Skip to content ↓

New and Notable Christian Books for May 2023

Though May has come and gone, it proved to be a good month for Christian book releases. I sorted through the stacks that landed on my desk and arrived at this list of new and notables. In each case I’ve provided the editorial description to give you a sense of what it’s all about. I hope there’s something here that catches your eye!

ESV Teen Study Bible. The new ESV Teen Study Bible is targeted at teens from 14 to 18 years of age and is available in a variety of cover styles and treatments. “Our world today pushes an endless number of distractions and temptations, which is why having faithful and accessible biblical resources for teens is more important than ever. Edited by pastor Jon Nielson, the ESV Teen Study Bible features numerous study and resource materials–including 12,000 accessible study notes adapted from the ESV Concise Study Bible, 365 devotions adapted from God’s Great Story by Jon Nielson, and 200 sidebars defining key doctrines and helping teens apply Scripture to their own lives. It also has full-page introductions for each biblical book, more than 150 maps and illustrations, an extensive glossary and concordance, and over a dozen topical articles. These features help facilitate deep engagement with the Scriptures, impacting the minds, hearts, and lives of teen followers of Christ.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Knowing God’s Truth: An Introduction to Systematic Theology by Jon Nielson. And speaking of Jon Nielson, here’s another new resource with his name on it. Note that there is both an optional workbook and DVD to go with it. “When you consider theology, you may think of confusing, lofty terminology that only concerns scholars and pastors. But in reality, theology is for anyone who wants to better understand God and learn more about the Bible. Theology—the study of God and his word—should be personal, accessible, and worshipful. Pastor Jon Nielson has written Knowing God’s Truth, a part of the Theology Basics suite, to make systematic theology clear, meaningful, and practical for those looking for a highly accessible guide to studying God. In this introduction, Nielson defines systematic theology as “theological study done in a highly organized, topical way” and covers the 12 basic categories—Scripture, man, sin, church, and more. He also helps readers learn to apply theology in their everyday lives by integrating invitations to pray and meditate on what they’ve learned.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Unmissable Church: Why You Need Church and Church Needs You by Richard Sweatman & Antony Barraclough. “Modern life is a constant struggle between competing priorities, and for Christians especially so on Sundays. How can we juggle all the demands on our time and still make church a priority? Why is there sometimes such a disconnect between the Bible’s captivating vision for church and our experience of it? In Unmissable Church, Antony Barraclough and Richard Sweatman combine meticulous research, practical advice and pastoral warmth. They explore the reasons why it’s sometimes difficult to make it to church and what we can do about it. The issues of broken relationships, conflicting priorities, health concerns and more are treated with empathy and encouragement. Whether you are a leader looking to understand what’s keeping people away from church, a regular attender who wants to encourage others to gather more often, or someone who finds weekly attendance a challenge, this book will bring you greater clarity and perspective.” (Buy it at Amazon or Matthias Media)

Susannah Spurgeon: Lessons for a Life of Joyful Eagerness in Christ by Mary Mohler. “Have you heard of Spurgeon? Preacher, evangelist and stalwart patriarch of the Modern Western Church today. If the cliché ‘behind every great man is a strong woman’, is true, then Susannah Spurgeon remains one of the matriarchs of the same tradition. Spurgeon was the bone companion of her husband. As a pastoral assistant, as Charles’ wife and support through trials, this woman’s biography has been a long time coming. Mary Mohler has gathered information on Susie from sources spanning letters, devotionals and biographies. The result is a thoughtful, sympathetic and endearing epitaph to a sister in Christ, whose voice can no longer be ignored. Mohler allows room for academics, mothers, daughters and wives to dwell on Spurgeon’s joyful eagerness in Christ.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Do Not Be True to Yourself: Countercultural Advice for the Rest of Your Life by Kevin DeYoung. “Most speeches addressed to high school and college students follow a similar theme: march to the beat of your own drum. This may sound encouraging on the surface, but Scripture exhorts believers to submit their lives to the will of God, not their own desires. Christian students need gospel-centered truth to guide them on their journey toward independence. In this collection of inspiring sermons and graduation speeches, Kevin DeYoung delivers a motivational, biblical call to young people: serve God faithfully—and if necessary, counter-culturally—in the next season of your life. Do Not Be True to Yourself includes practical advice for cultivating a Christ-centered worldview in every area of adult life, including relationships, work, church participation, and spiritual growth, making it a transformational resource for mentoring students.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Called to Be Holy: The Discipline of the Church by Jeremy Walker. “Discipline is not a dirty word. Any group which is united and effective embraces discipline to promote the health and strength of the group as a whole and its survival over time. The same is true of the church of Jesus Christ, serving and striving together so that Christ is formed in every member. This booklet is a concise summary of the principles and the practices Christ has given for the holiness of his church. Jeremy Walker skillfully explains the assumptions that lie behind church discipline, grounded in the identity of the church and activity of the church of God. The text looks at the God-ordained purposes of corrective discipline, and the reasons why a church might have to pursue this course. Called to Be Holy offers practical advice as to how such discipline ought to be carried out in the church of Jesus Christ, it speaks to the nature of church discipline, in its more positive and negative aspects, and it identifies love as the primary motive behind any discipline in the church. Ultimately, the church of the living God needs to respond righteously when there is sin in her midst. God has not left us alone in this! Wisely and graciously, the Head of the church has told us how and why the church must discipline unrepentant sin.” (Buy it at Amazon)

