The Personal M.Div – 50 Books for Ministry Enrichment

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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

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