First Thoughts

Summer Reading Recommendations

Summer is an ideal time for rest and recreation. During the hot month of July, many people try to vacation, rest, and change up their normal pace of life.

Perhaps you are looking for an enjoyable book to read before the summer comes to an end.

A good book isn’t just enjoyable; it changes you. Reading often blows fresh wind into your spiritual sails if you are discouraged by a trial or struggling with sin. Even the Apostle Paul knew the value of reading and asked Timothy to bring him books while in prison (2 Timothy 4:13).

Whether you are in prison or by the pool, reading a Godward book is a real gift.

I know people who read voraciously. I have other friends who don’t remember the last time they read a book. Wherever you are on the reading spectrum, I have a modest goal.

Buy one of the books on this list and give at least one chapter a try—just one chapter.

I am confident this is obtainable. It is just one book added to your nightstand and just one chapter on a weekend or weeknight. If this plan seems like an absurdly small goal, then you can achieve it! If this plan seems overwhelming to you, then you need to cut something out of your schedule to be able to breathe a bit more this summer.

Not all books are created equal. Some books should only be browsed, and some should never have been written. The three books listed below won’t waste your time and will increase your faith. They have eternal significance, and I suspect you won’t be able to stop at just one chapter.

1. Hope: Living Confidently in God (31-Day Devotionals for Life) by John Crotts

Who doesn’t need hope these days? This small book won’t disappoint you. My wife, Jenny, and I have been reading one chapter a night out loud before bed. Each chapter is short but is packed full of rich ingredients. Your faith will be enhanced, and discouragement in your heart will be lifted. The book is also centered on the gospel and is a great gift to give unbelievers.

2. The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges

We all talk about grace…but do we really understand it? This readable book has changed thousands of lives. It brings about a significant shift in thinking about grace. It addresses simple yet profound questions such as: How does God view you before and after you sin? How does God think about you on your best and worst days? How do you grow as a Christian?

3. 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible by Robert Plummer

Have you ever been confused when reading the Bible? The Bible can be intimidating and complex! This is my favorite book on how to understand God’s word. Each question is important, and each answer is digestible. The content will deepen your understanding of the Scripture and leave you hungry for more. You also don’t have to read the book cover to cover; you can just read whatever questions interest you.

Whether your summer involves cookouts, beach trips, or the park, I hope you will enjoy a good book that brings you closer to God. May it be as refreshing to you as a cold glass of lemonade!


Sean Perron (M.Div., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as the Associate Pastor.  He is the co-author of three books: Letters to a Romantic: On DatingLetters to a Romantic: On Marriage, and Letters to a Romantic: The First Years. 

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