SBC Life Articles

Books Every Seminary Student Should Read

We asked the six Southern Baptist seminary presidents to name three books they encourage every student to read. We agreed that the Bible is foundational to anyone in ministry and that seminary students, particularly in our increasingly biblically illiterate society, should have an intimate knowledge of God's Word. In addition, we stressed this list was not to be exhaustive — obviously seminary students must read much more — rather this list was meant to generate discussion.

Mark T. Coppenger
Midwestern Seminary, Kansas City, Missouri

Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
In a ministerial culture increasingly preoccupied with careerism, we must be reminded of the utterly Christian standard of self-forgetful sacrifice. These saints faced death when many of us will not tolerate inconvenience.

Christ and Culture by H. Richard Niebuhr
Why are you unlikely to see a devout Amish film critic or a devout Presbyterian hermit? Niebuhr provides a great grid for considering the way in which our theology positions us to shun, embrace, or wrestle with the world.

The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom
You know the old saying, "He's so open-minded that his brains leaked out." Unbeliever Bloom performs the autopsy. Gospel ministers do well to observe the gory proceedings.

William O. Crews
Golden Gate Seminary, Mill Valley, California

Visionary Leadership by Burt Nanus
The missing ingredient in most leadership today is the lack of vision. Although written for the "business world," this is the best book on vision I have found.

The Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren
I have given a copy of this book to every graduate of Golden Gate Seminary since the book was published. Every student will need this book now, or later. It's the best book on ministry I have read, ever.

Between Two Worlds: The Art of Preaching in the Twentieth Century by John R. W. Stott
An excellent book on preaching, it stirred me the first time I read it and stirs me again every time I pick it up. It makes me want to be a better preacher.

Kenneth S. Hemphill
Southwestern Seminary, Ft. Worth, Texas

Pilgrim's Progress by Paul Bunyan
No other book has had a greater impact on Christians through the years than this book which is written to help us deepen our spiritual walk. This book shows the importance of a consistent walk with the Lord.

Systematic Theology, Vols. 1 & 2 by James Leo Garrett
These volumes help the believer integrate his theology by a thorough understanding of the Word of God.

The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert C. Coleman
This was the first book given to me as a young pastor by my mentor Mark Corts. This book has greatly improved my understanding of evangelism and the practice of evangelism.

Charles S. Kelley
New Orleans Seminary, New Orleans, Louisiana

The Cross of Jesus Christ by John R. W. Stott
What Jesus did for us on the cross is the essence of Christianity. Stott discusses the atonement with such clarity and power that I wept when I read it.

George Whitefield: The Life & Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth Century Revival (2 vols.) by Arnold Dallimore
It is both a powerful history of the First Great Awakening and a fascinating biography of one of history's greatest evangelists. To read it is to be reminded of the sovereign power of God to bring revival under any circumstances.

Eating the Elephant by Thom Rainer
In a denomination in which 70 percent of all churches are plateaued or declining, the number one problem facing church leaders is how to change the focus of congregation from no growth to growth. Rainer discusses the kind of church most seminary graduates will lead and offers a clear model for change and practical steps on how to implement it.

R. Albert Mohler
Southern Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

The Christian Ministry by Charles Bridges
A classic treatise on the Scriptural nature of the Gospel ministry — and the causes of ministerial compromise and weakness.

Lectures to My Students by Charles Spurgeon
A treasury of practical, spiritual, and theological advice from "The Prince of Preachers." Spurgeon presented these lectures to his student ministers in the Preacher's School. Worth its weight in gold.

Abstract of Systematic Theology by James Petigru Boyce
The great systematic theology by the founder of Southern Seminary and the theological giant of nineteenth century Baptist life. A clear and trustworthy exposition of biblical doctrine.

L. Paige Patterson
Southeastern Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina

The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross by Leon Morris
This book focuses on the most critical event in revelatory and salvation history, namely the atoning sacrifice of our Lord. It is a superb exegetical and theological study of this event, which if properly understood puts the student well down the line in grasping everything from the incarnation to the return of the Lord.

The Anabaptist Story by William R. Estep
It acquaints the student with the beginning of Anabaptism in its most biblical expression, an expression which many of us believe has direct links with the development of British Baptists, and hence Baptists everywhere. The book will provide knowledge, inspiration, and sermon illustrations for the students.

Here I Stand by Roland Bainton
This is important not only because it provides essential information in our Reformation heritage, but also because it will teach the often absent qualities of courage and faith in the ministry.

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