2017 Gift Guide for Christian Readers: Books, Studies, and Bibles
READ TIME: 8 MINUTES
Merry Christmas, friends! So glad you clicked the link to check out my recommendations for books. As I was thinking about gift-giving, I asked myself: "What am I gifted to offer to YOU this [busy, frantic, too-much-to-do-and-not-enough-time] holiday season? Oooh! What if I made a gift guide for books?! Gifts you can purchase on Amazon because ain't nobody got time for the mall right now! Gifts that are low-cost AND highly thoughtful. Gifts that can help to BETTER your friends' and families' lives. Now THAT would be helpful during the holidays!
I've linked each book below. Just click the book photo, and it will take you directly to Amazon's website to purchase it, which means you could have all of your Christmas shopping done from the comfort of your seat! For full disclosure, I am an Amazon affiliate* and will receive a commission based on your purchase, with no extra fee tacked on to your bill. I worked hard on this, and I hope it is VERY helpful!
Merry Christmas + happy gifting!
Priska's Gift Guide for Everyone On Your Christmas List
The perfect book for...
This is my favorite book I've ever read...besides the Bible...of course ;-) The premise of Own the Moment is that life comes at us full-speed, and we can either live in the past, live for the future, or own the present moment. As someone who has a 50-year plan, I needed this book to awaken me to the present moment, where people all around me need me TODAY. Now I'm #shook and #woke and all the trendy words that mean I'm so glad I read this book.
**There is 1 more book I'd recommend as a gift for anyone at all. It's the second to last one at the bottom of this page.
The perfect book for...
THE FRIEND WHO WANTS TO GROW SPIRITUALLY EVERY DAY. Jesus Calling is the daily devo my husband has been reading this year, and he loves it! It's an easy book to pick up, read a little note written from God's POV to you. Each daily reading takes about 5 minutes, with a few Scriptures referenced for you to read. **Russell's tip is to read the whole paragraph in the Bible, rather than just the verse. Happy growing! :)
YOUR FAVE GUY. The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge...because guys always want a good challenge. This devo is the one Russell did last year, and it was his first time committing to daily reading of the Word. He thoroughly enjoyed it, and I know your fave guy will, too! Why?? Because Tony Dungy is a LEGEND! He's highly respected, accomplished and humble. His devo uses easy-to-comprehend examples, especially the ones from the football field.
YOUR FAVE KID. It would be amazing to see the next generation have a solid base for understanding physical realities while believing spiritual truths. In fact, don't just get this for your fave kid, get this for your fave parents. Because we need more conversations IN the home about things kids are learning OUTSIDE the home. Help a parent friend out by gifting this book. (Side note: I don't yet own it, so feel free to order 2 and send 1 my way!)
The perfect book for...
THE NEW CHRISTIAN. To be honest, I led a group study of "Jesus Is ___", and I got just as much out of it as anyone. Judah is the funniest pastor I've ever heard, and he makes Jesus' life so relevant to our present culture. Get this book if you want to get back to the roots of your faith -- who Jesus was while on earth, what He stood for and died for, and how we should live.
THE FRIEND WHO IS TIRED OF RELIGION. God loves you with a Crazy Love that doesn't make sense. He had heaven and his Son and created everything and didn't need anything. And yet, He wouldn't accept heaven without YOU. That's crazy. With all your flaws and choosing NOT God, He wanted you. This book tells of the real ways we can know the magnitude of God's love and how, in response, we can live with crazy love for Him. This isn't about doing more good and less bad. This is about living out of the deep well of love that God lavishes on us (1 John 3:1).
