There are a million books on ministry out there. What few books will help you the most, right away?
If you are just starting to build your library, this list will point you in some helpful directions. If you have a growing library, perhaps a recommendation or two will reveal a title that you haven’t read yet.
This list includes the books that I use the most, have impacted me the most, and have helped me the most. Each list is in no particular order.
6 reference books to buy immediately
Here are some good “go-to” books for sermon prep, besides commentaries on individual books of the Bible.
1. Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, by Beale and Carson.
2. Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible, ed. by Vanhoozer, et. al.
3. New Bible Dictionary, ed. by I. Howard Marshal, et. al.
4. IVP Bible Background Commentary on the OT, by Walton, Matthews, and Chavalas.
5. IVP Bible Background Commentary on the NT, by Keener.
6. New Bible Commentary, ed. by Wenham, et. al.
7 ministry books to read early in ministry
Or, even better, read them before you start your first post in ministry. These seven books have been most helpful for me in developing as a prophet, priest, and king (i.e. a preacher, shepherd, and leader).
1. Preaching and Preachers, by Lloyd-Jones.
2. Getting Things Done, by Allen.
3. Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, by Tripp.
4. The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, by Lencioni.
5. Christ-Centered Preaching, by Chapell.
6. Lectures to my Students, by Spurgeon.
7. Biblical Eldership, by Strauch.
6 big books on biblical, historical, and systematic theology to start plodding through
These tomes have impacted my theology the most.
1. Institutes of the Christian Religion, by Calvin.
2. A New Testament Biblical Theology, by Beale.
3. Reformed Dogmatics, by Bavinck.
4. Historical Theology, by Allison.
5. Dominion and Dynasty: A Theology of the Hebrew Bible, by Dempster (this one’s actually not so big).
6. A House for My Name: A Survey of the Old Testament, by Leithart (not so big either).
What did I miss? Share what you would include in your minimalist library in the comments!