When was the last time you sat down to read a book that taught you something about the beauty and glory of Christ? What about a biography of a Christian from church history whose life we still talk about today? Have you read a book in the last year that gives you a deeper understanding of and love for God’s Word? Reading is something we all do everyday. However, in our day of social media overload, most of that reading is limited to snippets of information. Many Americans, and many in the church, have lost the discipline required to sit down and engage with the written text of a book.
As we look ahead to 2017 I would like to invite you to join me in a reading challenge. The Apostle Paul exhorted the church in Rome to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” One way we can renew our minds is by reading theologically rich Christian literature. “Theologically rich” does not have to mean 600 pages of 17th century language (though it can). It can be as simple as many of the books you will see listed below. I’ve chosen books that I believe will encourage you in your walk with Christ and also challenge you to think deeper about the glorious gospel we hold fast. As we read together I believe it will help foster rich fellowship as we converse about these books and encourage one another with what we are learning.
You can find all of these books at Amazon (among other places).
This year there are two options for the challenge. The first is a six-book challenge (similar to 2016). The second, for the avid reader, is a twelve-book challenge. Of course, if you decide to take the six-book challenge but would rather substitute one of the books from the twelve-book challenge then please feel the freedom to do so.
Will you join me?
2017 Six-Book Challenge
January-February: Praying the Bible, Donald S. Whitney
March-April: What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality?, Kevin DeYoung
May-June: Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification, Sinclair Ferguson
July-August: Luther on the Christian Life, Carl Trueman
September-October: A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of God-Centered Worship, Michael Horton
November-December: What Grieving People Wish You Knew About What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts), Nancy Guthrie
2017 Twelve-Book Challenge
January: Praying the Bible, Donald S. Whitney
February: What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality?, Kevin DeYoung
March: Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification, Sinclair Ferguson
April: Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan
May: Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, Rosaria Butterfield
June: Welcome to a Reformed Church, Daniel Hyde
July: The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion, Tim Challies
August: Luther on the Christian Life, Carl Trueman
September: A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of God-Centered Worship, Michael Horton
October: The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World, Stephen Nichols
November: What Grieving People Wish You Knew About What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts), Nancy Guthrie
December: Child in the Manger: The True Meaning of Christmas, Sinclair Ferguson
2016 Reading Challenge
January-February: Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem, by Kevin DeYoung
March-April: Knowing Christ, by Mark Jones
May-June: Covenants Made Simple, by Jonty Rhodes
July-August: Slogging Along in the Paths of Righteousness, by Dale Ralph Davis
September-October: Evidence Not Seen: A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II, by Darlene Deibler Rose
November-December: Honest Evangelism: How to Talk About Jesus Even When It’s Tough, by Rico Tice