Christ and the Culture Wars: Speaking for Jesus in a World of Identity Politics by Benjamin Chang. “In our modern world the gospel of Jesus is seen by many less as good news for all humanity, and more as the bigoted edicts of a bygone era. Benjamin Chang explores the stories of the revolution, tracing the trajectories of four of the biggest social justice movements—feminism, racial justice, gay pride and the trans movement—before looking at the ways Christians usually engage with these arenas of cultural conflict (mirror, argue, ignore) and identifying a better way forward. Rather than hunkering down in our own identity tribes, arguing against other groups, or ignoring what is going on in the culture around us, Chang encourages Christians to find ways to speak for Jesus. He urges us to look at the way we tell stories, and consider whether we can re-capture hearts in our culture by telling a more powerful counter-narrative. He gives us language to use to speak about the cross in our world of identity politics. We will see that the gospel resonates with a culture when it speaks the language of the culture.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Short of Glory: A Biblical and Theological Exploration of the Fall by Mitchell L. Chase. “When looking around at the world, it is easy to see that all is not as it should be. This brokenness within the world and humanity finds its roots in mankind’s rebellion against God. The fall, as recorded in Genesis 3, sets the stage for creation’s need for redemption—ultimately found in Jesus Christ. In this book, pastor and professor Mitchell Chase argues that in order to understand the fall and recognize its profound impact on later Scripture and the world today, Christians must first understand Genesis 3. Chase identifies themes found in Genesis 3—temptation, shame, messianic hope, and more—and shows how they reverberate throughout the rest of the storyline of Scripture. Understanding Adam and Eve’s fall is crucial to understanding the world as it currently is and the need for redemption through Jesus.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Raising Confident Kids in a Confusing World: A Parent’s Guide to Grounding Identity in Christ by Ed Drew. “As our children grow up, they hear many conflicting messages about who they are. They are told that they can define themselves by their achievements or popularity, or by how they feel, and that sexuality, morality and gender are just questions of personal choice. Too often, Christian parents feel nervous and intimidated about engaging with their children on the subjects of bodies, gender, sexuality and their sense of self. This warm and realistic book helps parents to show their children that the Bible has better answers than our culture on these topics, which are neither surprising nor confusing to our creator God. Full of biblical truth, practical wisdom and discussion questions, this book will inspire and equip parents to help their children find their identity in being made and loved by Jesus. An identity based on God’s love will help Children to have both a positive and a realistic view of themselves, and it will give them confidence to live by faith in a secular world.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Bulwarks of Unbelief: Atheism and Divine Absence in a Secular Age by Joseph Minich. “Millions of people in the West identify as atheists. Christians often respond to this reality with proofs of God’s existence, as though rational arguments for atheism were the root cause of unbelief. In Bulwarks of Unbelief, Joseph Minich argues that a felt absence of God, as experienced by the modern individual, offers a better explanation for the rise in atheism. Recent technological and cultural shifts in the modern West have produced a perceived challenge to God’s existence. As modern technoculture reshapes our awareness of reality and belief in the invisible, it in turn amplifies God’s apparent silence. In this new context, atheism is a natural result. And absent of meaning from without, we have turned within. Christians cannot escape this aspect of modern life. Minich argues that we must consciously and actively return to reality. If we reattune ourselves to God’s story, reintegrate the whole person, and reinhabit the world, faith can thrive in this age of unbelief.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Worthy: Living in Light of the Gospel by Sinclair Ferguson. “While Jesus offers forgiveness for believers who sin, Scripture makes it clear that Christians are to pursue obedience and holiness. So what does it mean to walk in a manner that’s “worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Phil. 1:27), and how should that look in the life of a Christ follower? In this short, accessible guide, theologian Sinclair Ferguson explains the importance of living worthy of the gospel, why the principle is often forgotten, and how it’s cultivated. Clarifying the difference between biblical obedience and legalism, Ferguson exhorts believers to pursue Christlikeness, offering practical examples from Scripture. The second book of the Growing Gospel Integrity series, Worthy helps Christians, students, pastors, and those preparing for ministry to live as citizens of heaven rather than citizens of the world.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (April 23)

    A La Carte: Climate anxiety paralyzes, gospel hope propels / Living what God has written / How should I engage my rebellious child? / Satan hates your pastor / How to navigate our spiritual highs / The art of extemporaneous preaching / and more.

  • The Path to Contentment

    The Path to Contentment

    I wonder if you have ever considered that the solution to discontentment almost always seems to be more. If I only had more money I would be content. If I only had more followers, more possessions, more beauty, then at last I would consider myself successful. If only my house was bigger, my influence wider,…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (April 22)

    A La Carte: Why my shepherd carries a rod / When Mandisa forgave Simon Cowell / An open mind is like an open mouth / Marriage: the half-time report / The church should mind its spiritual business / Kindle deals / and more.

  • It Begins and Ends with Speaking

    It Begins and Ends with Speaking

    Part of the joy of reading biography is having the opportunity to learn about a person who lived before us. An exceptional biography makes us feel as if we have actually come to know its subject, so that we rejoice in that person’s triumphs, grieve over his failures, and weep at his death.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (April 20)

    A La Carte: Living counterculturally during election season / Borrowing a death / The many ministries of godly women / When we lose loved ones and have regrets / Ethnicity and race and the colorblindness question / The case for children’s worship services / and more.

  • The Anxious Generation

    The Great Rewiring of Childhood

    I know I’m getting old and all that, and I’m aware this means that I’ll be tempted to look unfavorably at people who are younger than myself. I know I’ll be tempted to consider what people were like when I was young and to stand in judgment of what people are like today. Yet even…