What Should A New Pastor’s First 100 Books Be?

April 6, 2010


1. The Bible…



  1. Famine in the Land: A Passionate Call for Expository Preaching
    by Steven J. Lawson

  2. –>Be well covered in systematic theology: Grudem, Reymond, Berkhoff, Calvin
    –>Necessary language tools either in software or actual books
    –>Tyndale OT Commentaries. They are brief, but amazingly helpful. And, you will have the OT covered.
    selected NT commentaries including Schreiner and Moo on Romans.

    • Yeah, Grudem – the best one.

  3. Pilgrim’s Progress – Bunyan
    Explore the Book – J. Sidlow Baxter
    Henriksen commentary set
    Keil & Delitzsch commentary set

  4. John Piper’s, Brothers We Are Not Professionals

  5. Spiritual Disciplines for Christian Living – Don Whitney

    Humility – C.J. Mahaney

  6. Rediscovering Expository Preaching
    ~ John MacArthur

    Christian Counselor’s Manual, The
    ~ Jay E. Adams

    Preaching with Passion
    ~ Alex Montoya

    The Ministry We Need
    ~ R. Baxter

    Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry
    ~ John MacArthur

    Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Leadership
    ~ Alexander Strauch

  7. Old dead guys.

  8. Reformed Pastor – Richard Baxter
    Desiring God – John Piper
    Lectures to My Students ~ Charles Spurgeon

    But from 20 years of experience the best thing is to know your congregation and not try to move to fast in the ministry or you will not last.

  9. The best commentary on each book of the Bible.
    How People Change – Tim Lane and Paul Tripp
    Instruments in the Redeemers Hands – Paul Tripp
    Doctrine of God – John Frame
    Doctrine of the Knowledge of God – John Frame
    Doctrine of the Christian Life – John Frame
    Christ Centred Preaching – Bryan Chapell
    Christ Centred Worship – Bryan Chapell
    Trusting God – Jerry Bridges
    The Discipline of Grace – Jerry Bridges

    The rest on language helps and biblical interpretation around the hot potato issues in his local congregation.

  10. I’m sure there are many that I have not read and am missing as a result, but without a whole lot of thought and in no particular order, here are my 100…

    Berkhof: Systematic Theology

    Reymond: A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith

    Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion; Commentaries (22 volumes)

    Hendriksen/Kistemaker: NT Commentaries (12 volumes)

    Tyndale OT Commentaries (28 volumes)

    Piper: Desiring God; Brothers We Are Not Professionals

    Chapell: Christ-Centered Preaching; Christ-Centered Worship; Each for the Other

    Carson: Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor

    Nouwen: In the Name of Jesus

    DeYoung: Why We’re Not Emergent; Why We Love the Church (both with Ted Kluck); Just Do Something

    Bunyan: Pilgrim’s Progress

    Lewis: Mere Christianity; A Grief Observed; The Chronicles of Narnia; The Screwtape Letters

    Barrs: Learning Evangelism from Jesus; The Heart of Evangelism

    Keller: The Reason for God

    Ferguson: The Holy Spirit; Children of the Living God

    Clowney: The Church

    Matheson: Given For You

    Strawbridge: The Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism

    Stott: The Cross of Christ; Between Two Worlds

    Marshall & Payne: The Trellis and the Vine

    Wright: Jesus and the Victory of God; Evil and the Justice of God

    Phillips: Holding Hands, Holding Hearts

    Winter: RealSex

    Williams: Far as the Curse is Found

    Wittmer: Heaven is a Place on Earth; Don’t Stop Believing

    Wolters: Creation Regained

    Bridges: Transforming Grace

    Gonzalez: The Story of Christianity

  11. The collected works of Flannery O’Connor should be in there somewhere.

  12. Many of the above, along with:

    Carson: Cross & Christian Ministry; Call to Spiritual Reformation; Christ & Culture Revisited (and pretty much anything else he’s written!)

    Packer: Knowing God, Quest for Godliness

    Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad

    Hughes: Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome

    Biographies of M’Cheyne, Spurgeon, Carey, Luther, and Muller.

    Lots of books by CCEL authors.

  13. as a first-year-out-of-college pastor, I’m not sure I have the same qualifications to comment, but here are my thoughts (now that the throat clearing is done…)

    – Some books we had to read at college, which makes it hard to make a definitive list. I am rereading the Institutes although it was required reading then. Others I think would be worth it if I hadn’t read: Carson: Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor, Call to Spiritual Reformation; Leading from the Second Chair (I forget the authors).

    – Commentaries probably shouldn’t be on the reading list. They need to be on the shelves, of course. But chances are that I’m not going to be preaching/personally studying my way through the entire OT within my first 100 books of reading.

