“What are you reading right now?” For some, that is a question of pure delight because they get to spew everything that they’ve been learning from the books they’ve been devouring in their free time. For others, its a time of hemming and hawing because they sincerely want to read, but its really hard for them to turn off Sportscenter…or American Idol.
My goal when it comes to reading is to read at least one chapter a day from some book on biblical theology (my favorite), systematic theology, a doctrine, student ministry, a Christian biography, etc. Do I do this every day? Not even close…but it is my goal. And I’ve always heard that if you don’t aim at a specific goal, then you’re sure to hit it every time…nothing.
But the majority of my reading comes from my study for Sundays and Wednesdays…lessons and sermons. I don’t read whole books these, rather I have a few favorite reference books that I really DIG. When it comes to preaching on Wednesdays nights through the whole Bible (biblica theology, christocentrism), here are my favorite books I look through:
“New Bible Commentary” by Wenham, Motyer, Carson, and France
“The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the OT” by Edmund Clowney
“A House For My Name” by Peter Leithart
“According to Plan” by Graeme Goldsworthy
“God’s Big Picture” by Vaughn Roberts
Others that I look through if I have a little extra time:
“The Reformation Study Bible” by R.C. Sproul
“The Kingdom of Christ” by Dr. Russell Moore
“Dominion and Dynasty” by Stephen Dempster
“The Message of the OT” by Dr. Mark Dever
And a good commentary in either the series by R. Kent Hughes or the New American Commentary (NAC)
What I love about these books when going through biblical theology is that you only have to read a couple of pages for each book. If I’m teaching on Numbers 11-13 that night, then usually each book will only talk about it for one or two pages since they’re trying to cover the whole Bible theologically in view of Christ.
Now, how bout Systematic Theology? This is a little tougher one. I mostly study my seminary notes for this. I had about 300 hours of systematic theology or doctrinal lectures there. Yes, I’m a total nerd, so shut up ;). I have a ginormous (can anyone name that movie?) amount of notes from seminary…and they one of my most precious possessions. But here are some other helpful sources I use to study when teaching through systematic theology and doctrine to students:
“Systematic Theology” by Wayne Grudem
“New Dictionary of Biblical Theology” by Alexander, Rosner, Carson, and Goldsworthy
Others that I study if I get a second wind…or if I happen to have a free minute:
Anything in the “Contours of Christian Theology” series
“A Theology for the Church” by Daniel Akin
Student pastors let me encourage you, be reading in your life. I know SO MANY who just don’t have the time to go to seminary and study for 4 years straight. That’s fine! But let me encourage you to drop something in your life and pick up a book once a day to study, read, and continue learning. Well, there you have it. Those are a few of my top choice books when I’m studying for biblical and systematic theology. My goal is to study to show my self approved!