G3 Reading Challenge 2023

Becky Aniol

book lot on table

It’s time for a new G3 Reading Challenge! Like last year, the goal with this challenge is not only to get Christians reading but also to stretch us all—as parents, pastors, parishoners—to read more widely. This year we have 12 brand new categories, but, again, we hope these categories will motivate you to both complete some books you’ve been meaning to read and also venture into topics and genres that don’t normally make it onto your bookshelf.

Don’t think you have time to read 12 books in 2023? Audiobooks available through your local library or a subscription service will read to you while you drive or dry dishes. Also, statistics tell us that picking up a book instead of scrolling social media could allow the average American to read over 200 books a year! Consider doing the challenge with your spouse, a friend, or a church group to provide community and stimulate healthy conversation.

Use #G3reads to share the titles you’ve chosen, pictures of the books you’re reading throughout the year, and your completed challenges. Last year we had over 3,000 of you participate in the challenge!

Download the reading challenge here.

As always, you’re free to choose any book you’d like for each category, but if you’re wanting ideas, here are a few suggestions.1Because a title is suggested here does not mean that G3 endorses every author or every statement in each of these books. Rather, these books are worthy reads that contribute to the larger … Continue reading

A Book about a Book of the Bible

This can be a commentary or more of a devotional or a Bible study or some combination of those.

For a reliable list of more technical commentaries on each book of the Bible, see this resource page.

Here are some other ideas, more on the layperson level:

A Book by a Dead Pastor

While we love many living pastors, let’s narrow it down to the thousands of pastors who have gone to be with the Lord. Here a just a few favorites to get your wheels turning:

  • Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  • Charles Spurgeon
  • Jeremiah Burroughs
  • Isaac Watts
  • Jonathan Edwards

A Book about the Sovereignty of God

A Book of Letters

A Work of Classic Fiction

This can be any work of fiction that has stood the test of time. Think of something that might be assigned in a literature class. Just a few ideas:

  • Anything by Jane Austen
  • Jane Eyre
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Anna Karenina
  • The Brothers Karamazov
  • 1984
  • Brave New World
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • David Copperfield
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • Little Women
  • The Last of the Mohicans
  • Silas Marner
  • Robinson Crusoe
  • Treasure Island
  • The Count of Monte Cristo

The ACBC has five entire pages (or a downloadable PDF) of books they recommend. From marriage to parenting to suffering to pastoring and counseling to anxiety and depression to addiction to systematic theology, there’s something to benefit everyone. Find the list here.

A Book of Poems

Don’t freak out. Think of it as a book of hymns not set to music. Samuel Taylor Coleridge said that poetry is “simply the best words in the best order.” My all-time, number one recommendation, especially for Christians not used to reading poetry:

Other suggestions:

  • Word in the Wilderness: A Poem a Day for Lent and Easter by Malcolm Guite
    Similar to the Ryken collection, Guite collects poems (some by himself and some by others) and gives explanatory notes. Though we’d have less theological alignment with Guite than with Ryken, his notes are still helpful.
  • Waiting on the Word: A Poem a Day for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany by Malcolm Guite
    Same as above, different season
  • A Year with George Herbert: A Guide to Fifty-Two of His Best Loved Poems
    Charles Spurgeon’s favorite poet; contains notes
  • 150 Most Famous Poems
    A great place to start to familiarize yourself with poetry. They’re famous for a reason!
  • Poets’ Corner by John Lithgow
    I especially recommend the audiobook of this accessible collection of classic poems. Lithgow, a lifelong poetry lover, makes you want to love poetry too! Each selection contains a brief author bio, the poem (read by a famous actor if you’re doing audio–Helen Mirren, Lynn Redgrave, Morgan Freeman, Eileen Atkins, etc.), a short explanation, and closing comments including a few other favorite poems by that poet. All this takes about 5 minutes listening time. I listen with my children, and we all love this collection.

Other very accessible poets:

For each of the above and many others, you can simply look for any edition of their poetry such as the Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets Series.

A Biography about a Christian Marriage

We’ll leave this a pretty loose category. Feel free to read a biography about a Christian that includes the person’s marriage. (For instance, To the Golden Shore includes discussion of Adoniram and Ann Judson’s marriage.) However, here are a few suggestions of biographies specifically about the marriages of Christian couples:

A Book about Prayer

Last year we challenged you to read a book of written prayers. This year we challenge you to read a book about prayer to strengthen your prayer life. Here are a few suggestions:

A Travel Book

This can be any non-fiction book about someone who’s traveling (by boat, train, car, plane, walking, on a camel, whatever).

A Book about the History of Your Country

This is almost completely open-ended. It just has to be historical non-fiction. You can read a biography of a leader, a story about a war, an historical overview, a book about a certain movement or event or time-period. You choose. Here are some favorites for the United States:

A Book from Last Year’s Challenge That You Wanted to Read but Didn’t

Whether you didn’t complete last year’s challenge (or didn’t even start it) or a book you wanted to read got pushed aside by something else, here’s your chance for a do-over. Pick a book from any category in last year’s challenge and read it.

Download the 2023 Reading Challenge here.

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1 Because a title is suggested here does not mean that G3 endorses every author or every statement in each of these books. Rather, these books are worthy reads that contribute to the larger conversation. There are many other worthy titles not included on this list.
Author book lot on table

Becky Aniol

Becky Aniol is a wife, keeper of the home, and mother of four children aged 3–15, whom she homeschools. She has a PhD in Christian education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Becky writes and speaks at conferences on education, discipleship, and the Christian imagination and leads expository women's Bible studies in her local church. Her desire is to equip women with tools for discipleship-parenting and personal growth in Christlikeness.