Jon Nielson, author of Bible Study: A Student’s Guide and forthcoming P&R book, The Story, has taken the time to answer some questions about himself.

  • When did you first want to write a book?

“My desire to write books (2 total, as of March 2014 – both with P & R) has really come out of my actual work in gospel ministry as a High School Pastor, and now as a College Pastor.  I’ve really written in a way that has come out naturally from the kind of ministry I’m involved in every day.  My first book, “Bible Study: A Student’s Guide,” was really a write-up of the kinds of Bible Study training principles I was trying to teach to our students in the high school ministry at College Church; I was simply excited to prayerfully offer this teaching and training to a wider audience.  My latest book, “The Story,” really came out of my being constantly asked by parents of high school and college students: “Can you recommend a good devotional book for my child?”  I’m praying that this becomes a great resource for college and high school students who want to dig into God’s Word in a daily and consistent way over the course of a year.”

  • What book are you reading now?

“I just finished a doctoral class in the ministry and preaching of Jonathan Edwards, so I was reading quite a bit of his writing!  I really enjoyed diving into the sermons and writings of someone who I see as one of the greatest thinkers (not just preachers) that our country has ever known.  I was encouraged, challenged, and blown away by his passion for the glory of God, and his grasp of the weight of the eternal and life-changing message of the eternal gospel.”

  • Do you have an interesting writing quirk?

“I write best early in the morning!  My wife and I have a “deal” – she allows me to have 5am-7am each morning as my writing time, and I really enjoy that early morning time of thinking, writing, and sometimes praying as I write!  At 7am, though, the kids are coming downstairs, and I turn back into a dad…who needs to get breakfast ready.”

  • Do you have a favorite book that you have written?

“I’ve only written two, but I do have to say that I’m especially excited about this forthcoming book – “The Story” (P & R, March 2014).  My prayer is that this finds its way into the hands of many high school and college students who have struggled with daily devotions, and are looking for a simple resource that will keep them in God’s Word every day, teach them about the progression of the Biblical narrative and its proclamation of Jesus, and give them simple explanations and lessons that are emerging from the text along the way.”

  • What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

“I have learned that, when you put yourself “out there” in a book, you have to get ready for some people to like what you’ve written, and for other people to “pick” at it with criticisms and critiques.  That is part of doing this, and I’ve done my absolute best not to take any of it personally. In terms of compliments, the only ones I really care about (and am encouraged by) would be when people describe my writing as “clear,” and most importantly, “biblical.”  I try to let the rest fall by the wayside, and pray that my writing is useful and encouraging to at least some people!”


Jon Nielson has served as pastoral resident at Holy Trinity Church in Chicago and has worked in youth and sports ministry there. He has also worked as director of training for the Charles Simeon Trust, an organization that provides training in biblical exposition. He is currently college pastor at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois.