Books Every Seminary Graduate Should Have Read

Let me first say that I did not have all the books listed below read by the time I finished seminary (either time, that is, some I didn’t read until after I was out of school altogether). Let me also say that I have not read every word of all of the books listed below. For instance, while I have read substantial portions of Calvin’s Institutes, I have not read the whole thing. So my apologies to you if you think that makes me a hypocrite. I still think the list is useful.

This is a list of books that I think a person who is theologically educated should have read or be planning to read.

Primary Texts


The whole Bible in the student’s mother tongue (sadly, this should not be assumed).

The whole New Testament in Greek

Genesis, Joshua, Joel, Jonah, and Ruth in Hebrew (or another substantial cross section)

Apocrypha and Jewish Literature

All of the Dead Sea Scrolls

1 Enoch

All of the Apocrypha

Early Christian Literature

The Apostolic Fathers (1 Clement, 2 Clement, the seven letters of Ignatius, Polycarp to the Philippians, the Martyrdom of Polycarp, the Didache, Barnabas, Hermas, Diognetus, Papias) in English. See Michael W. Holmes, ed., The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations

Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History

Theology and History

Irenaeus, On the Apostolic Preaching

Athanasius, On the Incarnation

Basil, On the Holy Spirit

Augustine, Confessions

Dante, Inferno

Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion

John Owen, Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers

The Baptist Confession of 1689

Jonathan Edwards, The End for Which God Created the World

Modern Secondary Literature

Bible and Interpretation

Stephen Dempster, Dominion and Dynasty: A Theology of the Hebrew Bible, NSBT (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2003).

George E. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans).

Thomas R. Schreiner, Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ: A Pauline Theology (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2001).

Thomas R. Schreiner, New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ

James M. Hamilton Jr., God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology

Theology, History, and Ministry

Roland Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther

Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church

Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology

J. I. Packer, Knowing God

John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad

David Wells, No Place for Truth

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