The first five books every young pastor needs
This morning I want to write about one of my favorite subjects- Books. Specifically, I want to share my recommendations for the first five books that every young pastor needs to purchase. As Pastors, we rely heavily on a number of tools that help us to examine and understand the Scriptures. Like a carpenter’s tool belt, the Pastor’s library represents the tools of his trade. Here are my suggestions on the first five books that will help you to get started reading, interpreting and preaching the Scriptures.
1.) Thompson Chain Reference Bible– There is an amazing number of good study Bibles on the market today but my favorite is still the Thompson’s Chain Reference. There are two reasons I say this: First, the Thompson’s is easy to use. Literally you can learn to use it in about five minutes. Second, it gives you access to the best commentary ever written – The Bible. Rather than giving you lengthy notes, the Thompson’s simply points you to other Scripture passages related to the passage and allows the Scripture to interpret Scripture.
2.) Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance- It may seem simple but this is still one of the best tools for digging into the Scripture. Once you learn how to use the numbering system you will be able to do deeper word studies. This is the single most used tool in my Library besides my Bible. Once you have a good study Bible, make this your second purchase and then learn how to use it.
3.) Holman Bible Dictionary- When reading or studying the Bible you will sometimes come across names of people, places and things that are unfamiliar. When this happens you need a good Bible dictionary to help you. The Holman Bible Dictionary is my favorite go to resource when this happens.
4.) Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament– Once again there is an incredible amount of resources available for the Preacher when it comes to doing Word study, but one of the easiest and most accessible is still the Vine’s. The benefit of the Vine’s is that you do not need knowledge of Greek or Hebrew to use it. The words are keyed to the Strong’s Concordance number
5.) Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology- This is a tool that I find myself going back to often. Once I have discovered the theological issues and topics in a passage I will often need additional information. Grudem is my go to resource for these instances. His glossary and subject index are thorough and make this a very accessible volume.
Once you have these five books on your desk you are ready to add others and to build your Library throughout your career.
Let me close this post with a word about commentaries. You will notice that there are no commentaries listed here. I would strongly suggest assembling these tools before going out and purchasing commentaries, but once the basic tool kit is assembled you will want to start adding some of the best works by Bible commentators. I would suggest buying commentaries on specific books as you preach/teach through various books. So for instance, if you are going to preach/teach through Genesis, go out and find three or four of the best commentaries on Genesis and buy them. As you work through the Scripture continue to build your Library.
Joe Buchanan is the