This week’s interview is with Jon Nielson. He is the author of the 3 upcoming Reformed Expository Bible Studies: Daniel, Galatians, and James. He also wrote Bible Study: A Student’s Guide and The Story: The Bible’s Grand Narrative of Redemption.
- Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, family, job, personal interests, unique hobbies, what you do in your spare time, etc.
I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and have basically lived in the Chicago area for most of my life (other than 2 years in Princeton, NJ from 2015-2017). My wife Jeanne and I met on the west side of Chicago in 2007 . . . we’ve been married for almost 11 years and have four beautiful daughters. We love serving our dear church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago – Christ Presbyterian Church (PCA) – and also enjoy staying active together. Jeanne is a marathon runner and exercise coach . . . and I desperately try to keep up with her!
- Which writers inspire you?
Some of the usual suspects inspired me during my youth and young adult years – C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, George MacDonald, Tolkien. As an English Literature major, I also loved the great novels of Dostoevsky, Dickens, Twain, Faulkner, Austen, Bronte . . . and I had a season in seminary where I tried to read everything by Thomas Hardy. Theologically, Graeme Goldsworthy’s books shaped a lot of my thinking on biblical theology. Currently, I’m encouraged by Kevin DeYoung’s writing in many different areas of interest to local church members and pastors.
- What inspired you to write these Bible studies?
I’m excited to play a small part in encouraging and enabling church members to dig into the riches of Scripture and study it for themselves – individually or in small groups. I love helping God’s people study his Word!
- Do you have a favorite author?
I love Chesterton and Tozer. Thomas Hardy as a novelist.
- Do you have a favorite movie?
Yikes – hard to say! Definitely some of the classic action/adventure series of movies (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Bourne, etc.). I’m also kind of a sucker for superhero movies, which drives my wife nuts. I’m way behind on those, though . . . and the young adults in our congregation keep telling me I need to catch up!
- Do you have a favorite quote?
I’ve always loved the Teddy Roosevelt “the credit belongs to the man in the arena” quote. And Jim Elliot’s simple advice: “Wherever you are, be all there!”
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I would encourage them (I’m thinking of Christian writers specifically) to find that place where their particular gifts and passions match up with a real need (and potential great benefit) for Christians and the local church.
- At what time of day do you write most?
Early mornings – for sure. I’m definitely most productive, thoughtful, etc. between the hours of 5 and 7 am. I’m useless in the evening.
- How do you deal with writer’s block?
Push through. Walk around. Yell at myself!
- Tea or coffee?
Coffee. Is this really a question?
- Favorite sport to watch? Favorite sport’s team?
Definitely NBA basketball, much to the chagrin of my soccer-loving wife. I’m a Chicago fan . . . which means we’ve had some painful years recently watching the Bulls. But, I love watching good basketball . . . and we’re in an exciting, high-scoring era for the league currently.
- Favorite food?
Probably good barbeque or good, authentic Mexican.
- Favorite flavor of ice cream?
Cookies & Cream.
- Favorite animal?
Love seeing the big cats at the zoo with my kids.
- The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia?
- What famous person (living or dead) would you like to meet and why?
Any of the Apostles. I would absolutely love to get their take on the church today – and learn from them. What blind spots would they identify? How would they challenge us? What might encourage them? What would they think of our preaching, discipleship, evangelism, cultural engagement, etc.?
- If you have a favorite book of the Bible, what is it and why?
I love 1st and 2nd Peter. I love Peter’s clarity, challenge, focus on the Last day . . . and I love the story of the man as well.
Follow Jon on Twitter: @jonnielson