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.