Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.

Tim Challies

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Site News

November 05, 2015

I have been blogging at Challies.com on a daily basis for over 12 years. In that time I have written thousands of articles, reviewed hundreds of books, prepared a collection of graphics and infographics, and written several books and e-books. All the while I have attempted to keep my focus on issues that are of particular interest to Christians. In the last year, visitors to the site read nearly 20 million articles.

Over the years, many people have asked how they can lend their support to this work. That is where Patreon can help. Patreon provides a means of linking content producers (like me) with supporters (like you).

Recently, I made the decision to write on a full-time basis. And I would like to ask you to prayerfully consider supporting me by becoming a patron. By supporting me with a monthly gift, you will be able to be part of this ongoing work. Not only will you support the work, but you will also gain a voice through my patron-only stream at Patreon. Funds donated will be used to support my family and to help create great content or to otherwise improve, support, and enhance Challies.com. In one way or another they will all be used to allow me to continue to do what I have been doing for these past 12 years.


As an expression of gratitude, I will attempt to provide occasional gifts and deals to supporters. I am beginning by offering all $5 per month donors a download of the excellent video series Clarifying the Bible. I have a few other little gifts lined up in the months ahead.

Please understand that I intend for Challies.com to always remain entirely free. In fact, patrons like you will help ensure that it always remains that way.

And please understand that I do not want anyone to feel even the least bit of pressure to support my work. Some people have told me that they would like to support the work, and I am glad to offer them this means of doing so. But please, feel no pressure.

Here are some specific projects I hope to begin or continue as funding becomes available:

  • Minor design refresh. I have a new logo to integrate and have mocked up a few design changes that will improve the site’s usability while also addressing some common complaints from users.
  • Visual Theology. I have many ideas for new Visual Theology posters and infographics and would like to create and launch as many of them as possible in the near future. We plan to launch a site dedicated to Visual Theology and have new or revised infographics coming that deal with the Trinity, Reformed theology, the ordo salutis, and many other important topics.
  • The productivity book. I hope to self-publish a book on Christian productivity in the very near future.
  • Release free e-books. There are several blog series that I would like to complete, edit, and package up as free e-books.
  • Fix bugs. The site has had a few significant bugs that have been around for years. Increased funding will allow my programmer to find and squash the bugs.

You can learn more, see the perks that come with varying levels of support, and sign up by visiting my Patreon page.

April 01, 2015

This year I am excited to be able to offer a summer internship program through Challies.com. This program is available to high school students from around the world. All communications will be done remotely, which means you are eligible to apply and participate as long as you have a connection to the Internet, the appropriate computer equipment, and are able to attend online meetings. The internship will require a commitment of 20 hours per week and will extend from July 6 until August 28. There are 3 positions available.

The internship will focus on training in worldview and theology, as well as on developing writing and communication skills.


  • Take interactive online courses focusing on worldview and theology.
  • Communicate with other interns through online forums.
  • Participate in a weekly video roundtable with me and the other interns to discuss and apply the material you have learned.
  • Read supplemental material on worldview, theology, and the art and craft of writing.
  • Write non-fiction essays and articles on a variety of topics.
  • Participate in regular video meetings with me to discuss what you have learned and where you hope to see continued growth.
  • Earn a small stipend ($1,000 or international equivalent).


This internship is available to teenaged boys or girls…

  • …who are Christians and actively involved in their local church.
  • …who are ordinary. I am not looking for only the childhood prodigies, but for normal teens who want to impact their churches, families, and communities for God’s glory.
  • …who have completed 9th, 10th, or 11th grades (or international equivalent), or who have just completed 12th grade, but not yet started college or university.
  • …who have an interest in non-fiction writing and who would like to improve in written communication.
  • …who have an interest in worldview and theology.
  • …who are willing and able to make the full 8-week commitment and are available as per the daily schedule below.
  • …whose parents have given their consent.
  • …who have access to a computer, the Internet, a webcam, and a Skype account.
  • …who successfully complete an application and interview.

An intern may take no more than 2 weeks of vacation during the program, and will be expected to keep up (or very quickly catch up) with work missed.


Interns are expected to commit 20 hours per week to the program, which includes the learning, reading, communicating, and writing components. Any “stretch goals” you choose to pursue may have to be completed in addition to your 20-hour commitment.

Interns are required to dedicate the following days to the program. (Note: These times are according to the intern’s local time zone.)

  • Tuesdays from 9 AM to 5 PM
    • Morning: Watch video lectures, complete coursework, communicate with other participants through online forums, write articles and essays.
    • Afternoon: Participate in a video meeting with me; complete supplemental reading.
  • Fridays from 9 AM to 5 PM
    • Morning: Watch video lectures, complete coursework, communicate with other participants through online forums.
    • Afternoon: Participate in a video conference with me and the other interns; complete supplemental reading.

