May 16, 2013

My Ten Favorite Textbooks

After about three years of work, I'm very close to completing my Bachelor degree in Christian Studies (with a major in Biblical Studies and a healthy dose of electives in theology) from Columbia Evangelical Seminary. I started out my studies at Southern Evangelical Seminary but transferred to CES shortly afterward. Along the way, I've done a lot of writing and even more reading. I've learned a tremendous amount and grown considerably as an interpreter/teacher of Scripture. These are the ten books that I found the most helpful along the way.

Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, the by John Frame - This was a great introduction to theological studies in general and systematics in particular. Required for Introduction to Systematic Theology

Genesis Unbound by John Sailhamer - Sailhamer cuts through the fog in the old-earth/young-earth debate and calls on both sides to reexamine the text of Genesis. Required for The Pentateuch.

God-Centered Biblical Interpretation by Vern Poythress - This is probably not an ideal choice for an intro to hermeneutics, but it's a great book nonetheless. It corrects a lot of the reductionism evident in standard hermeneutics texts and advocates an approach to biblical interpretation that takes into account the insights of various competing approaches. Required for Biblical Hermeneutics.

Language of God, the by Ron Julian, J. A. Crabtree, and Julian Crabtree - This was a great text to balance Poythress. The common-sense approach to hermeneutics advocated here is, in some ways, the opposite of the one advocated in God-Centered Interpretation. I benefited from reading both as they both have valuable insights to offer. Required for Biblical Hermeneutics.

Plowshares & Pruning Hooks: Rethinking the Language of Biblical Prophecy and Apocalyptic by D. Brent Sandy - This is a real paradigm-shifter for anyone who has been influenced by Dispensationalism's literalistic prophetic hermeneutic. Sandy explains how to read biblical prophecy in the way the authors actually intended rather than reading it through a modern, literalistic grid. Required for Old Testament Prophets.

Reason for God, the by Tim Keller - As far as I'm concerned, this book has taken the place of Mere Christianity as the single best popular-level book on Christian apologetics. Required for Apologetics.

Socratic Logic by Peter Kreeft - The most fun you'll ever have with a logic textbook. Required for Logic and Critical Thinking.

Sovereignty of God, the by A. W. Pink - I was already a convinced Calvinist when I read this book, but Pink really forced me to own up to the implications of my position. Required for Calvinistic Theology.

Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem - I was only required to read the introduction, but I went ahead and read the whole (1,200 page) book. Probably the best single volume systematic theology textbook. Required for Introduction to Systematic Theology.

Tactics: A Gameplan for Sharing Your Christian Convictions by Greg Koukl - Most apologetics textbooks are all theory, but this one is all about the practice of apologetics (and evangelism). Probably the single most helpful apologetics/evangelism book I've ever read. Required for Logic and Critical Thinking.

Honorable mentions: The Battle Belongs to the Lord by K. Scott Oliphint, God of Promise: Introducing Covenant Theology by Michael Horton, and The Pentateuch as Narrative: A Biblical-Theological Commentary by John Sailhamer

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention several of the excellent texts that I read to supplement my required reading. These books were often more helpful than the required texts.
  • Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church by Michael Lawrence
  • Case for Amillennialism, A by Kim Riddlebarger
  • End of the Law, the by Jason Meyer
  • God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology by James Hamilton
  • Inductive Bible Study by Robert Bauer and David Traina
  • Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants by Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum
  • New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, A by Robert Reymond
You can purchase any of these texts from:


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