12 Books to Read in 2017 + Link up

One of the questions I get asked a lot is regarding what books I recommend. I compiled a list of books I think every Christian woman should read but before we get too far into January, I thought to share a few selections for the new year.

Some of these books I’ve already read and want to re-read; others I hope to enjoy for the first time. Still others are ones I’ve read and simply want to share with you because they are too good not to. I hope you’ll find something that resonates with you!


Without further ado, here are 12 Books for 2017:


Hope Prevails by Dr. Michelle Bengston

I’ve learned that when God gives us a message to share, He allows it to be tested. That’s certainly the case with Dr. Michelle Bengston. Michelle wrote this book from her years of experience as a Neuropsychologist and shortly after the book released, Michelle’s husband received a cancer diagnosis.

It’s been a very difficult journey they’ve walked the past few months and I’ve watched Michelle respond over and over again with one default reaction: HOPE. Though salted with fire, the message of Michelle’s book has endured strong and true: Hope Prevails.


I Am by Michele Cushatt

I’m reading this book now, as part of Michele’s (not to be confused with the Michelle mentioned above!) book launch team. A full review will come later this month, but what I love about Michele Cushatt is her depth and insight. Not only is she a gifted communicator, she writes from a deep, rich place that’s been tempered and tested through fire as well. In I Am, she offers her readers solid, biblical truth about identity. We are created in the image of God and are being transformed into the likeness of Christ. This 60-Day journey in book form is recommended especially for those who struggle with insecurity or shame.

Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods

Frequently, someone will email and ask what resource I recommend for learning how to study the Bible and this book is what I share every time. It’s more like a handbook or reference guide that you’ll use over and over again. In each of the 12 chapters, Rick outlines a different way to study the Bible, including the topical bible study method, the book survey method, the biographical method, and 9 more. He walks you step by step through each method and provides examples to show exactly what it looks like. I have referenced this book for years and hope to use it for a long time :)


Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

This book releases next month and is on my to-read list. Nancy takes a look at the Titus 2 model of older women living out the gospel alongside younger women in a way that is mutually strengthening, glorifies God, and makes His truth believable to our world.


Fresh Wind Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala 

Jim Cymbala’s stories of God at work and calls to personal revival are not only inspiring, they’re convicting. Why is there so much mediocrity in our churches, homes, and personal lives? How can we once again come out and be separate as God’s people, walking in step with His Spirit? I read this book years ago and am reading it again now as it ties in with my word for 2017. If you are hungry for an outpouring of God in your life, this book will feed your soul.

Momentum: Pursuing God’s Blessings Through the Beatitudes by Colin Smith 

This month I’m memorizing Matthew 5 (or I should say re-memorizing it, heh. My brain isn’t what it used to be.) I don’t know about you, but my heart needs frequent reminders of the upside-down way of living Jesus teaches. When I heard of this book on the radio a few weeks ago, I immediately put it on my to-read list because Pastor Colin Smith dives deep and practical into the beatitudes. He fleshes out what it looks like to live the upside down lifestyle…and the blessings of doing so. I’m definitely looking forward to diving into this one.

Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity by Tim Challies 

Books on productivity sort of seem counter productive to me but it’s because I probably need them, lol! This book made my list because 1. It is God-centered and 2. It’s short. Enough said.

Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles that Can Radically Change Your Family by Paul David Tripp

So. Parenting books exhaust me. They heap burden upon burden on my already overwhelmed, failing shoulders. For this reason, I stopped reading them years ago but this book? Is different. It isn’t about what we need to do and how we’re messing our kids up if we don’t. It’s about solid gospel principles we can know and meditate on that will transform us… and our parenting… from the inside out. Ah, sigh of relief!

All the Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth

Since I’ve had the opportunity to meet Edie in person, this book is one I’m especially looking forward to. Edie grew up in a poverty-stricken world where getting out seemed impossible. Where the grownups ate while the children went hungry. Nevertheless, against all odds, Edie “made doctor,” achieving everything that had once seemed beyond her reach. But her past caught up with her—and it would take her whole life burning down around her for Edie to be finally able to face the truth about herself, her family, and her relationship with God.