Interns must participate in weekly video meetings and conferences at the following times:

  • Tuesday afternoon (various times, Eastern Standard Time)
  • Friday afternoon (3-4 PM Eastern Standard Time)

Course List

Interns will complete the following courses (using Ligonier Ministries’ Connect platform):

The Inerrancy and Sufficiency of God’s Word by Stephen Nichols (6 Lessons). “Can we really know God from a book? Is the Bible reliable? How can we know for sure? Join Dr. Stephen Nichols in Doctrine of Scripture as he carefully answers these crucial questions.”

Christian Worldview by R.C. Sproul (10 Lessons). “Do you have a biblical worldview? As Christians, we would like to believe so. Upon closer examination however, we discover just how much secularism has infiltrated our thinking. Join Dr. R.C. Sproul as he exposes the falsehood of non-Christian worldviews, and demonstrates that only Christianity answers life’s ultimate questions.”

Introduction to Reformed Theology by R.C. Sproul (12 Lessons). “You’ve heard of Reformed theology, but you’re not certain what it is. If you want a full explanation, not a simplistic one, join Dr. R.C. Sproul as he explains how Reformed theology reveals just how awesome the grace of God is.”

Reading List

  • Required Reading
    • What Is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert
    • Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey
    • Is God Anti-Gay? by Sam Allberry
    • On Writing Well by William Zinsser
  • Optional (“Stretch”) Reading
    • Why Pro-Life? by Randy Alcorn
    • Counter Culture by David Platt
    • Wordsmithy by Douglas Wilson
    • The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges

All books and courses will be provided to the interns free of cost.


  • Preparation (Before July 6)
    • Watch: “When Worlds Collide” and “I’ve Got Half a Mind Too”
  • Week 1
    • Coursework: The Doctrine of Scripture, lectures 1-4, plus all assignments and online discussions
    • Reading: What Is the Gospel?, chapters 1-4
    • Writing: Why Does the Gospel Matter?
    • Roundtable: Introductions and discussion of The Doctrine of Scripture.
    • Meeting: Introductions and goals
    • Stretch Goal: Counter Culture, chapters 1-4
  • Week 2
    • Coursework: The Doctrine of Scripture, lectures 5-6 and Christian Worldview, lectures 1-2, plus all assignments and online discussions
    • Reading: What Is the Gospel?, chapters 5-8.
    • Writing: Why Should I Obey the Bible?
    • Roundtable: Online Q&A and discussion with a special guest (Topic: the gospel)
    • Meeting: Growth and goals
    • Stretch Goal: Counter Culture, chapters 5-8
  • Week 3
    • Coursework: Christian Worldview, lectures 3-6, plus all assignments and online discussions
    • Reading: Total Truth, chapters 1-4
    • Writing: Christianity: Truth or truths?
    • Roundtable: Christian Worldview and Total Truth
    • Meeting: Growth and goals
    • Stretch Goal: Counter Culture, chapters 9-10, plus Wordsmithy by Douglas Wilson, chapters 1-3
  • Week 4
    • Coursework: Christian Worldview, lectures 7-10, plus all assignments and online discussions
    • Reading: Total Truth, chapters 5-8
    • Writing: Memoir
    • Roundtable: The Cohesive, Coherent Christian Worldview
    • Meeting: Growth and goals
    • Stretch Goal: Christian Worldview, optional lessons 1 & 2
  • Week 5
    • Coursework: Introduction to Reformed Theology, lectures 1-4, plus all assignments and online discussions
    • Reading: Total Truth, chapters 9-13
    • Writing: Renewing Your Mind
    • Roundtable: Online Q&A and discussion with a special guest (Topic: Reformed Theology)
    • Meeting: Growth and goals
    • Stretch Goal: Wordsmithy by Douglas Wilson, chapters 4-7
  • Week 6
    • Coursework: Introduction to Reformed Theology, lectures 5-8, plus all assignments and online discussions
    • Reading: Is God Anti-Gay? by Sam Allberry
    • Writing: Total Depravity and Me
    • Roundtable: Reformed Theology and Christian Worldview
    • Meeting: Growth and goals
    • Stretch Goal: Why Pro-Life? by Randy Alcorn
  • Week 7
    • Coursework: Introduction to Reformed Theology lectures 9-12, plus all assignments and online discussions
    • Reading: On Writing Well, chapters 1-10
    • Writing: What the Bible Says About Sexuality
    • Roundtable: Online Q&A and discussion with a special guest (Topic: Homosexuality)
    • Meeting: Growth and goals
    • Stretch Goal: The Discipline of Grace, chapters 1-6
  • Week 8
    • Coursework: “Why Does the Universe Look So Old?,” “The Rock of Ages and the Age of Rocks,” “Pagan Sexuality,” and “Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert,” plus all assignments and online discussions
    • Reading: On Writing Well, chapters 11-14, 20-25
    • Writing: The Gospel and Homosexuality (or The Gospel and Abortion)
    • Roundtable: Salt and Light
    • Meeting: Growth and future goals
    • Stretch Goal: The Discipline of Grace, chapters 7-13

(Note: This syllabus is subject to change.)

