It's funny how we like to come up with new, cool ways to describe something that has been a part of our lives, well basically forever, in order to make the subject hip and fresh. That's how I look at the word "wordsmith". A wordsmith is basically a writer, but what I love about the term is that the artistic nature of writing is celebrated in its visual imagery.
My grandfather was a Blacksmith and could create all sorts of things out of forging metal. Most of the time they were very practical things and served a particular purpose, like forming horseshoes which he would then shod their feet with, as well as repairing equipment while employed with the railroad.
But, I'm guessing that sometimes he was able to indulge in simply playing with his medium and was able to express his deepest thoughts and struggles by creating something that he could mold and shape to his liking. At least I hope he did.
That's what I love so much about writers. They are able to both present facts, tell stories, describe events, and give specific instruction, while also letting something of themselves slip through the barrier. Some have a thicker barrier than others, but we all have one and writers become wordsmiths when they are able to mold and shape their words to their liking, revealing a bit of themselves as well. We all benefit when this happens; as they share their deepest thoughts and struggles.
The Bible is the greatest example of this because not only do we receive instructions on how to best live our lives, but we also get to see God; to know Him and to discover His deepest thoughts, greatest disappointments, and His hope for something much better for all of us.
Although I think it best to spend most of our time and effort in reading the inspired Word of God, I also know that He has gifted many others to share their insights on various aspects of daily life. Most of all, their biggest goal is, or at least should be, to teach us how to apply the truths found in Scripture that will help us to glorify God since that should be our greatest desire.
In my last post, I talked about a book called "No Little Women" by Aimee Byrd which challenged my process in choosing the books I would invest my time and energy in. She made a great point on how we can often be led astray by false ideologies without being aware that we are following a rogue doctrine. We are easily enticed by philosophies that seem pretty, peaceful, and cause us to see the world and God Himself through the distortion that we feel most comfortable with.
I've had to take a look at the books I'm reading, as well as what and whom I am listening to, and have been comparing the information they are teaching me with what God Himself teaches me in His Word. It's been both humbling and eye-opening. I have found that I have often gotten caught up in the beautiful "wordsmithing" of some writers and have accepted leaking vessels of content (see Jeremiah 2:13).
There are thousands of great, sound books in the Christian marketplace so it's really difficult to sort through it all. But, I have put together a list of resources that I have either read or trust through recommendation through sources that I trust to hold true to Scripture.
The list is not even close to exhaustive and doesn't even contain some of my own favorites, but I found it impossible to list them all. There are a few authors that I would list all of their books and that didn't seem feasible. So I thought I would list them as well.
If you have any that you would recommend, please contact me. But remember, that the words we need to be exposing ourselves to should align with the Bible. There are exceptions of course when we want to study opposing viewpoints which is also valuable, but we need to take great care to not get led astray.
Also please remember, that just because a book is being sold in a Christian bookstore does not mean that it has Biblically sound theology. The Christian marketplace is a crazy place and the business and economics involved can be a bit much. Marketing Jesus, our Savior and Lord, by putting Him on t-shirts, plates, handbags, wall hangings, etc. can be both disrespectful and blasphemous so we need to be careful to use the discernment available through the Holy Spirit as to which products we should be purchasing.
Before I share my list with you, I want to share a portion of a book written by my college Pastor, Doug Wilson called "Worsmithy" since he is one of the most talented wordsmiths I know. Here is his advice: "Read constantly. Read the kind of stuff you wish you could write. Read until your brain creaks. Tolkien said that his ideas sprang up from the leaf mold of his mind: your readings are the trees where your fallen leaves would come from. Mind mulch. Cognitive compost."
