One of the categories I added to the reading challenge last year was to choose a book from the Intentional By Grace recommended reading list. You can find the 2022 Recommended Reading List here.
I added this category to the reading challenge because I am often asked for book recommendations, and even though I share about the books I’m reading, I thought it would be helpful if I put together a specific list to meet you where you are each year.
I spend a lot of time and prayer compiling this list for you. This isn’t a flippant list I slap together, but a list that I curate based on what I’ve gathered from Intentional By Grace readers throughout the year as needs, curiosities, and desires for growth. Last year, I focused on books that have helped me wrestle with my faith, as well as books to help you navigate some of the cultural issues of our time.
Below is the Intentional By Grace recommended list for 2023.
My goal with this list is to take you deeper into your relationship with Christ and what you believe, as well as give you book recommendations for navigating the cultural issues of our time. These are the books I find myself recommending over and over again to people in my community and here online. I hope you find the list helpful.
Recommended Christian Reading List for 2023
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The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel
This is a book I read for my Spiritual Formation class in seminary last summer. It is a short book, easy to read, but packed full of profound insights that I believe the western church desperately needs to recapture. Sabbath keeping is about creating a rhythm of work and rest that honors your humanity and ushers you into a deep trust and delight in the God who loves you deeply. When we think about living a theologically-informed intentional life, it starts here – from rest. Understanding sabbath rest as a Christian is foundational to all of life and godliness. If you find yourself overwhelmed, lacking deep rest, or anxiety-ridden, this will be a good place to start exploring.
I read Emotionally Healthy Discipleship last year, and it was balm to my soul. As someone who feels called to teach and lead God’s people, this was an important book for me. If you’re leading others, then I highly recommend Emotionally Healthy Discipleship. If, however, you aren’t building discipleship plans in a local church or ministry setting, then I think Emotionally Healthy Spirituality will be a better fit. Learning to engage our emotions is a key part of living as a whole person in the image of God. This will be a great book for anyone, no matter how long you’ve been walking with Jesus.
Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women by Carolyn Custis James
The western church is heavily divided on the roles of women in the home and in the church. In other parts of the world, women still bear heavy burdens of oppression and abuse. Taking a global perspective on women as you engage with the theology of women and your beliefs is imperative to living faithfully what the Bible says. This book goes beyond the prescribed “roles of women” that is often taught in churches and takes you deeper and wider into the global perspective of women and the church. You don’t have to agree with where the author lands, but I do think you’ll grow in your appreciation of the gospel and what Christ truly accomplished for all people, male and female, and the hope He offers to the world.
How Not to Read the Bible by Dan Kimball
When you start digging into the Scriptures, you’ll likely come across some things that make you scratch your head. Many are questioning whether or not the Bible can be trusted, and others are simply trying to make sense of what they believe. I found this book to be a helpful resource when I ventured upon texts that didn’t make sense or were downright offensive to me. This book gives you a strategy for approaching the Scriptures within context and gives practical thoughts to navigating Scripture as a modern Christian.
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation by Ruth Haley Barton
This is another book I read as part of my Spiritual Formation class last summer. All of it is good, but I’m recommending the book solely for the chapter on Discernment. Becoming familiar with God’s voice is what Christians desperately need. It’s not more church programs (as you know). It’s not better community outreaches (as you know). It’s not even better Bible studies (as I know you know). These things are all good, but they are not essential. Hearing and responding to the voice of God is what we long for. The habit of discernment fosters an intimacy with Christ that allows you to become so familiar with His voice that you experience His abiding peace and goodness day in and day out. This book will teach you how to discern the voice of God without any wonky added extras, and it will give you practical help in navigating decisions and establishing your purposeful next steps.
And with that, there’s your 2023 Intentional By Grace recommended reading list. Maybe you’ll read all of them, maybe you’ll read one of them. Whatever you read, I’d love to hear about it.
Join the 2023 Intentional By Grace Reading Challenge
Want to challenge yourself to read more in 2023? I have created the 2023 Intentional By Grace Reading Challenge to help you do just that – challenge you and help you create a better reading life for your Christian growth. Plus, we have a private Facebook community of almost 1,000 women sharing book recommendations and encouragement you don’t want to miss!
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What books would you add to this list for 2023?
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