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Earlier when I asked if there were any books on Christian writing, someone answered that books on writing were books on writing. A book on Christian writing would be like a book on Christian auto mechanics. This was a clever picture. I immediately thought of Robert Pirsig’s book, Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Repair.

There is a sense, of course, in which that is absolutely true. Writing is a craft. We would not expect subject matter to effect it. Most of us have been moved by art depicting Christian themes, but who would write or read a book on Christian painting or sculpting?

However, there is more to what I am thinking than that. There is something about weaving writing into our spiritual disciplines that is on a different plane. There is more to learning to listen for the voice of God, hearing His voice, sensing His direction, than writing a tweet on fixing a fuel pump. I have been reaching for this in this Writing Prayerfully blog. But I believe a book, written by a clearer thinker than I, would help Christian writers connect with the Holy Spirit in ways that will shake the Earth in these crucial days.


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Comment by David Young on March 20, 2018 at 11:58am

Thank you, Andrew. That is indeed helpful. Not the least is your perspective on Christian Writing.

Comment by Andrew R. Wheeler on March 20, 2018 at 7:29am

David, I completely agree.  Whereas writing in general may have one or more of many different focuses, the focus of Christian writing is to glorify God.  As a result, there is a difference between Christian writing and general writing.  Or maybe I should say it's more of a difference between the Christian writer and the general writer.  Whether our topic is specifically a spiritual topic or whether it's more of a general market topic, our aim is to glorify God and serve our readers.  To the Christian writer, book sales are not the only - or even the main - measure of success (thank God!).  Our success is more in the fruit borne of our work, and since spiritual fruit results from remaining in the Vine, our job as Christian writers is to be constantly connected to the Vine.  The writer in general wouldn't have this outlook.

Of course, the mechanics like grammar, style, paragraph structure, etc. - those don't differ.  There are specifics about Christian writing like there are specifics about other types of writing (for example, do you capitalize pronouns used to refer to God?), and publications often have their own guidelines - some more detailed than others.  The book I mentioned earlier - Joyce Ellis's "Write With Excellence" - is a great general grammar book.  One resource I have about Christian writing is "The Christian Writer's Manual of Style", and it addresses specifics about Christian writing.  It's edited by Robert Hudson - mine is older (2004); not sure if there's an updated version or not.  

A couple of books I'd recommend regarding the specific aspects of Christian writing are "Writers on Writing", (Wesleyan Publishing House, edited by Jim Watkins) and "Writing So Heaven Will Be Different" (UpWrite Books, compiled by Joyce K. Ellis and Tammie Edington Shaw).  These are both compilations of chapters/articles written by different Christian authors.  The first one includes authors like Jerry B. Jenkins, James Scott Bell, and Sally Stuart (who used to publish the Christian Writer's Market Guide - also highly recommended if you're looking for markets to publish in).  The second one is chapters written by authors who have been a significant part of the Write-to-Publish conference, an annual Christian writers' conference I attend in Wheaton, IL (at Wheaton College).  There's also a book called "Write His Answer" - I think it was written by Marlene Bagnull, but I couldn't lay my hands on it easily to verify that.

I hope that's helpful!


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