Books for Women
Women of the Word—Jen Wilkin
None Like Him—Jen Wilkin
No Little Women—Aimee Byrd
Housewife Theologian—Aimee Byrd
Women and God—Kathleen Nielson
True Feelings: God’s Gracious Glorious Purpose for Our Emotions—Carolyn Mahoney and Nicole Mahoney Whitacre
Alive in Him: How Being Embraced by the Love of Christ Changes Everything—Gloria Fuhrman
The Gospel Comes With a House Key—Rosaria Butterfield
Are Women Human?—Dorothy Sayers
Because He Loves Me—How Christ Transforms our Daily Life—Elyse Fitspatrick
Steadfast Love—Lauren Chandler
The Scars That Shaped Me: How God Meets Us in Suffering—Vaneetha Rendall Risner
Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God—Sheila Walsh
Books on the Family
God’s Very Good Idea: A True Story of God’s Delightfully Different Family—Trillia Newbell and Catalina Echeverri
This Changes Everything—How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years—Jacquelle Crowe
The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in It’s Proper Place—Andy Crouch
The Radical Book for Kids: Exploring the Roots and Shoots of Faith—Champ Thorton
Parenting: The 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family—Paul Tripp
Missional Motherhood—Gloria Fuhrman
Books on Marriage
Sacred Marriage—Gary Thomas
You and Me Forever—Francis and Lisa Chan
The Meaning of Marriage—Tim Keller
The Mingling of Souls—Matt and Laura Chandler
Books About Current Culture
Counter Cultural—David Platt
Erasing Hell—Chan and Sprinkle
Let the Nations Be Glad—John Piper
Making All Things New: Restoring Joy to the Sexually Broken—David Powlison
Recapturing the Wonder: Transcendent Faith in a Disenchanted World—Mike Casper
This Is Our Time: Everyday Myths in Light of the Gospel—Trevin Wax
No God But One: Allah or Jesus? A Former Muslim Investigates the Evidence for Islam and Christianity—Nabeel Qureshi
The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert—Rosaria Butterfield
Openness Unhindered—Rosaria Butterfield
Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions—Greg Koukl
Prosperity? Seeking the True Gospel—Mbugua, Maura, Mbewe, Grudem, Piper
The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World—John Piper
Not a Fan—Kyle Idleman
A Call to Die: A 40 Day Journey of Fasting From the World and Feasting on God
God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Book of Proverbs—Tim & Kathy Keller
Walking With God—Martyn Lloyd Jones
God Is: A Devotional Gide to the Attributes of God—Mark Jones
Books for Spiritual Growth
Follow Me—David Platt
Simply Christian—N.T. Wright
Mere Christianity—C.S. Lewis
The Discipline of Grace—Jerry Bridges
The Knowledge of the Holy—A.W. Tozer
The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness—Tim Keller
The Reason for God—Tim Keller
The Invisible War—Chip Ingrim
Desiring God—John Piper
What Jesus Demands from the World—John Piper
The Imperfective Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together—Jared Wilson
Practicing the Power: Welcoming the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Your Life—Sam Storms
Reading the bible Supernaturally—John Piper
Union With Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God—Rankin Wilbourne
You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit—James K.A. Smith
Habits of Grace—David Mathis
The Things of Earth: Treasuring God by Enjoying His Gifts—Joe Rigney
Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do—Paul Tripp
Knowing Chris—Mark Jones
Writers to Read: Nine Names That Belong on Your Book Shelf—Doug Wilson
Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus—Don Carson
Christian Beliefs—Wayne Grudem
Crazy Love—Francis Chan
Jesus on Every Page—David Murray
Transforming Grace—Jerry Bridges
The Forgotten God—Francis Chan
Blogs to Follow
Risen Motherhood—Amy Gannett
The Gospel Coalition
Revive our Hearts: True Women—Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
Timothy Keller Sermons
The Porch (Young Adults Ministry of Watermark Church)
The Village Church—Matt Chandler
Walk in the Word—James McDonald
Let My People Think—Ravi Zacharias
Walk in the Word—Chip Ingrim
Flower Mound Women’s Bible Study-Jen Wilkin
Deeply Rooted (Beautiful Magazine!)
Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth