than 90 languages, and millions of copies have been given away to pastors and leaders worldwide.
24. Willie and Korie Robertson — Stars of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” Willie and Korie Robertson are New York Times best-selling authors of “The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty,” which has sold over 1 million copies, and other books. Willie is the chief executive officer of Duck Commander, a company in West Monroe, Louisiana, that manufactures duck calls and other hunting merchandise. Korie is Willie’s wife with several ventures of her own, including overseeing licensing of the family’s brands, speaking around the country, and philanthropic work.
25. Stephen and Alex Kendrick — The founders of Kendrick Brothers Productions, Stephen and Alex Kendrick produced popular films “Facing the Giants,” “Fireproof,” and “Courageous,” and co-authored the best-selling book “The Love Dare,” which sold more than 1 million copies. Alex Kendrick was the associate pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Stephen Kendrick was the associate teaching pastor at the church.
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Troy Anderson is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated investigative journalist, author of the FaithWords/Hachette best-sellers “Trumpocalypse” and “The Babylon Code,” former executive editor of Charisma magazine and Charisma Media, reporter at the Los Angeles Daily News, and a regular guest on numerous television and radio shows. He writes for Reuters, questsin, and many other media outlets. Find out more at troyanderson.us, troyandersonwriter.com, or on Twitter @TroyMAnderson.