Ever wonder what it takes to get an M. Div? Well, for starters, it takes A LOT of reading, studying, and time.
There aren’t any shortcuts to the M. Div, but we’ve compiled a list of the 50 best books on divinity to help you put together a personal M. Div. library.
These books won’t give you an ‘official’ degree, but they will give you a powerful jumpstart on a personal journey to deeper biblical knowledge, theological understanding and spiritual growth.
Whether you’re studying to go into full-time ministry or you’re a seasoned preaching pastor–this collection of biblical books would be a powerful asset to your library.
Here are our recommendations for the 50 Books for Your Personal Master of Divinity Library.
6 Volumes for Bible Study (start with the fundamentals!):
Strong’s Bible Concordance – necessary for your word study.
The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary – because you need it!
Unger’s Bible Handbook – illustrations, maps and diagrams bring information to light making it more easily understood.
Synopsis of the Four Gospels (American Bible Society) – Revised and translated to English; used for parallel passages and the different perspectives included in each.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible – enough said.
Word Pictures in the New Testament (A.T. Robertson) – 6 volumes of English translation from Greek with nuances and meanings explained.
6 resources for theology:
Abstract of Systematic Theology (Boyce) – the premier handbook for Southern Baptists, this volume has broad appeal
Basic Theology (Ryrie) – accessible to laymen and graduates, this is a strong resource to keep near
Christian Theology – An Introduction (McGrath) – internationally acclaimed text
Essentials of Evangelical Theology (Bloesch) – a study of contemporary theology from an evangelical and reformed perspective
Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Ewell) – covering systematic, historical and philosophical theology
God, Revelation, and Authority (Henry) – a discussion in response to Humanism and its doctrine
4 sources for language study (extract deeper meaning from Scripture):
The Greek New Testament (Aland) – accessible and faithful rendering (also from the NA27)
Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar (Mounce) – you need to become fluent; here is a good resource.
Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament (Rienecker & Rogers) – learn tense, voice and mood of the Greek text.
Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Harris, Archer, & Waltke) – there is more than Greek in Scripture
3 Old Testament study resources:
A Popular Survey of the Old Testament (Geisler) – uniquely Christ-centered review of OT Scripture
A Survey of the Old Testament Introduction (Archer) – provides both a general ad specific point of view.
A Survey of the Old Testament (Hill & Walton) – balances literary, historical and theological issues with each book of the OT
2 New Testament study resources:
An Introduction to the New Testament (Carson & Moo) – focuses on historical questions about authorship, dates, sources and purpose of each book of the NT
New Testament Survey (Tenney) – excellent introduction for teacher, student and congregant to the NT
4 books on Church history (better to know where we’ve been):
Foxes Book of Martyrs (Foxe) – you need this book.
Baptists and the Bible (Bush & Nettles) – a look at how bibliology was understood in the 18th and 19th centuries
History of the Christian Church (Sheldon) – thorough review of church history including strong post-reformation times
The Story of Christianity (Gonzalez) – these 2 volumes present a good overview of church history
3 books on philosophy:
How Should We Then Live (Schaffer) – this needs no endorsement.
Philosophy & the Christian Faith (Brown) – impact of thoughts and ideas and their impact on the church over the last 400 years
The Consequences of Ideas (Sproul) – impact of history’s most influential philosophies
2 books on-ethics:
Ethics for a Brave New World (Feinberg & Feinberg) – a response to Huxley’s Brave New World and how close Huxley came in his 1932 publication
Principles of Conduct (Murray) – biblical basis for ethics in our culture
6 books on apologetics:
Classical Readings in Christian Apologetics (Bush – Editor) – selected readings of significance for apologetics
Dialogical Apologetics (Clark) – how to earn attention for the Gospel in contemporary culture
Evidence That Demands a Verdict (McDowell) – this should already be in your possession
Mere Christianity (Lewis) – so should this
Reasonable Faith (Corduan) – arguments for the truth of historic Christian faith
The Case for Christ (Strobel) – a presentation of the author’s journey from unbelief to faith
6 resources for preaching:
Between Two Worlds (Stott) – contemporary preaching is examined in light of current cultural objections
Biblical Preaching (Robinson) – modern-day classic that is a must-have for today’s preachers
Homiletical Handbook (Hamilton) – a deceptively simple primer on getting to the point!
Principles of Expository Preaching (Unger) – helpful advice and warnings for expositing the Word of God
The Hermeneutical Spiral (Osborne) – connects exegesis to theologies for solid biblical sermons
The 12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching (McDill) – the author’s lengthy career provide insights into preaching
3 resources for Missions:
A Concise History of the Christian World Mission (Kane) – overview of historical mission work
From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya (Tucker) – approachable, informative and honest look at the missionary’s life through the lens of history
Life and Work on the Mission Field (Kane) – factual experiences are shared to provide insight into the life of a missionary
4 books for Pastoral Leadership:
Criswell’s Guidebook for Pastors (Criswell) – a practical manual for the pastor of any size church
Effective Church Leadership (Callahan) – guide for pastors in building on their creativity to revitalize the flock
The Christian Pastor (Oates) – a look at today’s changing ministry and how to maintain the role of Pastor in the contemporary community
The Making of a Christian Leader (Engstrom) – management and human relations are addressed in this study of growth and development of leaders
1 book for personal devotion:
Morning and Evening (Spurgeon) – brief daily readings for your meditation times