Tuesday, November 13, 2007

An Evangelical Standard: Five Books

A few years ago, before I had decided to go to seminary, I was talking with a friend, Scott Anderson, who had gotten his M.Div. from Trinity (where I'm going now). Of course, we got to talking about books, and I wanted some book recommendations. I asked him to recommend five books to me. I have been thinking about this list the past few days. It seems like a standard sort of evangelical list, though not at all the list I would produce now. It became sort of a point of departure for me in thinking through what I think is important.

Here was his list (produced from memory):

1. Christian Theology, by Millard Erickson. For Scott, this is the standard Evangelical theology, laying a solid foundation while interacting with non-evangelical positions.

2. "A good volume on church history." I was a little irritated by this one, since I wanted a specific recommendation. Perhaps we might fill in Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley.

3. One book of the Bible. "You should pick a book of the Bible, and study it until you understand it thoroughly." Again, I was a little annoyed with this recommendation, since it wasn't really a specific book. But I understand the thrust behind it - we should have some depth in our biblical knowledge, not just breadth.

4. A Theology of the New Testament, by G.E. Ladd. We should know how the Bible fits together.

5. The Hermeneutical Spiral, by Grant Osborne. It is not enough to read the Bible, but we must understand the complex issues involved in interpreting it. I have had Osborne for a couple classes now, but I still haven't read this book. He mentioned a few years ago that he was revising it for a second edition, so I decided to wait. The second edition is out now, so I suppose I should get with the program.

What five books would you recommend in a similar situation? The audience is an educated Christian without seminary training.

1 comment:

Brian said...

I know this post is old but these books are pretty good - I think it depnes on who the person is - Erickson is pretty massive though among the most complete - if this person were interested in theology but not necessarily seminary I might pick something a little less massive - perhaps McGrath's Introduction to Christian Theology - I think everyone should read Gordon Fee's How to Read the Bible for All it's Worth (I got Osborne's Hermenutical Spiral not knowing it was being updated so I felt jipped). Ladd is goo for a NT Theology and Bruce Waltke has a new OT Theology I would recommend. As to Church History _ Shelly is good though I might recommend Roger Olsen's The Story of Christian Theology.