I am asked regularly for suggestions on books to read. After finding out the topic, I try to suggest just one or two that may help the most. When it comes to what I’m reading currently, it isn’t as varied as I like. For me, right now, I pretty much am reading whatever relates to 2 Peter (for my doctorate) or John (our preaching series). Here is an abbreviated list that includes that material and few other items I read along the way, as well as a small list of what I will be reading the day after my doctoral work is complete…
New American Commentary by Thom Schreiner (professor at Southern Seminary and a great work)
Pillar New Testament Commentary by Peter Davids (very thorough and just technical enough)
Gospel of John
THE TEXT…Read your bibles!
Expositions on John by A.W. Pink
John – Expositional Commentary by James M. Boice
Calvin’s Commentaries by John Calvin
New Bible Commentary by InterVarsity Press (for basic, one volume work, get your hands on this)
God is the Gospel by John Piper
The Forgotten Spurgeon by Iain Murray (unique bio of Spurgeon during his 3 major controversies)
The Day After the Doctorate
The Works of John Owen, Vols. 1,6,10
Spurgeon’s Autobiography, 2 Vols.
Manual of Church Order and Manual of Theology by J.L. Dagg (arguably the best theologian in Southern Baptist history)
Now, reading this stuff does not make anyone an intellectual or theological giant. In fact, I don’t necessarily think these are good places to start if you are beginning to study theology with a little more fervor. Let me suggest a few places to start for introductory purposes:
Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem (One volume / Hymn and scripture memory at the end of each section)
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Don Whitney (also has a study guide available)
Overcoming Sin and Temptation (Very accessible with updated language)
God is the Gospel
The Religious Affections
Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography by Iain Murray
God Entranced Vision of All Things by Piper and Taylor (includes chapter by Don Whitney)
Morning and Evening (devotional work available online under “Resources” – “Daily Devotional”)
Lectures to My Students
Now, while reading things like this, make sure you are identifying at least 3 people (neighbors, family, etc…) to pray for with evangelism in mind. Theology only makes a difference if it heightens your affections for Christ, which will inevitably lead to the spreading of the gospel. There is probably no greater prayer for me to pray for us all than what Paul offered up for the Ephesian church (Eph.3:14-21):
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.