Five Books That Shaped My Life

5 books that shaped my lifeReading is a passion of mine. I always seem to be reading 2-3 books at a time, even when up feeding a newborn in the middle of the night (thanks Paperwhite!). While I do read some books for fun, much of what I read is intended to stretch me. I have set myself to be a lifelong learner, and reading is a great way to continue learning.

There are five books that have had a great impact on my life. These books have shaped how I view God, the Bible, and my relationships with Jesus and others. I thank God for how He has used these books in my life, and I hope they might have a similar impact in your life.

Dominion and Dynasty by John Sailhamer

Growing up in the church, I have always been familiar with the biblical narratives. I remember listening to them in Sunday School and from family members, eventually growing to the point where I could read the stories for myself. But for a long time, they were just stories; they were unconnected tales about God.

Books like Dominion and Dynasty helped me see how the Old Testament stories are connected. This is very important for Christians readers; it gives us value for reading the Old Testament, as it is the story of God interacting and saving his people. I especially love this book because of the clarity and level of connections shown between stories. It is one of the first books I turn to when preaching from an Old Testament narrative passage.

We Become What We Worship by G.K. Beale

This next book, a survey of idolatry through the Bible, reminds me of the importance of worship. We are all creatures of worship, and we start to resemble what we worship, whether it is good or bad. While it is rather academic, this book also has a profound impact on my Christian walk.

The Pastor’s Justification by Jared C. Wilson

This is a gospel-rich book aimed at ministering to the heart of the minister. In it, Wilson reminds pastors that our value and identity is found in the completed work of Jesus Christ, not in attendance, donations, or praise. I regularly return to this book for a reminder of how Christ’s grace and mercy is necessary in pastoral ministry.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

This book is a riveting true story of Louie Zamperini, and is the inspiration behind the upcoming movie Unbroken. I love how Hillenbrand structured her story of Zamperini’s life around what was unable to break him: his rough childhood, his competition at races, his 47 days adrift in the Pacific, his years of captivity and punishment as a POW, and his descent into alcoholism and PTSD. And the one thing that ultimately broke him: the Gospel of Jesus Christ, presented by Billy Graham.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

This classic book, the first in the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, is a childhood favorite of mine. I remember going to the library with my mom and picking this book again and again. What I found so special about this book was that it opened my imagination. I could get lost in these stories, while still seeing the grace and love of God in every page.

Brandon Schmidt

I am Brandon Schmidt: writer, husband, father, brother, reader, and laugher.

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