Several years ago, I wrote three posts about pastors and their books. These posts were written because someone asked me to list ten books that every pastor should read.
Thousands of books are published every year. The number of good books dealing with Old Testament issues has multiplied in the last few decades so that it has become almost impossible to list only ten books that pastors should read.
Many pastors today do not have a seminary education. Their theological education has taken place in the church, at home, and through self-education. No one questions the commitment of self-educated ministers, but a seminary education uncovers an amazing world of new knowledge.
A seminary education brings a new and deeper challenge to the study of the biblical text. Pastors who have been fortunate enough to study Hebrew and Greek have discovered the hidden meaning of words found in the text of the Bible.
The study of Old Testament history helps students focus on the historical, political, religious, and social events that shaped Israelite society and provided the impetus for the preaching of the prophets.
The study of Old Testament theology and Old Testament ethics provides valuable insight into the proper understanding of ancient Israel’s religious ideas and beliefs. These courses focus on the study of the God of the Old Testament and his relationship with his people and how his people related to him.
A good seminary education provides students with guidelines for the interpretation of the biblical material in its historical and theological contexts.
The focus of my posts on pastors and their books was to provide a post-seminary education to pastors who have attended seminary and a mini-seminary education for pastors who have not.
The three posts mentioned above are:
1. Preachers and Their Libraries
2.Ten Books Pastors Should Read – Part 1
3. Ten Books Pastors Should Read – Part 2
These three posts were written in 2006. This means that the list is out of date and some of the books may be out of print.
Recently, a reader from the UK sent me an email saying that he has read all ten books. He also asked me if I could provide a list of ten books about the New Testament that every pastor should read.
His request led me to reread the posts I wrote about pastors and their books. I realized that the advice I gave sixteen years ago is still valid today.
So, I decided to republish and update the old posts. It will be impossible to completely rewrite the posts. I truly believe that some of the advice I gave then, is as good today as it was sixteen years ago.
I have asked my friend and former colleague Scot McKnight, Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary, to prepare a list of ten books that every pastor should read in order to gain a better understanding of the New Testament. Scot’s list will be published after I republish the posts dealing with the Old Testament.
I hope these posts will challenge pastors to build a good theological library and become self-educated theologians.
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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