History & Rationale

I first began to consider creating an internship program while observing my son in his 9th grade public school. He professes faith and is often called upon to stand for what he believes, but both he and I see the need for continued learning and development. For that reason I decided to invest in his training through the summer. As I created the program, I saw value in opening it to other participants, both for his benefit and for theirs. My son will be part of this internship, and is not included in the three additional spots (though he, too, will be required to complete the application and all the coursework).


There is a two-step application process. The first step must be completed by April 15. All applicants will be chosen and confirmed by May 15.

Step One

To be an applicant you must:

  • Prepare a 3-4 minute video in which you briefly describe how the Lord saved you
  • Complete the Application Form (Note: I am not longer accepting applications)

As part of this first step, you will need to record a video of yourself no more than 4 minutes in length telling how you became a Christian. Video production quality is irrelevant—only the content matters. I am the only one who will watch these videos, and they will not be made public. You must upload the video to a location where I can access it (such as YouTube), but you may make it unlisted (so only people who know the link can access it).

After reviewing the videos and applications, I will choose some candidates to proceed to step two. 

Step Two

  • Provide a letter of recommendation from a pastor or elder at your current church
  • Provide parental consent to participate
  • Complete an online (Skype) interview with me

Following the interviews, I will select 3 candidates to serve as summer interns.

Are you interested in participating? Then speak to your parents, and complete step one above. This step must be completed by April 15.


You may address questions to interns@challies.com. I will attempt to answer emails promptly.

September 17, 2014

I would like to ask for your help, and all it will take is about 2 minutes of your time. Would you mind lending a hand?

I have been at this blogging thing for a long time, but that certainly does not mean that I've got it all figured out. Today I am asking for your help as I try to understand who my readers are and how I can best serve them. All it takes is filling out this [anonymous] form, and that shouldn't take you longer than 2 minutes.

(If you do not see a form or are reading via email, try refreshing the page; if that doesn't make it appear, simply click here.)

August 01, 2014

For many years now I have relied on advertising to cover the costs associated with hosting and maintaining this site. As the site has grown (there were well over a million visits last month!) I have relied on several different forms of advertising to do this. Almost a year ago I decided I would abandon the model that places a long series of banner ads all over the site and move instead to sponsorships—Christian companies or ministries that will exclusively sponsor the site for a week at a time. My friends at Church Plant Media asked to sponsor the site for several months and that made it very easy on me. Their period has now come to an end, so you are going to begin to see new sponsors each week.

Here is how this will look to you, the reader. Each Monday I will tell you who is sponsoring the site for that week, and they will provide an article introducing themselves, their product, or their service. I am being extremely careful in vetting these sponsors and trust that each one of them will be both relevant and theologically-sound. The sponsor will also provide a banner ad that will appear in the side’s sidebar (in the body of the article if you are reading on a mobile device) or at the bottom of the article if you are reading via RSS or email. These articles will be clearly marked as “sponsored” since they are written from an advertiser to you. Here is what you will see:


It is that simple!

As for you, I would appreciate it if you would at least consider reading those sponsored posts that look interesting to you, and clicking on the banners that seem relevant. I am hoping sponsorships will prove to be a means for you to learn about products and services that can be very helpful to you.

If, on the other hand, you are an advertiser interested in sponsoring the site, please contact me for details. Spots are filling very fast, so don’t wait too long!

September 22, 2013

There was a time in the history of this site when I would debut a new design every year or two. I was a web designer in those days, and often used the site as a kind of laboratory for new ideas and new methods of programming. But as the site grew and I worked my way out of web design, I gave that up and focused more on the content.

But, many years later, I’ve finally moved to a new design. This is easily the most significant update in the history of the site. From the moment I first began considering an overhaul, I wanted this to be a design that would help you, the reader. I wanted to emphasize simplicity and reduce clutter. And I think I have a much better idea of the site’s identity and the way you like to use it than I did when I last created a design. As much as anything, we have seen the rise of mobile devices and the old site simply did not function well on iPhones, iPads and all those other small devices.

Here are a few of the most significant changes:

Book Reviews. I know that book reviews are one of the primary reasons people visit this site. I put a fair bit of effort into designing a new book review section and formatting book reviews in a more helpful way.

Book Recommendations. I built an entirely new section of the site that offers book recommendations on a wide variety of topics. This is a section that I will be continually adding to.

