Marc Cortez wrote a four part series on books he considers to be “must reads” (see here, here, here, and here). At the same time I received an email asking me for a list of ten books I consider to be must reads. Honestly, other than the Scriptures themselves, and maybe literature from the various eras in which the Scriptures were written, I don’t have any “must reads”. That being said I will list ten books that I have found to be helpful.
Gordon D. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul
This book provided me with the opportunity to think deeply about how the Apostle Paul understood the person and the work of the Holy Spirit. It has greatly shaped my reading of Pauline literature as well as my own Christian living.
Dietrich Bonh0effer, Life Together
This book singlehandedly ended any interest I had in the emerging church movement. When Bonhoeffer writes that if you love your vision of the church more than the church herself you will only harm the church he put into words exactly what I needed to hear. As a Christian who has spent many years trying to figure out how I fit in the church this book helped me feel like part of this giant, messed up, redeemed, cosmic, historical family.
N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God: Christian Origins and the Question of God, V. 1; Jesus and the Victory of God: Christian Origins and the Question of God, V. 2; The Resurrection of the Son of God: Christian Origins and the Question of God, V. 3
No, I have not finished the series which is why I lumped them together. That being said, N.T. Wright has become one of my major influences over the years and it began when I read through The New Testament and the People of God about four years ago.
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
It may not be the content of Mere Christianity itself that impacted me as much as it has been the work and life of C.S. Lewis. I read Mere Christianity then The Pr0blem of Pain, The Screwtape Letters, and several other books. Often I find myself thinking in terms placed in my mind through the writings of Lewis.
Athanasius of Alexandria, Against the Heathen/On the Incarnation
I come from a very low-church background that was skeptical of the church catholic, the creeds, and especially the fathers. Athanasius was my first serious engagement with patristic thought and it relieved so many fears. I realized how hard the fathers fought to remain biblically faithful while proclaiming the gospel to their own context.
Roger Stronstad, The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke
As I wrestled with the similarities and differences between Lukan and Pauline Pneumatological language this book was brought to my attention. It provided me with essential categories that have shaped how I view these two together, complementing each other, providing a full bodied, canonical Pneumatology.
Basil of Caesarea, On the Holy Spirit
Basil gave me my first patristic look at the Holy Spirit. It established the Spirit’s role in the Trinity and the authority of the person of the Spirit. As I paired it with Athanasius’s Letters to Serapion I came to see the wonders of the doctrine of the Spirit in the early church.
John R. Levison, Filled with the Spirit
I have not finished this book yet but thus far it has opened my eyes to see the evolution of Pneumatology from the early Israelites to the early church. Pneumatological categories like life and resurrection have become even more prominent.
Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method
I have just begun engaging Gadamer and I am very exciting. I think he may provide me with a hermeneutical philosophy in which to do work on how the New Testament uses the Old Testament as well as general hermeneutics.
Michael O. Wise, Martin G. Abegg, and Edward M. Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls- Revised Edition: A New Translation
As I try to read the Old Testament in the New Testament writings it is helpful to see how Second Temple Judaism approached this task of interpreting Scripture. The Dead Sea Scrolls are a great resource for this investigation and this volume is helpful for the English reader.
I know this list is very random, but these are the books that I would say have shaped me the most of the last several years. I could have left something off the list that was more fitting. These are what came to mind,.