A Book of Wisdom for College Students (Book Review)

Trueblood, Ben and Brian Mills. A Different College Experience: Following Christ in College. B&H Books, Nashville, TN. 2019. 192 pages.

The college years are a time for young people to find themselves and express themselves. These few short years should be marked with freedom and fun. At least, that is what some would say. The problem is if these few short years are lived this way, they lack proper perspective. They do not consider long-term implications and, for the Christian, they do not consider how their faith impacts their college experience. The college experience becomes marked by foolishness instead of faithfulness. What incoming college students need to hear and heed is a word of wisdom from God’s Word. They will find such wisdom in Ben Trueblood and Brian Mills’s new book, A Different College Experience: Following Christ in College.

Get the Best

Written especially for college students with at least some Christian background, A Different College Experience offers a way for the student to get the best out of the college experience rather than the college experience getting the best out of the student (Trueblood and Mills pg. x). As a director for student ministry and a college pastor, Trueblood and Mills speak both from Scripture and experience. With the Word of God as the foundation for wisdom, Ben and Brian clarify and call college students to believe the gospel (part 1). They show students the way to find themselves is not through the college experience but by understanding who God is and understanding who He says they are (part 2). The authors then devote a whole section on the church to equip college students of the role she plays during their time in college and the role they play in the church (part 3). With the foundational principles from God’s Word laid out, the second half of the book highlights the path of wisdom for college students in avoiding pitfalls (part 4), handling relationships (part 5), and a vision for success (part 6).

Words of Wisdom for Students

The advice and guidance Ben Trueblood and Brian Mills provide in A Different College Experience give reason why this book contains words of wisdom for the college student. The layout of the book demonstrates the need to understand and believe the gospel and then to live out what it means to follow Christ during the college years. The strongest point of the book comes in part 3 as the book highlights the importance of committing to a local church during the college years. The best experience of these years cannot come from merely the college community but uniquely from the church community. As well, the book is filled with practical applications to the principles shared.

Tweaking Terminology

The wisdom packed into these six sections does not come without critique, though. Occasionally, the authors do phrase things in such a way that could be made clearer. The most glaring example comes in chapter 9 when they make a reference about “making Jesus your Lord” (Trueblood and Mills 91). While some may not squabble over the terminology used, a person does not make Jesus their Lord; He is Lord, and the response is to either reject or trust in Him as Lord. The authors do use better terminology to make this same point a few pages later on page 112 when they use the word “surrender”. Using the latter in place of the former would have made things clearer. Nevertheless, this minor critique does not take away from the value of the book! If you are looking for a good gift to give a high school graduate, then make the wise choice and give them a copy of A Different College Experience: Following Christ in College by Ben Trueblood and Brian Mills.

I received this book from B&H/Lifeway Bloggers Program in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

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