/ Nathan Eshelman

Your "January Book" May Change (or Define) Your Life

What’s your “January book”? Do you have one?

When I began seminary a number of years ago, my pastor told me that he reads Preaching and Preachers by Martyn Lloyd-Jones every January. This was done for the purpose of helping to redefine his ministry, refresh his understanding of the role of preaching, and reinvigorate him to the task that lay ahead in the new year.

I have also taken on the task of reading Preaching and Preachers as my “January book.” It began as a way to remind me of the task that I would, upon graduation, take up as a Gospel minister; but it has become so much more. Preaching and Preachers has become something more than just a reminder of the role of the preacher. It has become a book that should transform my life and transform my ministry. It has become my “January book.” A few of my theological students have also chosen this book as a January book. At least three generations of preachers reading for greater conformity and definition!

A January book is a book that you read every January with the purpose of helping to conform you more to the image of Jesus Christ. I have mentioned mine and I hope that the Lord uses it to conform, not only me, but the sheep of which I am an under-shepherd to the image of Christ. A “January book” should be captivating, convicting, compelling, and Christ-exalting. It should be a book that makes you think about your spiritual condition and your relationship to Christ and His Church. It should be a book that makes you reflect upon your sin and your spiritual condition the last time that you read the book. It should be a book that motivates you to flee to Christ and to pursue him in a greater way.

What’s your “January book”?

I will not go so far as to say that those without a “January book” live lives without focus or reflection. But that may be the case. Many of us wander through life with “someday I will ____________” as our mantra; and you know what happens? Nothing. We exist. As Christians we are called to do more than exist, we are called to abundant life! Books can help us with this.

What do you want your over-arching story to look like? How can the Word of God, spoken through writers, help you to seek Christ in all his preciousness? Find yourself a good “January book.” Read it every year in January. Spiritually rinse and repeat. Below is a list of a few other books (in no particular order) worthy of being “January books.” What would you add to this list? Do you have a “January book”? It’s not too late to begin.

Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

The Suffering Savior by FW Krummacher

Desiring God by John Piper 

The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs

Follow the Lamb by Horatius Bonar

Holiness of God by RC Sproul

Mortification of Sin by John Owen

Practical Religion by JC Ryle

Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul Tripp

Heaven Taken by Storm by Thomas Watson

Institutes of the Christian Religion (Book Three) by John Calvin

Nathan Eshelman

Nathan Eshelman

Pastor in Orlando, studied at Puritan Reformed Theological & Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminaries. One of the chambermen on the podcast The Jerusalem Chamber. Married to Lydia with 5 children.

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