By Abi Christian

10 Gift Ideas from InterVarsity Press

Fact: Books are the best presents to give (barring, of course, all those other fabulous but intangible gifts of love, time, grace, and hugs).

For one reason, books are easy to wrap – no more of those awkward corners and creative cover-ups. For another, they’re a gift you can borrow. As soon as the wrapping paper comes off, it’s fair game who cracks open those beautifully new pages first. And finally, anyone could use a new book. Whether it’s for your parents, pastor, a student in your life, or the friend you’ve just met, a good book can challenge any reader to grow in knowledge, self-reflection, and faith.

And InterVarsity Press has some great new books this season. Here are 10 to feed your loved ones’ hearts, minds, and souls.

1. Small Things with Great Love by Margot Starbuck. We’ve all felt it – that looming thought that we could be a far better Christian if we just did this and this and this. Too often, we end up overwhelmed and not doing anything. Margot encourages us to start with the people we already see, places we already are, and things we already do to express and experience God’s love through our own small acts of love.

2. No argument for God by John Wilkinson. For the more apologetic-minded among your giftees, consider John’s book on the irrationality of faith. This is often the argument of new atheists against religion, but John contends that it may be its greatest asset, turning us from the need for investigation of God to revelation.

3. Luke: The Gospel of Amazement by Michael Card. This latest book by Michael Card came out of his own amazement as he studied Luke’s gospel and saw how radically Jesus turned everything around. Michael delves into Luke’s writing experience and wonders what Luke’s life was like and why he might have included certain details. It’s a fresh take on an amazing story.

4. Kingdom Calling by Amy L. Sherman. Lay people in the church have an important role in announcing the kingdom of God, and Amy explores how stewarding our gifts in our careers can further God’s purposes in the world. This book is great for those who both have a job or are trying to discern where God is calling them next.

5. Cost of Community by Jamie Arpin-Ricci. Living in community – especially as Jesus did, among the poor in spirit, the weak, the unloved – is not easy. Through his experience in a monastic community in urban Winnipeg, Jamie shares his insights about what Jesus offers us and demands of us as we do life together.

6. Sanctuary of the Soul by Richard Foster. With our daily lives often busy and full of distractions, we need to find sanctuary to rest and connect with our Creator. Richard gives ways to practice meditative prayer so we grow in deeper fellowship with our Lord. Read an excerpt here.

7. Mind Your Faith by David A. Horner. This is a helpful gift for any student navigating the college classroom. David’s guide explores how ideas work and provides tools for thinking contextually, logically, and “worldviewishly” while living faithfully.

8. Clouds of Witnesses by Mark Noll and Carolyn Nystrom. Is your giftee passionate about learning of other cultures? Mark and Carolyn share 17 stories of Christian leaders in Africa and Asia whose faith in the midst of suffering and conflict inspired those around them. It’s a great look into the shaping of the global Church.

9. Invitations from God by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun. God invites us into so many things, and Adele suggests that learning to hear and say yes to God’s many invitations is also a spiritual discipline. She recommends reflection questions and disciplines to help you learn to accept God’s offers to rest, weep, forgive, wait, and remember.

10. Portraits of a Radical Disciple edited by Christopher J. H. Wright. Reflecting on the life and legacy John Stott left behind in November, Wright has gathered sketches from family, friends, and partners in the gospel about the man who influenced so many. For fans of Stott’s Basic Christianity and Radical Disciple, consider giving the story of the writer behind them.

What book (other than the Bible!) has powerfully shaped your faith? Leave a comment and your name below. At the end of the week, a randomly selected commenter will receive a FREE copy of IVP’s Forgiving as We’ve Been Forgiven by L. Gregory Jones and Celestin Musekura. We’ll leave it up to you to keep or gift it away!


Knowing God is the most powerful, life changing book. After being introduced to Knowin God through IVCF, I read it each year during college and for several years afterward. This is a good reminder that I need to get out my copy and read it again this year.

Knowing God by J.I. Packer. Packer clearly, intellectually, and passionately explains the biblical essentials of who God is and what He has done in the world. No book has influenced my life more. -Chad Schlosser

A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller taught me to make prayer the groundwork for everything I do, all through my day. As soon as I finished it, I started again to absorb even more. Another influential one from my week at the NYC Urban Project is Finding Calcutta by Mary Poplin.

It's not IVP, but The Measure of a Man, by Gene Getz, has been a very practical, useful book for me. It goes through each of the qualifications for elders and deacons (1 Tim. 3). I've used it a number of times when discipling other guys, and it's been great.

Non-IVP books count too! Thanks for commenting - you're the randomly selected winner. I'll email you about it soon!

"Knowing God" by J.I. Packer is currently at the top of the list for me too; I am looking forward to reading it again soon. So here is a third recommendation for this book, for anyone looking for a solid, thoughtful book that is rich in Scripture. - Michael Stalcup

Get the Word Out by John Teter radically changed my view of evangelism in college and gave me a vision of doing GIGs with non-Christians. Still a book I give out and recommend every year to students and churches!

Add new comment