A couple of Christmases ago
Top Pick—The Reformation Study Bible (Ligonier Ministries, 2017). Ages 12+.
The first Christmas after I became a believer, my parents gave me a leather-bound study Bible with my name printed on it. That Bible served me faithfully throughout high school and college, when it finally fell apart! A one-stop-shop for understanding the Scriptures, a good study Bible should be the core of any Christian’s book collection, and The Reformation Study Bible is my favorite. Its notes are written by top-notch Bible scholars who wholeheartedly agree with our church’s statement of faith. Its articles are short yet rich and the whole thing is put together in a beautiful design. Get this in the English Standard Version (ESV), which is the same excellent translation we use in our worship services and Sunday School classes.
Kids—The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New, Marty Machowski (New Growth Press, 2015). All ages.
“The story begins in the cellar of the old stone cathedral, where Carla and Timothy uncover a life-changing treasure: a carefully wrapped, ancient book known as The Ology. Young readers will discover a tale of adventure, mystery, and wonder, which will lead them to the truth about God, themselves, and the world around them.”
Beautifully illustrated and simply written, The Ology teaches kids (and their parents!) the glorious truths of the Christian faith. Our family has used this for family devotions after supper and receives the official Jones Family Seal of Approval®.
Devotional/Spiritual Growth—Knowing God, J.I. Packer (InterVarsity, 1973). Ages 15+.
The very definition of a classic! First published forty-
“What makes life worthwhile is having a big enough objective, something which catches our imagination and lays hold of our allegiance, and this the Christian has in a way that no other person has. For what higher, more exalted, and more compelling goal can there be than to know God?”
If you want someone you love to catch a clearer, grander, and far more satisfying view of who God is, give them a copy of Knowing God.
Fiction—The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien (Houghton Mifflin, 1937). Ages 13+.
You knew this was going to be on the list, right? Reading should be fun and this one has it all. Set long ago in Middle Earth, a reluctant hobbit sets out on an epic quest to recover a stolen treasure, encountering goblins, magic, grand battles, and a fire-breathing dragon along the way.
Be warned: this exciting read will lead you directly into its sequel, The Lord of the Rings trilogy.