THE WOMAN WHO WANTS TO WIELD THE BIBLE WITH POWER. The world tells you that the Bible is just a dead book, but the Bible tells you that it is the Living Word of the Lord God Almighty, alive and active, dividing the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4). I learned so much about the Bible as the SWORD of the Spirit, and how to slay the enemy's lies with it. #slayallday
THE WOMAN WHO WANTS TO SLAY IN HER PRAYER LIFE. "Priska, this is starting to sound violent!", you're thinking. Well, that's what I thought, too, before I read Fervent by Priscilla Shirer. There is a real enemy, whispering lies to you, convincing you that your world is imploding and your loved ones hate you and you'll never get out of this hole of depression. BUT there is a much more powerful God who gives you the secrets to defeating this enemy...and it begins in prayer. My prayer life was weak before, but since doing this study, I am a trained warrior with much greater perception of the spiritual forces around us (Ephesians 6:12), and I know how to slay with fervent prayer.
The perfect book for...
THE "BUT WHY?" QUESTIONER. Dr. Zacharias combines his sobering life story of growing up in India with a wealth of questions & answers to create this book. In it, he breaks down fundamental differences between Jesus Christ and other religions. As a "but why?" questioner, I loved it and plan to re-read it soon.
THE PERSON WHO'S A STICKLER FOR WORD USAGE. I love Jesus. But I also love pizza, and I love my dog. What if I told you that in English, our one word "love" represents 4 majorly different ideas? The Four Loves breaks down the 4 different types of "love": Affection, Friendship, Eros (sounds naughty...it is), and Charity. Which is why the way I love my husband is not the way I love wine...ya know?
THE FRIEND WHO SAYS HE'S GOING TO BACKPACK EUROPE and THE CHRISTIAN FRIEND WHO HATES BORING CHRISTIAN BOOKS. Look, I get it. I love to read, but not everyone does. However, most people would agree their lives would be better if they read more...and maybe spent less time on their phones. So get this book for anyone who would be interested in the real-life account of a guy (Donald) who quit his default life with a guaranteed paycheck and a comfy community to travel the states and find adventures! This is also a great book for the friend who hates his corporate life. Who knows...maybe this book will inspire him to pursue his dreams!
Books About Love
The perfect book for...
THE ENGAGED OR NEWLY MARRIED COUPLE. That couple who is documenting every moment as "Awwwieeee!?! Our first ___". (Guilty!) For all those lovebirds, gift a copy of The Meaning of Marriage. This book BROKE my view of romance and marriage from thinking The Bachelorette was the ultimate dream life to realizing that God designed marriage to glorify Him. If you want to wish your friends a lifetime of love (rare) and a lifelong marriage (rarer), send them this book! I'd even recommend it for my single friends because the best time to prepare for marriage is before you're married.
THE GUY WHO THINKS GIRLS ARE CONFUSING and THE GIRL WHO THINKS GUYS ARE CONFUSING. It doesn't matter if you love someone; it matters if they feel loved. Can I get a witness? Did you know there are 5 primary, distinct languages of love? Your S.O., friends, family are all speaking different languages than you, so how on earth are you supposed to communicate "I love you" to each of them in their own innate language? By reading this book! In it, you will find why men are more touchy and why women like to talk. It's a good read for anyone in any type of relationship with anyone else. So basically for anyone.
The perfect book for...
THE PERSON WHO NEEDS A GOOD LAUGH. Year of Yes was written by the mega-super-crazy talented Shonda Rhimes, the powerhouse behind ABC's entire Thursday night lineup #TGIT! She created Grey's Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder and Scandal. She is HILARIOUS and so personal and real. You'll laugh and you'll cry...from laughing too hard. Buy this book for the friend with the tough job who needs a good laugh and a glass of wine.
THE PERSON WHO NEEDS A GOOD CRY. Levi reveals his deepest pain of losing his daughter, Lenya, when she was only 5 years old. He, a pastor and longtime believer, describes his sorrow, fear, doubt, and anger and how God used his greatest pain to become his greatest message. Throughout heartbreak, God is still there. In the deepest pits, God is there. And through it all, He will bring you into victory. I encourage you to buy this book for the friend/family who has been through an indescribable pain and needs someone who can relate.
YOUR FRIEND WHO NEEDS A MONTH-LONG VACATION. Life can be sooo demanding #amIright?! To keep a healthy balance, to remain peaceful, to live proactively for your goals (not everyone else's), you're going to have to say your best yes, which often looks like "no". Giving your best yes is a way of saying, "I've considered the cost, and I can happily and wholeheartedly commit to it." Don't we all want these types of yeses? Pick up this book for your friend who is doing more than (s)he should, and his/her future healthier self will thank you ;-)
THE DEEP THINKER. The surprisingly predictable backgrounds of the world's historically successful people. The Beatles, Bill Gates, the Gilded Age tycoons. What do they have in common? It's not brilliance or ambition or likeability. Turns out there is another success factor that is rarely talked about, but Malcolm Gladwell uncovers it in this stunning book. While I read it, I was screaming out to Russell, "Can you believe this?!" And then reading half a page out loud, in complete shock that all the while, this success factor was right under our noses. It's thought provoking, so gift this to the deep thinker.
THE MAN'S MAN. (This is my husband's recommendation, because you wouldn't really want me to recommend a manly book.) This is a great book for the manly man in your life -- your dad, husband, bf, son -- who would enjoy the frank, honest, sincere musings from a funny, Texan Mr. Fix-It. Chip talks life, money and success which he balances with wisdom gained over the last few decades. (Sounds like I might would like it, too!)
THE FRIEND WHOSE NEW YEARS RESOLUTION IS TO CONQUER FEAR. Just last week I saw the Broadway play Wicked, the unoffish prequel to The Wizard of Oz. For a brief scene, the Cowardly Lion stammered around and I was reminded of the chronic hesitancy that comes with fear. In this book, Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges us to be our most courageous, vulnerable selves and demonstrates how doing so will lead to our best lives. This is a great book for anyone in any life stage. I believe it will provoke a new understanding of vulnerability regardless of age or experience.
THE PERSON WHO LOVES ANY WOMAN WHATSOEVER. If you know a woman, love a woman, hope to one day love a woman. If you work for a woman or you might employ women someday. If you work with a woman, are raising a young woman, go to school with a woman. If you ever hope that your daughters will have the same opportunities as your sons. If you ever hope that your daughters will get paid the same for doing the same jobs as your sons. Basically anyone...you should buy this book. The thing I love about it (that often alienates me from other feminist lit) is that it's written for ALL people, not just women. And it contains tons of evidential facts. It's written in HOPE of a better future by examining the past (how we got here), the present (is it really unequal?), and the future (HOW to change the inequality). Seriously, everyone and anyone should read this book.
ANYONE. LITERALLY ANYONE. Love Does was gifted to me, and after I read it (within a week), I bought 5 more to gift to other people. It's so easy to read! You can pick up and read any chapter in about 5 minutes. They're short, encouraging, inspiring stories that will warm your heart. Or your mom's heart. Or your colleague's heart. Basically, anyone's heart. And if it could get any better, "All of the proceeds from the book are donated to Love Does to promote human rights and education around the world." You're already "love does-ing" by simply buying the book!
The perfect Bible for...
THE AVID BIBLE STUDENT. This is the Bible I use, and I LOVE it! I switched from the NKJV to the ESV about 2 years ago, and I found the switch pretty easy. I wanted to move to the English Standard Version so when I teach in the future, it's easily understood. I also wanted a Bible I could write a bunch of notes in: things like how to apply a certain verse to my everyday life, cross-references to other verses, and reminders of things to focus on. This Bible provides half of each page for writing your own notes. I've recommended it to several of my friends, and now I'm sharing it with you! Happy studying! :)
Here's the thing. Giving a book is like giving glasses that show a new world, a new perspective. It's thoughtful and meaningful, but let me also recommend that you pair it with a nice bottle of wine or the recipient's favorite candy or a cupcake from one of those fancy cupcake boutiques.
It'll be a gift they are sure to love and remember!
If you have any other people on your list that I could recommend a book for, please leave a description in the comments section below.
P.S. Here are a few books I've bought recently and are still on my list to read. I'm sure a few of them will be on this gift guide next year!
*Disclosure: Priska Jordan is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.