Whole 30 and the Whole 30 Cookbook by Melissa Hartwig

After the holidays, Whole30 is a life raft. I’m starting my third Whole30 tomorrow and these books will be good friends for the next month :) For those wanting to improve eating habits and dietary choices, this plan is the one I prefer. It’s simple to follow (but not necessarily easy!) and physically energizing.


Unseen by Priscilla Shirer

My oldest has read two of the Prince Warriors fiction books by Shirer and loved them. Since this devotional focuses on the armor of God and is for kids we decided to read through it together at the dinner table each night. It’s prompted great discussions already!

The Bible

Of course I saved the best for last. In fact, this is the ONLY book you absolutely MUST read every day! Fortunately, God’s word is freely available to us… quite simply, we are foolish not to read it regularly and systematically. I love the One Year Bibles because your daily reading is laid out for you. So easy! This is the version I’m reading through this year.

How about you? What books do you plan on reading this year?

Now let’s link-up!


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Arabah Joy

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Starla Jimenez

 Faith Along the Way


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  1. Wow! I haven’t read any of these, and I read a lot! Actually, I do own a One Year Bible, but I don’t like the way it splits up the reading. So I read from another Bible.

  2. These all sound like such great books–thanks for the list! I also love Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire and found such inspiration from Jim Cymbabla. It is a wonderful book to return to again and again. Praying for a fresh manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s power in your life in 2017! Thank you for your ministry!

  3. Do More Better by Tim Challies is on my list (and already on my kindle).
    Also, Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin as well as her 1 Peter study. I have so many… I currently have Getting the Gospel Right by R.C. Sproul on loan from the library, too! I hadn’t heard of Nancy deMoss Wolgemuth’s new book, I’ll have to check it out. I read two of her booklets this year and really loved them, especially Biblical Portrait of Womanhood. So many books and so little time!

    The book I read this past year that was the most influential was Future Grace by John Piper. I’m actually not finished with it but am about 90% done so I can say that with confidence! It’s not an easy read, but a deep, rich one. It’s taken me several months to get through.
    Two other (easier) reads that I would recommend we’re Recovering Redemption by Matt Chandler (one of my favorite pastors) and Seeking and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper. You could say I’m a Piper fan. :)

    I am picky about what (who) I read, so your comments about authors made me chuckle. I definitely don’t know it all but am thankful for gifted men and women who share their knowledge and wisdom.

  4. Such a great selection of books! I’m reading I Am right now. I had to resist the urge to plow through it, and instead go day by day, letting the words soak deep into my thoughts each day…hoping they’ll reach my heart.

  5. I am simply LOVING all the book lists that are being shared right now, my own list is growing quickly. Thank you for sharing deep and thought-provoking books to grow with and thanks for your hospitality here.


  6. Great list! I’ve read some (Fresh Wind Fresh Fire is a favorite!) and added a couple of others to my wish-list. This year I’m reading through the NT using the NLT and the Chronological Bible – it’s amazing!

  7. So so glad you posted this! Reading a book/month is a new goal, sorta (always been a reader- just not a disciplined one). I’ve got several picked out but decided to wait before finishing my list. Some of the ones I’ve picked out are:
    1. Christ the Healer- FF Bosworth
    2. Why Isn’t My Brain Working?- Datis Kharrazian
    3. The Broken Way- Ann Voskamp
    4. Brave Companions- David McCullough
    5. Hillbilly Elegy- JD Vance
    6. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks- Rebecca Skloot

    I’m still deciding on some lighter, fun stuff and was looking at your list from last year (which I saved) which has some possibilities on it. As for my Bible reading plan, I’ve used the same one for years and love it. But I was looking at different plans the other day and I was struck by one I’m thinking about trying. It’s called Prof. G. Horner’s Bible Reading Plan. It looks a bit overwhelming, but something (or someone!) inside me is wanting to do it. The Rick Warren book you suggested sounds like such a good resource. I’m definitely looking into getting that. I can’t wait to read what others are reading!

