Hot List for Pastors

I thought I'd just give a new post in answer to mwh's question/comment to the previous post.

"Do you have a short, hotlist of instructional and (in)formative books that all ministers (broadly speaking) should have read? 5-10 books? Books that should form the backbone or framework of our thinking and ministry?"

I'll try to do it in ten!

Assuming a Bible and some kind of word study tool(s), I would say the following ten would be high priority.

1. The Hermeneutical Spiral, Grant Osborne (or a similar introductory text-book to hermeneutics, such as Fee and Stuart's How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth)

2. New Bible Dictionary (or a similar one volume Bible dictionary, or multi-volume series of Bible encyclopedias; I personally prefer the IVP series that includes: Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, etc., but much of that kind of material would be available in this volume in more condensed form)

3. New Bible Commentary (or a similar one volume Bible commentary - although this is the best one I know of)

4. Christ-centered Preaching, Bryan Chapell (I think this is the best book on homiletics available)

5. According to Plan, Graeme Goldworthy (for an introduction to biblical theology)

6. Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem (or another solid evangelical Systematic Theology, such as Millard Erickson, Robert Culver, or Robert Reymond)

7. Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, Paul David Tripp (the best overview of the dynamics of biblical counseling that I've read)

8. The Deliberate Church, Mark Dever (a great one-stop source of practical instruction on various elements of church-life, including worship, preaching, and leadership)

9. The Christian Minister, Charles Bridges (or another well-rounded book on the ministry - others that would compete are The Reformed Pastor, Richard Baxter or Lectures to My Students, C. H. Spurgeon)

10. The Works of Jonathan Edwards (the 2-volumes published by Banner of Truth; one could hardly get more for the money, as these volumes include biography, history, sermons, and Edwards' best theological works - every preacher needs something like this to feed his soul. Another possibility would be The Works of John Owen, but they fill up 16 volumes!)

I'm aware that this leaves out a lot - apologetics, Old and New Testament introduction, more thorough treatments of various aspects of theology, etc. But if I could only have ten, I'd want a list that looked something like this.


mwh said...

Ten strikes! Too bad we're not bowling. :-)

I haven't had the opportunity to read a single book on this list. I always keep hoping the future will hold more time for reading. But alas, experience tends to argue for the opposite.

Thanks for answering my request.

Brian G. Hedges said...

My guess is that you have read or have books that are similar in nature. Fee instead of Osborne, Ericksen instead of Grudem, enough commentaries to make up for not having the one volume I recommend, etc. This list is an "if I could ONLY have ten" list. If I could have more, the choices might be different and (at least somewhat) similar to what you do have. (I've seen your library and its not shabby!)

mwh said...

"Oh let not my lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once."

Do you want to add five word study tools (by which you qualified your statement to begin with)?

Just curious.

Brian G. Hedges said...

Well, I will - but I may show my ignorance here. What I use is pretty simple:

1. A Greek Testament. I have the United Bible Societies text, 4th edition.

2. A Greek Concordance. Mine is in the Online Bible program. The only problem is that its keyed to the TR instead of the UBS4. But with a little cross-checking with good commentaries and/or the USB4, it works fine. I use this just to locate where Greek words are used in the NT.

3. A Greek Lexicon. Of course the standard is BDAG. I don't have it, b/c I've never wanted to plunk down the money. Again, I use the one on Online Bible. I'm wary of citing it for authoritative definitions, but it seems fairly accurate in giving the basic lexical meaning of the word. Some day, I'll get the BDAG.

4. Some kind of parsing guide. I again use what's available in my software. It's not very sophisticated, but I don't know Greek well enough for much more info than it gives me. If I want to make a point out of a case, mood or tense, I usually check it with (1) a Greek Grammar (I've got two, a basic text and an advanced text), (2) a good commentary, or (3) someone who knows Greek better than I do. I try not to go out on limbs with Greek (especially after reading Exegetical Fallacies!!)

5. A Theological Dictionary. I don't use this often, but I do have the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT, edited by Kittel). I think most contemporary scholars have concluded that its not always reliable, but I have it for occasional reference.