Now Reading
Eight Books That Will Expand Your Faith This Year

Eight Books That Will Expand Your Faith This Year

As we step into a new year, many of us seek to deepen and expand our faith, looking for guidance and inspiration to navigate life’s complexities. In this pursuit, books can be our most profound companions, offering wisdom, insight and a sense of connection. Whether you’re well-versed in religious texts or just beginning your spiritual journey, there’s plenty of books to choose from that will help you strengthen your faith and grow closer to both God and the Church.

Here’s eight books to get you started:

The Cost of Discipleship
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Have we considered the cost of following Jesus? Bonhoeffer challenges us to imagine a faith that is about something bigger than our own personal selves, inviting us into the shared life of Christ’s body, the Church. Bonhoeffer lays the foundation for a life of faith that is rooted in God’s transformation of our lives and the life of creation as a whole.

Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
by N.T. Wright

In many parts of evangelical Christianity, there is a strong temptation to focus on the hereafter, our eternal life with God. N.T. Wright challenges us to fight this temptation and focus on living faithfully in the present, bearing witness to God’s healing and reconciling work today. The good news of the Gospel is not just about the future, but is indeed good news for all humanity in this present age as well.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

While not strictly speaking a Christian book, Brené Brown puts her finger on one of the virtues that lies at the very heart of who Jesus is—vulnerability. Brown invites us into the way of vulnerability, which is the way of Christ-like love. Like Bonhoeffer, she reminds us that our faith and life must be about more than our own comfort or security; we must learn to take risks for sake of loving others.

Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism
by Drew Hart

Since the earliest days of slavery, through the Jim Crow era and into the criminal justice system today, the United States has been formed by its long history of racism. Our churches are not immune to this history. Hart clearly and succinctly narrates the story of how the deep brokenness of race in America has shaped our churches today and orients us in the direction that we will need to go in order to find God’s healing.

Trouble I’ve Seen challenges us to lament our past, to recognize the depth of racism in ourselves and our churches, and to change our ways, beginning to move toward the rich fellowship that God intends for all people.

The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver

Kingsolver’s well-crafted novel brings us face to face with vital questions about what it means to proclaim the gospel in a country that is not our home. To what extent are we teaching the way of Jesus, or to what extent are we teaching a gospel in which Jesus is mixed up with the culture of our native land? Set in the Belgian Congo in the early 1960s, the Price family, who are Baptist missionaries there, must come to grips with these questions as they learn the realities of this central African land.

Silence: A Novel by Shusaku Endo

Recently adapted into a film by Martin Scorsese, this novel wrestles with similar questions as The Poisonwood Bible, but in a very different era: seventeenth-century Japan. The book’s title implies one of its central questions: How do we know what it means to follow Jesus, when God so often seems to be silent? Father Rodrigues, a Portuguese missionary, faces the dilemma of whether it is better to adhere rigidly to one’s Christian faith, when publicly renouncing it would save the lives and suffering of other Christians.

A Generous Orthodoxy
by Brian McLaren

Brian McLaren sketches the contours of a Christian faith that has a deep respect for tradition, but yet generously (or, one could say, charitably) applies the virtues of that tradition to the challenges of the present. This course steers clear both of tossing tradition to the wind and of being so tightly bound to tradition that we cannot respond faithfully and courageously to the realities of our times. For a brief but insightful introduction to the concept of generous orthodoxy, I recommend Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast episode of the same name.

The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren

A modern classic, Rick Warren’s book is a 40-day spiritual journey that aims to help readers understand their purpose and how it fits into God’s broader plan. It’s a transformative work that challenges and inspires individuals to think about the significance of their lives in relation to God’s intentions. You may have read this book when it initially came out, but it’s always worth a re-read and a great way to kick off a new year.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

© 2023 RELEVANT Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll To Top

You’re reading our ad-supported experience

For our premium ad-free experience, including exclusive podcasts, issues and more, subscribe to

Plans start as low as $2.50/mo