July 25, 2012

This is just a quick note about a section of my site that, if you didn’t already know about it, might come in handy for you. I have recently put quite a lot of work into making it more organized and, therefore, more helpful.

I read and review quite a few books, which may well be one of the reasons you visit this site (or one of the reasons you first began to visit). Whether you’re looking for a recent review or wanting to read some of the ones I’ve done in the past, there’s a page on my site that makes that very easy (scrolling through pages of old blog posts not required!).

That would be my book reviews page. At the top of the page you’ll see featured slots for the top reviews for this month, this year, and all-time. Scroll down just a little bit and you can browse through every review I’ve done either by category (Fiction, Bestsellers, Christian Living, Theology, etc.) or by author.

Hopefully the features on this page will keep you from having to scan through too much other content and give you more time to actually read the reviews, or, better yet, the books themselves! Of course if you are looking for a specific book you can always use the search functionality that is at the top of each page.

July 21, 2012

The house keys have been passed to our house-sitters, the dog has been sent to a pet penitentiary, and I am on vacation. I have fled the city (and the country, for that) with the wife and kids so we can spend a week with my parents, brother, sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews and miscellaneous others. We will be braving the Virginia heat and pretty much taking over a state park.

While we are away we intend to avoid any kind of connectivity to the Internet and pretty much every device that looks or functions like a computer. This is getting more and more difficult to do and required quite a lot of Pharisaical negotiation. You don’t realize how much you depend on electronic devices and Internet connections until you consider getting rid of it all. Someone should write a book about that.

Here is what we came up with:

  • GPS: Permitted. Reading a map is so last century, so we’ll rely on the Garmin to get us where we’re going. Plus, how else can we stop at every Chick-Fil-A between here and there?
  • Mobile Phone: Permitted en route, forbidden on location. Our van isn’t getting any younger, so I’ve got AAA on speed dial. Once I get to the park I’m turning it off.
  • Computer/iPad: Forbidden. If I want to write (which you know I will) I’m going to have to rely on, um, what do they call it…Paper!
  • Internet: Forbidden. Of course there’s no wifi in the state park and I’ve got no data plan in the US, but I will still have to avoid the temptation to drive to a McDonald’s just to get in a quick email fix.
  • Kindle: Permitted. With five readers in the family, we’d have to pull a trailer full of books if we didn’t bring our Kindles.
  • iPods: Permitted en route, forbidden on location. The kids saved up their paper route money and bought iPods. They can listen to music and play Dragonvale in the car, but can’t use the iPods once we arrive.

Even though I will be offline, there will be plenty of new content here at the blog. Monday and Tuesday will bring a really interesting interview with R.C. Sproul; you won’t want to miss it. Later in the week there will be a word about the next Reading Classics Together (you’ll want to join in the fun this time), a book review and, of course, Free Stuff Fridays. There will be no A La Carte until I return. See you on the other side of this self-imposed blackout!

April 11, 2012

In April of 2010 I announced a program called Friends of the Blog. With the costs of maintaining this blog on the rise, Friends of the Blog allowed readers to support the site while receiving tangible benefits. The program worked out very well and for that reason I renewed it for 2011 and again for 2012. And that leads me to announce Friends of the Blog 3.

This year builds on what I’ve done in the past two years which means that  the benefits from the program will be given to Friends over the next 6 months or so. They will include books, music and gift certificates along with a couple of exclusive draws and giveaways. Some people remarked last year that they weren’t sure when the benefits were available to them, so I’ll seek to send out email reminders throughout the year to make sure you all get full value for your money.

So here is some of what Friends of the Blog will receive:

  • A $15 gift certificate for Westminster Books
  • A $15 gift certificate for The Good Book Company
  • A $15 gift certificate for ChristianAudio
  • Discount and free shipping codes for CBD (Christian Book Distributors)
  • A couple of free books and/or ebooks
  • Free music
  • A free video teaching series from R.C. Sproul
  • Deals, specials, coupons, etc
  • Other things to be announced over the course of the year

I think you’ll see right away that there is a lot of value there—$150 at least and probably much more than that. And we’re just getting started. This is a year-long effort and I hope to add some more things over the course of the year. When you sign up, you get everything there plus whatever else comes in over the year. And all the while, you’ll be supporting the costs associated with hosting, maintaining and overseeing the site. If you sign up (or renew) in the next month, you could also win one of two Kindles.

The cost remains the same as the last two years—just $39.

If you joined Friends of the Blog in the past year, your account should be automatically renewed on the anniversary of the date you signed up. And if you didn’t join last year, well, why don’t you consider it this year? It will prove well worth it, I’m sure.

You can get all the details at Friends of the Blog. Check it out and join the club!