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50 People Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Spiritual Giants of the Faith Paperback – April 1, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 172 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Find strength in their stories.

We all need inspiration to lead lives that honor God. When our faith is weak or the pressures of the world seem overwhelming, remembering the great men and women of the past can inspire us to renewed strength and purpose. Our spiritual struggles are not new, and the stories of those who have gone before can help lead the way to our own victories.

50 People Every Christian Should Know gives a glimpse into the lives of such people as:
•Charles H. Spurgeon
•G. Campbell Morgan
•A. W. Tozer
•Fanny Crosby
•Amy Carmichael
•Jonathan Edwards
•James Hudson Taylor
Combining the stories of fifty of these faithful men and women, beloved author Warren W. Wiersbe offers you insight and encouragement for life's uncertain journey.


Warren W. Wiersbe is a former pastor of the Moody Church and author or editor of more than 150 books, including On Being a Servant of God and The Bumps Are What You Climb On. He lives with his wife Betty in Lincoln, NE, where he continues to write and to mentor younger pastors.


This book combines Wiersbe's Living with the Giants and Victorious Christians You Should Know, plus a new preface and two new biographies.

About the Author

Warren W. Wiersbe is a pastor, author, and editor of more than 160 books, including 50 People Every Christian Should Know, On Earth as It Is in Heaven, and Through the Year with Warren W. Wiersbe. Today his primary ministry is serving others through writi
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 398 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books; Combined edition (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801071941
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801071942
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim Challies TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book offers fifty short biographical sketches of Christian figures of varying importance, ranging from Katherine von Bora to A.W. Tozer and had its genesis in magazine articles in Moody Monthly and The Good News Broadcaster. It combines two previous books, Living with the Giants and Victorious Christians. As a collection of short biographies it does with excellence exactly what is sets out to do--provide a mere introduction to important Christian figures. There is am emphasis on figures in some way related to Moody, but this hardly detracts from it. It's an excellent choice to read just a few pages at a time.
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A. W. Tozer once rightly said, "Next to the Holy Scriptures, the greatest aid to the life of faith may be Christian biographies." Can I supplement this by saying that next to a good Christian biography, the next most helpful aid is a series of brief biographical sketches.

That is what Warren Wiersbe has provided us with here: a set of short yet inspiring and helpful mini-biographies of fifty great saints of God from the past few centuries. It is a great collection of articles about a number of leading Christian evangelists, pastors and preachers.

Some of those featured here include F. B. Meyer, Charles H. Spurgeon, G. Campbell Morgan, D. L. Moody, A. W. Tozer, Fanny Crosby, Oswald Chambers, Amy Carmichael, Jonathan Edwards, James Hudson Taylor, George Whitefield, and R. A. Torrey.

The majority of these figures are Protestant pastors and preachers of the last two centuries. Thus not too many Catholics or women are found here, but there are some of each. The selection of course reflects the ministry of Wiersbe - he is a pastor, preacher and writer who for many years was pastor of Moody Church in Chicago.

He has written numerous books on preaching, and has edited a series of books on great sermons. The 50 biographical sketches offered here first appeared in several Christian magazines. They are arranged by birth date, so Katherine von Bora (b. 1499 - the wife of Martin Luther) is the first, while William Culbertson (b. 1905) is the last.

Reading them in sequences is valuable for various reasons. One can clearly note the way in which one person had a marked influence on others. Indeed, many of those featured here worked with or supported the ministry of others also found in this collection.
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50 People Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Spiritual Giants of the Faith, by Warren Wiersbe, a former pastor of Moody Church and a prolific author of over 150 books. The six or so pages devoted to each person was perfect length for reading prior to going to sleep, something I regularly did. A few of the entries are worth the entire price of the book, each providing a wonderful resource for further reading. If either in want of a thumbnail sketch of one of the `50' or in need of knowing what are some of the good biographies written about them, I would start with this book.

Since the book's subtitle invites the reader to "learn from Spiritual Giants", I would have enjoyed Wiersbe digging a bit deeper into their struggles and how they overcame them, their overarching ministerial ethos, . . . Warren's writing is a bit simplistic and not as penetrating a character study as I would have liked. For example, Spurgeon's consistent bouts with depression is never mentioned, but a descent purview of his life is. Further, most of the stories are repetitious in style--a logistical, factual recounting of the person's upbringing, the books they wrote, the ministries they oversaw, etc. Each entry feels like it was churned out rather than steeped, a part of 150 books written rather than a lifetime's worth of meditation.

Further, though Wiersbe does write about many famous Christians (Spurgeon, Moody, Taylor, et al.) people like Wesley, Knox, Calvin, et al. are strangely absent from this list. Perhaps this is so because he had other factors motivating him to pick the `50'. A very large percentage of the `50' were in someway associated either with D.L. Moody or the ministries attached to his legacy.
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It took me four months to read this book - slowly reading each mini biography a chapter at a time. I enjoyed reading about the legends of Christian history, like Charles Spurgeon and DL Moody, but I loved reading the exploits of lesser knowns like Thomas Spurgeon and Frank W. Boreham even more. The chapters are informative, inspiring and not too long or drawn out. The author also leaves each chapter with a number of books recommended for further reading. I have bought a number of these on his recommendation.

I gave the book four stars instead of five because the author consistently droned on about the weaknesses of today's churches, denominations, ministers and Christians in many chapters. From about halfway through the book I actually started to underline his constant negative comments about "today's" Christians instead of the inspirational ones - this is how distracting they became. Other than this small issue, the book is well worth owning and reading.
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When I received this book I was really excited to begin reading it. I was not disappointed. Many of these people I hardly knew or knew very little about but didn't want to have to read a biography about each of them. This book filled the gap for me. They are both brief and sufficient giving you enough information but not so much that you could be overwhelmed. At the end of every chapter there is also a list of recommended reading by or about the person. I used it as a nightly devotional and could see it used in similar ways by many others. For pastors or teachers it is a great resource to find good and historic books as well.
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