Recently, a Christian publisher shared a funny infographic on Facebook, sharing how many book nerds like me think of gift giving and receiving. To sum it up: we like receiving books as gifts.
With Christmas right around the corner, I thought it would be helpful to share a few suggested books to give or ask for this Christmas season. You can also see the recommendations of Westminster Books.
(FYI, the links I share in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I receive a small percentage at no extra cost to you.)
1. Heaven, How I Got Here by Colin Smith
I put this book first, well, because I have a personal connection: Colin Smith is my pastor and has been a great influence in my Christian life. I still remember the idea for this book pitched while sitting in the Unlocking the Bible conference room back in my days serving with UTB.
Here’s an excerpt below from my review of the book that ran at The Gospel Coalition site:
If you’re like me, your amazement at the gospel can be hindered by overfamiliarity. Reading this book helped me cut away distracting layers to provide a vivid glimpse of God’s grace in Christ. I felt like I was the thief hanging on that hill, and I thought about the Savior’s deep emotions and compassion in a way I never had previously. In short, this book helped bring back the awe of the gospel by bringing me within feet of the cross.
This book will satisfy the heavenly longing of many, not because it describes heaven to the reader (it doesn’t) but because it describes the way to heaven and gives believers assurance that at Calvary our salvation was secured. By God’s grace readers will be gripped by the realization that the thief on the cross had no chance to do good works—and yet Jesus declared to him, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
2. Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney
From my review:
Sometimes the simplest ideas make the biggest impact in our daily lives. Whitney’s method in Praying the Bible did just that for me. It is a short and simple book that still motivate you to pray and give you a proven method to overcome obstacles to have a more joyful and effective prayer life. Readers will feel like they are students in one of Whitney’s classes and clearly learn the “why” and the “how” of praying the Bible.
3. The Songs of Jesus by Timothy Keller
Here’s another great book to improve your prayer life by praying divinely inspired prayers back to God. See an excerpt from my review:
The Songs of Jesus are a rich collection of devotions that are clear and straight to the point, getting to the heart of each Psalm and helping readers think through them practically and prayerfully. Diligent readers and those who journal through it will feast on the richness of the Psalter and rejoice as they behold and commune with the Savior who so faithfully embodied the psalms.
4. True Worshipers: Seeking What Matters to God by Bob Kauflin
This is one book on this list I haven’t read, but I did listen to the interview below on Ryan Huguley’s In The Room podcast. Every Christian should desire to be a worshipper that honors God with every detail of our lives. Here’s the Amazon description:
The question is not “Are you a worshiper?” but rather “What kind of a worshiper are you?”
In True Worshipers, Bob Kauflin, a seasoned pastor and musician, opens our eyes to the massive significance of being the type of worshiper God is seeking. Rooted in the gospel of grace and filled with practical application, this book aims to connect Sunday morning to the rest of your life—helping you fulfill your calling to be a true worshiper each and every day.
5. Wisdom in Leadership by Craig Hamilton
This book may be the best book of the year that no one has heard of. The book’s description:
In Wisdom in Leadership Craig Hamilton shares what he has learned through many years of being a student of the Bible and theology; a discerning reader of books on leadership; a keen observer of life and the way things work; and a loving leader of the people God has placed around him. This book is a goldmine of helpful insights for pastors and anyone else with leadership responsibilities in their church. With 78 chapters covering an extensive range of topics, this may well be the only book on church leadership you’ll ever need to read.
6. Happiness by Randy Alcorn
From David Murray’s review:
Tony Reinke said it perfectly—Randy Alcorn’s new book, Happiness, is a “200,000-word encyclopedia on joy.” Its 450-plus pages present the most comprehensive Christian treatment of happiness I know, resulting in one of the most enjoyable, exciting, and exuberant books of theology I’ve read in a long time. It’s one of those rare, potentially life-changing books that has the ability to positively transform our view of God, the Bible, the world, and the Christian life.
This is an impressive work that I haven’t gotten my hands on yet, but I have only heard amazing things. I’m considering reviewing it…would you like to see a review? If so, tell me in a comment. That may help me with my decision ;).
Anyway, here is the description from Amazon:
The NIV Zondervan Study Bible, featuring Dr. D. A. Carson as general editor, is built on the truth of Scripture and centered on the gospel message. An ambitious and comprehensive undertaking, Dr. Carson, with committee members Dr. T. Desmond Alexander, Dr. Richard S. Hess, Dr. Douglas J. Moo, and Dr. Andrew David Naselli, along with a team of over 60 contributors from a wide range of evangelical denominations and perspectives, crafted all-new study notes and other study tools to present a biblical theology of God’s special revelation in the Scriptures. To further aid the readers’ understanding of the Bible, also included are full-color maps, charts, photos and diagrams. In addition, a single-column setting of the Bible text provides maximum readability.
8. A Book on the Culture
Christians need to know how to faithfully engage culture more today than ever. Here are three books that can help you do that:
- Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel by Russell Moore
- We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a Culture Redefining Sex, Marriage, and the Very Meaning of Right and Wrong by Albert Mohler (my brief review)
- Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans and Pornography by David Platt
9. A Christian Biography
Many great new biographies were released this year. Here are a few recommendations, some of which combine biography with teachings of prominent evangelicals.
- The Colson Way: Loving Your Neighbor and Living with Faith in a Hostile World by Owen Strachan
- J.I. Packer: An Evangelical Life by Leland Ryken
- Amy Carmichael: Beauty for Ashes by Iain Murray
- For theology nerds: anything from the Theologians on the Christian Life series from Crossway.
If you’ve made it this far in the post, you may be interested in Tim Challies’ 2016 Reading Challenge.
10. Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity by Tim Challies
I plan to review this book in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, let David Murray’s helpful review describe this book:
…if it is [productivity] tools you’re looking for, buy Do More Better and you’ll never need to buy another productivity book — ever. Having read most of these books, I can assure you that Do More Better is the simplest, most concise, most comprehensive, most practical, and most realistic productivity guide that I’ve encountered. I already use most of the software and systems recommended in the book, but that was only after decades of time-wasting trial and error. Buy Do More Better and save yourself a ton of time and money.
What books would you add?