My book recommendation for February is John Maxwell’s book. Running with Giants – What Old Testament Heroes Want You to Know about Life and Leadership.

My edition of the book is from 2002; the audio version came out in 2005. It was then republished in 2008 when Kindle and ebook versions were also released.

I enjoy Maxwell’s little books, i.e. A5 size. Short, punchy chapters that I can read quickly to reflect and soak in the wisdom and exhortation into my own life. Gleaning a truth I can make my own and bringing application and transformation in my own life.

In John’s “Cloud of Witnesses” introduction he shares how he’d spent two years focusing on some of the great biblical leaders. In order to learn lessons from their lives, especially those of faith in Hebrews 11. He regularly took time to ask this question:

“If this person could step out of the crowd and come down onto the track to run with me, what would he or she say?”

Maxwell’s heart and hope for this book are to “offer words of inspiration that I believe some of the giants of the faith would share, were they to run a lap with us today.”

In this book, Maxwell’s giants are Noah, Esther, Joseph, Moses, Rebekah, Abraham, Nehemiah, The servant girl, David and Jonathan.

Chapter structure

  • A particular aspect of the biblical giant’s life, for example, Joseph and his dreams.
  • Their word’s of encouragement to us
  • A prayer they have for us.
  • Then John has a ‘Discussion Guide’ section which gives a poignant scripture and a leaving comment from the person.
  • There are five sets of questions. One question, for the character, helps us put ourselves in their shoes in a particular situation. The second question is for reflection – asking us to reflect on a similar memory from our own lives, which makes it personal and helps us relate the situation to our lives and thus what we can learn and apply.

What am I taking away from Running with Giants?

Each of these biblical giants were real people with real struggles and questions. We see their faith and responses to their situations, but we benefit from hindsight to know the outcome of each action. They didn’t have our luxury and these reflections. The highlighted points of their lives remind me how similar my life is to theirs. Not that I’m going to be a hero of faith or anything. Just as they had to make good choices, sought and trusted God, I too need to do the same things. In time I see the positive and negative consequences of my actions. But I want my life to count, be a blessing for others, inspire and encourage others to be all that God’s called them to be and give God glory.

These giants had a significant impact on their society and throughout history. I’m not saying I want to get to this kind of level at all – but I do want to impact my sphere of influence positively. I need those words of encouragement and prayers. I need help and praise God – I am not alone. We have the same (and growing) cloud of witnesses’ in heaven and earth cheering us on to run the best we can and finish well.

 Other Comments

At the back of the book, John gives us the bible references to each giant covered in the book. Not sure why he waited to share these when there was enough space at the end of each chapter’s Discussion guide.

Maxwell produced a followup book for Running with Giants in 2014, to bring us more insights from other biblical leaders titled – Learning from the Giants: Life and Leadership Lessons from the Bible.

The giants here are Elijah, Elisha, Job, Jacob, Deborah, Isaiah, Jonah, Joshua and Daniel.

Both these books are available from the John Maxwell online store –

Or from many of the other places we prefer to buy our books.

Other books of John Maxwell I’ve previously recommended are:

Developing the leader within you 2.0

21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by John Maxwell