To be a good theologian you need to have a grasp of systematic, historical, biblical, practical, theology and a good practice of exegesis.
For those starting out, here are books I recommend for the different theological disciplines:
- Bitesize Theology by Peter Jeffrey – this is a 100 page beginner’s book that is really helpful, but if you are already familiar with key doctrines then the next volume is more appropriate for those developing their thinking on systematic theology.
- Salvation Belongs to the Lord by John Frame – this book is 300+ pages, but still covers the whole range of systematic theology. This would be the one book I’d recommend to a leadership team of a church or ministry in the church that is studying/reading together.
- There are online courses that cover systematic theology:
- David Wells (Gordon Conwell Seminary) has two courses covering the major topics (realplayer audio, not MP3) – with lecture notes. You have to sign up and navigate to find the course (click here to start the process).
- Covenant Theological Seminary has 3 courses (MP3 with lecture notes to download): (1) God and Scripture (by Michael Williams), (2) Man, Christ, Salvation (by Robert Peterson), and (3) Holy Spirit, Church, Last Things (by Robert Peterson).
- Church History in Plain Language, by Bruce Shelley. I haven’t read this book but I think it is a good start for those beginning to think through the history of the church and the development of key doctrines.
- According to Plan, by Graeme Goldsworthy. This book is very insightful, clear, and useable introductory volume on the discipline of biblical theology for the church to use.
- Audio Class by Gerard Van Groningen, Biblical Theology (MP3’s with lecture notes)
- Christ-Centered Preaching, by Bryan Chapell – this is the best single volume on the way to think through preparing expository sermons.
- The Supremacy of Christ in Preaching, by John Piper – I recommend this book to think through the task of preaching from a theological standpoint, with practical implications throughout the book.
- Bryan Chapell’s Christ-centered preaching class
- Counseling/personal ministry
- “Biblical Exegesis” by John Piper
- For parenting teens – Age of Opportunity by Pault Tripp
- For parenting in general – Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp.
- For raising boys, Future Men by Doug Wilson is good.
- The Jesus Storybook Bible is good for kids ages 9-12. So is The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm for younger kids.
- For marriage – Preparing for Marriage God’s Way by Wayne Mack and When Sinner’s Say “I Do” by Dave Harvey
Books for Rhey:
- Biblical Theology – God’s Big Picture (shorter than According to Plan), Story of the Kingdom (the shortened version), and According to Plan (most comprehensive yet still easy to grasp).
- Boys – The Dangerous Book for Boys
- Calvinism/Election –Chosen for Life or John Piper’s audio resources and booklets on the topic.
- Stuff on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
- Definitely start here with the 50 questions Piper and Grudem found most difficult and necessary to answer regarding gender issues in the church and at home.
- The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood resource page.
- John Piper resources on the issue.
- Listen to this good discussion on manhood and womanhood at church and at home between Mark Dever, CJ Mahaney, Russ Moore, and Randy Stinson.
- Stuff on cessationism and continuationism
Book list for Potential CrossView Church Pastor-Elders:
- Biblical Theology – According to Plan, by Graeme Goldsworthy. This book is very insightful, clear, and useable introductory volume on the discipline of biblical theology for the church to use.
- Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
- What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert
- You Can Change by Tim Chester
- Christ-Centered Preaching, by Bryan Chapell – this is the best single volume on the way to think through preparing expository sermons. You probably should listen to his lectures and print the pdf notes and then go through it with someone else your training to be a leader. This goes hand in hand with the book.
- What is a Healthy Church? and What is a Healthy Church Member?
- The Church: The Gospel Made Visible by Mark Dever
- Deliberate Church by Mark Dever
- Questions and Answers for pastors on the 9Marks Website for all each of the 9 marks.
- Total Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis
- Center Church by Tim Keller
- Soma School lectures and pdfs
- The Marks of the Messenger by Mack Stiles
- The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever
- Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne
- One to One Bible Reading by David Helm
- Am I Really a Christian? by Mike McKinley
- Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul David Tripp
- Theology of Lordship Series by John Frame
- Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture by Graeme Goldswothy
- Spirit-Empowered Preaching by Art Azurdia
- Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen
- Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves