The Preacher once said, “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body” (Ecclesiastes 12:12).
It’s impossible to quantify how many more books are made today than in the time of Solomon, but one thing is for sure: there are a ton of books out there, and many are not worth your time.
But don’t lose heart: I’ve been keeping a list of 2017 Christian books I’m excited about and thought I would share them with you to cut away the clutter.
Be sure to share anything great I’m missing in a comment. And, oh yeah, add me on GoodReads if you haven’t already. It’s like Facebook for book nerds.
(Just a heads up, links below are affiliate links, which means I make a few cents on the dollar of purchases at no extra cost to you. It helps me cover blogging expenses. 🙂 )
1. Work and Our Labor in the Lord (Short Studies in Biblical Theology) by James M. Hamilton (January 31 from Crossway)
James Hamilton’s newest book on Biblical Theology is a short tome on the important topic of work. I just picked up Ray Ortlund’s volume in this series and hope to read them all. For me, there is no more important topic than a comprehensive understanding of what Scripture says about a given topic, and with work taking up 40+ hours per week of most people, this volume is particularly relevant to daily living.
2. Hope When It Hurts: Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering by Sarah Walton and Kristen Wetherell (April 1 from The Good Book Co)
I’m excited about this one not just because it looks like a great book, but also because the authors and I attend the same church, blog (Kristen & Sarah), and write for Unlocking the Bible. If you’re looking for a good female blogger to follow, connect with both of them!
“Suffering is real. But so is hope. Kristen and Sarah have walked through, and are walking in, difficult times. So these thirty biblical reflections are full of realism about the hurts of life yet overwhelmingly full of hope about the God who gives life.”
3. Unstuck: Breaking Free from Barriers to Your Productivity by Matt Perman (May 2 from Zondervan)
Matt Perman’s first book, What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done, changed the way I think about faith’s connection with work and productivity. I expect great things from this book too, although I expect the focus to be more practical than a combination of theological and practical. More good news: this is about half the size as What’s Best Next! (Yay for short(er) books!)
4. This Is Our Time: Everyday Myths in Light of the Gospel by Trevin Wax (April 16 from B&H Books)
I’m assuming this book springs forth from ideas presented at The Gospel Coalition 2015 Conference talk called “Discipleship in the Age of Richard Dawkins, Lady Gaga, and Amazon.com“. You can read an interview I did with Trevin here. From the Amazon description:
In This is Our Time, Trevin Wax provides snapshots of twenty-first-century American Life. in order to help Christians understand the times. By analyzing our common beliefs and practices (smartphone habits, entertainment intake, and our views of shopping, sex, marriage, politics, and life’s purpose), Trevin helps us see through the myths of society to the hope of the gospel.
As faithful witnesses to Christ, Trevin writes, we must identify the longing behind society’s most cherished myths (what is good, true, beautiful), expose the lie at the heart of these myths (what is false and damaging), and show how the gospel tells a better story – one that exposes the lie but satisfies the deeper longing.
5. 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You by Tony Reinke (April 30 from Crossway)
I’m a big fan of Tony Reinke’s application of Scriptural truths to all areas of life at Desiring God. I also really enjoyed his book on books, Lit!. That being said, I have high hopes for this much-needed book and think it will change the lives of many smartphone users/abusers. Expect a review from me this spring!
6. Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father by Thomas S. Kidd (May 23 from Yale University Press)
Ben Franklin is an American legend and also rather complex character, religiously speaking. He was born to Puritan parents, good friends with the famed evangelist George Whitefield, and yet never seemingly gave his life to Christ. I’m looking forward to how Baylor University historian Thomas Kidd tackles this fascinating and perplexing character from American and church history.
7. Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture by David Murray (March 31st from Crossway books)
Let’s face it. We’re all busy, and we all need more grace in our lives. Dr. David Murray of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary seeks to help us grow in grace during busyness.
Largely due to overwork and the stresses of modern life, men in work and ministry are increasingly run-down, anxious, and depressed. But is this level of physical and spiritual weariness inevitable? Just as a car needs to be regularly refueled, retuned, and repaired in order to keep running, a balanced life can be sustained only when a man takes proper steps to stay on track. In this hopeful book, experienced pastor and counselor David Murray shares stories from his own life and the lives of friends, offering gospel-centered advice for avoiding, assessing, and recovering from burnout. With chapters on rest, relationships, routines, and more, this book lays out a host of practical remedies men can use to reset their lives on a more sustainable course—resulting in renewed energy, joy, and purpose.
8. The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation by Rod Dreher (March 14 from Sentinel)
This is one book I’m excited about, and one that will require more diligent thought and discernment about how Christians can best live in and engage a post-Christian nation. (Read this interview Rod Dreher did with World Magazine.)
The Benedict Option shows believers how to build the resistance and resilience to face a hostile modern world with the confidence and fervor of the early church. Christians face a time of choosing, with the fate of Christianity in Western civilization hanging in the balance. In this powerful challenge to the complacency of contemporary Christianity, Dreher shows why those in all churches who fail to take the Benedict Option aren’t going to make it.
9. Incredibly Normal: The Shocking Truth About Who You Really Are by Trip Lee (November 7 from Thomas Nelson)
I haven’t read anything of Trip’s, but if his books are half as theologically rich and encouraging as his rap music, then the book will be worth the purchase price.
10–12. Upcoming volumes in the Theologians on the Christian Life Series from Crossway (no dates available)
This is a special series and good for gaining an introduction to the theology of an important thinker from Church history.I’ve read the volume on Packer and loved it. Next up for me are Newton and Augustine.
UPDATE with Release Dates:
- Joe Rigney, C. S. Lewis on the Christian Life (2017)
- Michael Reeves, Spurgeon on the Christian Life (2018)
- Jason Meyer, Lloyd-Jones on the Christian Life (2018)
Derek Thomas, Bunyan on the Christian Life(Cancelled)
***(FYI—Cross-Points Books is running a giveaway of the entire 12-volume set, ending December 12th.)
My supervisor is writing Spurgeon on the Christian Life. I'm working on Lewis on the same. We'd both welcome prayers https://t.co/oPvZqFFdRc
— Joe Rigney (@joe_rigney) June 7, 2016
Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth by John MacArthur (January 31 from Crossway)
Another Bonus Book:
Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture by John Piper (April 30)
Good stuff! What about the MacArthur systematic theology from @crossway??? Big stuff!!!
— nατε picκοwicz (@NatePickowicz) November 30, 2016
What’s on your 2017 reading list?