  8. I love a good thoughtful book list! Alas, my pile is too large to add these…yet! Thank you Arabah – AND may I add one to yours? Life of the Beloved by Nouwen. Im soaking in it this month. Happy Reading Year!

  9. Arabah,
    What a complete honor to have “Hope Prevails” make your list among such a beautiful line up of inspirational books for 2017. We are called to be a light–a light to share His love, His grace, His hope to a dark and despairing world. You do that so beautifully and faithfully. That’s my desire, whether it’s in my books, my blog posts, my social media blurbs, or face to face, to always show the hope we have because of Him. Today, so many are walking in depression’s valley, and by 2020 it will be our greatest epidemic worldwide. But because of Him, #HopePrevails–in depression, in cancer, in divorce, in bankruptcy….He is our everlasting hope! May every reader find that hope in the pages of “Hope Prevails!” Be blessed my friend, as you have surely blessed me with this post!!

  10. I love Jim Cymbala’s book! His story is such a faith strengthener!

    May God bless you in this new year!

    Thanks for hosting this linkup. :)

  11. Those look like great titles to read. I’m in the middle of so many right now, I’ll have to look into them later. Of course, the Bible is one I read daily no matter what else I am reading. Blessings to you!

  12. Great list!! I have to say the Chronological Bible is my absolute favorite– I started reading one about 3 years and everything finally clicked! Read it everyday since and just start over each new year!

  13. My father-in-law bought me the NLT One Year Bible as a Christmas gift! So I’m going through that on my own this year.

    And, I’m on the launch team for Adorned. It’s FANTASTIC. Can’t wait for you to read it.

  14. Gosh, I looked at the replies from others and they’re all so supportive and happy. The books do sound pretty good. I haven’t been able to read the Bible for a while now, so I thought this year I would try a one year NLT, like the one you suggested. I read January 1st, and it was the saddest story I’ve ever read. Hope I can go back to it and get past the sadness. Everything you mentioned helped though. I finally realized I’m not smart enough to read the Bible correctly, but then God showed me psalm 119:130. No excuse.

  15. If you want to read through the Bible in a fresh way, I highly recommend the One Year Chronological Bible. Yes, you can look up a chronological plan and follow it, but flipping around to follow those can be very distracting when you are trying to follow the stories. It is my favorite way to read through scripture. David’s Psalms are woven in between the stories they probably were written in response to. When you read through the gospels, all accounts of each story are grouped together and it gives you a neat perspective hearing the stories from the different authors. I homeschool my kids and this school year we are reading through the New Testament out of the OYCB and it has been a rich time discussing the stories.

  16. Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire is an amazing book! I want to read Hope Prevails. It’s on my list. And Shrirer’s books have been a blessing to me. My absolute #1 Bible is the. Chronological Study Bible. Even though I’d been a Christian for almost 50 years…and with two degrees in ministry…and havung probably 20 different translations in my library – this Bible was a game-changer for me. Thanks for providing this list!

  17. I’m going to re-read Good to Great in God’s Eyes by Chip Ingram. It has 10 basic habits/practices that keep one’s focus on God: Think great thoughts, Dream great dreams, Pray great prayers, etc. Very practical ways to incorporate these habits into your life as well.
    And the Bible cover to cover. Started it late 2016 and intend to complete before the end of 2017.

  18. What is your opinion on The Passion translation bible? I get their daily online devotionals and honestly I love the way it’s so easy to understand, more so than the NIV version. I’ve heard some people not liking it and others who love it. Just curious on it.
    I read the Joyce Meyer bible which I like better than my NIV translation bible. I quite enjoy it. Sometimes I like to compare different bible translations and sometimes that helps me understand the verse or passage better.

    1. Hi Grace, I’ve never read that translation and honestly don’t know much about it. Generally, I like to use a variety of translations to get a better idea of the verses’ intent. When it comes to studying the scripture, I generally go with the ESV.

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