If I could only suggest one church history book to read aloud to your kids this year, it would be Trial and Triumph.

In this well-researched, well-written living book, Richard Hannula has brought to life forty-six heroes of the faith. Beginning with Polycarp in the Early Church, and ending with Richard Wrumbrand, Trial and Triumph is a collection of chronological biographies, one per chapter, from 69 – 2001 A.D.

These moving stories of those who faced real persecution, fought heresy, clarified the Gospel in the midst of darkness, demonstrated tremendous courage, gave up their personal comforts to bring the Good News to the ends of the earth, and took a valiant stand for Christ, are inspiring examples of what 1 Corinthians 15:58 looks like in action.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 15:58 KJV

In a time when courage to do the right thing grows increasingly rare, and standing up for matters of conscience is an almost sure way to get fired, I hope these saints who lived and died well, will serve to encourage our minds and hearts when we are confronted with opposition.

What struck me about this book, was that each life and chapter was rooted in the one that came before. All throughout Church History, godly men and women have built upon the faith of those who lived before them. Their sacrifices were not in vain because, as Tertullian said, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”

I’d heartily recommend Trial and Triumph as a Family Read Aloud. (You may want to keep a box of tissues on hand.)