On My Shelf helps you get to know various writers through a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lives as readers.
I asked Melissa Kruger—editor and blogger for The Gospel Coalition; women’s ministry coordinator at Uptown Church (PCA) in Charlotte, North Carolina; and author of In All Things: A Nine-Week Devotional Bible Study on Unshakeable Joy (forthcoming), The Envy of Eve, and Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood—about what’s on her nightstand, biographies and autobiographies that have influenced her, her go-to book for discipling women, and more.
What’s on your nightstand right now?
Currently, I’m in the middle of reading:
Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich—It’s a fascinating collection of everyday reflections from Russians on the effects of capitalism and democracy.
How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg—I highly recommend this book just for the introduction, “When am I going to use this?” I wish it was mandatory reading for every high-school student and their parents.
The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1–12 by Thomas Watson
Refresh by Shona and David Murray—I’m reading it again, because it is very needed in my life right now.
The one thing I’m missing on my nightstand is a good work of fiction—I’d welcome suggestions!
What biographies or autobiographies have most influenced you and why?
Biographies have shaped my Christian walk more than any other genre. To read stories of faith lived out in the midst of life’s difficulties and struggles always inspires and encourages me. Some of my favorites are Through the Gates of Splendor, A Chance to Die, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, and John Paton’s autobiography Missionary to the New Hebrides.
What is a go-to book you use for discipling women?
My favorite book to use for discipling women is Donald Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. It’s a helpful place to start because it covers so many topics: service, evangelism, Bible reading, prayer, church, and more. It’s a great mix of topics from which to discuss a person’s relationship with God, the world, and the church.
Which book do you wish every evangelical Christian would read and why?
I would encourage everyone to read J. I. Packer’s Knowing God. My husband recommended it to me when we were dating in college, and I waited 20 years to take him up on the suggestion. Now, I read it over and over. Packer’s words remind me of the beauty and greatness of God and what a wonder it is to know him personally. Don’t wait as long as I did to read it!
What are you learning about life and following Jesus?
Thirty years ago, the Lord saved me. I was 14 at the time and began two daily practices: reading my Bible and writing out my prayers in a journal. I still do these simple acts of faith today—and I’m more convinced than ever of their importance. Walking with the Lord is the greatest blessing and privilege of my life. What a gift that we can speak to God through prayer, and he speaks to us through his Word! I still haven’t gotten over the fact that God chose me, saved me, redeemed me, and calls me his child. I hope I never do.
Also in the On My Shelf series: Isaac Adams • Denny Burk • Vermon Pierre • Jake Meador • Russ Ramsey • Jason Allen • Jason Cook • Mack Stiles • Michael Kruger • Robert Smith • Tony Merida • Andy Crouch • Walter Strickland • Hannah Anderson • S. D. Smith • Curtis Woods • Mindy Belz • Steve Timmis • David Mathis • Michael Lindsay • Nathan Finn • Jennifer Marshall • Todd Billings • Greg Thornbury • Greg Forster • Jen Pollock Michel • Sam Storms • Barton Swaim • John Stonestreet • George Marsden • Andrew Wilson • Sally Lloyd-Jones • Darryl Williamson • D. A. Horton • Carl Ellis • Owen Strachan • Thomas Kidd • David Murray • Jarvis Williams • Gracy Olmstead • Matthew Hall • Drew Dyck • Louis Markos • Ray Ortlund • Brett McCracken • Mez McConnell • Erik Raymond • Sandra McCracken • Tim Challies • Sammy Rhodes • Karen Ellis • Alastair Roberts • Scott Sauls • Karen Swallow Prior • Jackie Hill Perry • Bruce Ashford • Jonathan Leeman • Megan Hill • Marvin Olasky • David Wells • John Frame • Rod Dreher • James K. A. Smith • Randy Alcorn • Tom Schreiner • Trillia Newbell • Jen Wilkin • Joe Carter • Timothy George • Tim Keller • Bryan Chapell • Lauren Chandler • Mike Cosper • Russell Moore • Jared Wilson • Kathy Keller • J. D. Greear • Kevin DeYoung • Kathleen Nielson • Thabiti Anyabwile • Elyse Fitzpatrick • Collin Hansen • Fred Sanders • Rosaria Butterfield • Nancy Guthrie • Matt Chandler