Baker Academic has a brand new website! Click Here To Visit:

Why Study History?, 2nd Edition

Reflecting on the Importance of the Past

Cover Art

Where to Purchase

More Options


What is the purpose of studying history? How do we reflect on contemporary life from a historical perspective, and can such reflection help us better understand ourselves, the world around us, and the God we worship and serve?

Written by an accomplished historian, award-winning author, public evangelical spokesman, and respected teacher, this introductory textbook shows why Christians should study history, how faith is brought to bear on our understanding of the past, and how studying the past can help us more effectively love God and others. John Fea shows that deep historical thinking can relieve us of our narcissism; cultivate humility, hospitality, and love; and transform our lives more fully into the image of Jesus Christ.

The first edition of this book has been used widely in Christian colleges across the country. The second edition contains updates throughout.

1. What Do Historians Do?
2. In Search of a Usable Past
3. The Past Is a Foreign Country
4. Providence and History
5. Christian Resources for the Study of the Past
6. History for a Civil Society
7. The Power to Transform
8. So What Can You Do with a History Major?
Epilogue: History and the Church


"This book is a wonderful introduction to what historians do and how they think. I am pleased to see a second edition in print."

Benjamin Wetzel, Taylor University

"I've been using John Fea's textbook as long as I've taught our department's Introduction to History course, and I'm eager for my students to start reading his updated edition. Why Study History? remains an accessible, winsome, and thought-provoking case for the power of history from a leading scholar who approaches the study of the past as a Christian vocation."

Christopher Gehrz, professor of history, Bethel University; author of Charles Lindbergh: A Religious Biography of America's Most Infamous Pilot

The Author

  1. John Fea

    John Fea

    John Fea (PhD, State University of New York at Stony Brook) is distinguished professor of American history at Messiah University in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and executive editor of Current. He is the author of several books, including Believe Me:...

    Continue reading about John Fea