    – What has really surprised me in the lists so far was the lack of 3 categories: biographies (up until John’s comment), biblical theology, and ethics. For biographies, you can’t go wrong a lot of the time, so pick some people you’re interested in – I’m currently reading Diarmaid Maccullough’s work on Cranmer. For biblical theology, you can’t go past Graeham Goldsworthy. For ethics, I’d suggest reading a few of the big players, such as Oliver O’Donovan and Stanley Hauerwas. They aren’t easy going, but they’re worth it.

    – Others which no one has mentioned yet: Marshall and Payne: The Trellis and the Vine; anything which you are thinking of recommending to your congregation – anything apologetic/evangelistic by Keller, books which encourage bible reading/prayer (such as Ash’s new one on Psalm 119)

    – Also, chuck in a couple of well written not-specifically-Christian books. Whether something like Wolf Hall, last year’s Booker prize winner about Thomas Cromwell, poetry by John Donne, or Tolstoy…these will both help preachers in developing the ability to craft listenable sentences, and also will give good insights into humanity from time to time. That and occasionally it is good to remind/force yourself to take and break and be refreshed.

    Here endeth the rant 🙂

    • dmic,
      I thought for sure I had seen Goldsworthy on there already or i would have mentioned that. Did forget about ethics, though–nice catches!

  14. Him We Proclaim by Dennis Johnson

    CJ Mahaney – Humility and Cross-Centered Life

    The Cross He Bore by Frederick Leahy (actually buy all this man’s books!)

    Packer – Knowing God and Evangelism & The Sovereignty of God

    Will Metzger – Tell the Truth

    Paul Miller – Praying Life (his Loved Walked Among Us is good, too)

    Jack Miller – Outgrowing the Ingrown Church; Powerful Evangelism for the Powerless; and Heart of a Servant Leader

    The Puritan Paperback series by Banner of Truth

    Henry Scougal – The Life of God in the Soul of Man

    John Flavel – Keeping the Heart

    Letters of Samuel Rutherford and Letters of John Newton

    Biography of George Whitefield by Dallimore

    Biography of Jonathan Edwards by Marsden

    Jonathan Edwards – Religious Affections; and Charity and Its Fruits

    Agree with previous posters on D.A. Carson’s Cross and Christian Ministry and Call to Spiritual Reformation

    John Stott – Cross of Christ

    Graeme Goldsworthy – According to Plan

    Grudem’s Systematic Theology

    Hendriksen commentary series a good choice (though Stott’s Bible Speaks today is also a great resource for preaching)

    New pastors will more than likely find themselves counseling way more than they expect and need to be able to apply the gospel to people’s lives. The good folks at CCEF have a great and growing library of resources, including:

    David Powlison – Seeing with New Eyes and Speaking the Truth in Love

    Paul David Tripp – Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands and How People Change (with Tim Lane)

    Ed Welch – When People Are Big and God Is Small

    Tedd Tripp – Shepherding a Child’s Heart

    Download e-Sword and load it up with all the free stuff you can find. You can read Whitefield and Spurgeon sermons on-line.

  15. “God in the Dock” -Lewis
    “The Necessity of Prayer” -E.M. Bounds
    “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret” Dr. Howard Taylor
    “The Divine Conspiracy” -Dallas Willard
    “Pensees” -Pascal
    John Wesley’s Journal
    “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” -Stowe
    “The Hiding Place” Corrie 10 Boom

    just some to add to the discussion

  16. Lots of the above plus

    William Still – the work of the pastor

    Richard Baxter – The reformed pastor

    The cross centered life – CJ Mahaney

  17. Grudem’s systematic theology and John Walton’s “Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament.” That one is just amazing and really opens up the ancient world.

  18. Commentaries should be in the first 100 books … once in the pastorate you will get all sorts of questions about specific part of the Bible. You need to be prepared to put in the donkey work to guide your flock.

  19. my apologies Phil,

    I read the question as – what are the first 100 books a pastor should read. I did indicate that commentaries should be on the shelf (which implies sourcing them from somewhere)…but I don’t think that reading an entire commentary set would be among the first 100 books to read cover to cover

  20. I should think a new pastor would want to take some time to understand why people wouldn’t believe what he or she said, to consider arguments against Christianity/religion in general and be prepared to refute them. To that end, I’d suggest books like Christopher Hitchens’ God is not Great, Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation and/or The End of Faith. The best pastors don’t spend all their time in an echo chamber, they try to understand and reach out to others, and think about how their message might come across to people not already groomed to accept unquestioningly their every word.

  21. For those starting out in ministry, I’d recommend reading the entire Romans series by Dr.Lloyd-Jones (Banner of Truth) – the most helpful and edifying spiritual literature I have ever read. How essential it is for a preacher / pastor to have a clear grasp of the doctrine of justification – indeed, a clear grasp of the gospel.

  22. Here is what I’m currently reading

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: