I wish students were a bit more literate before they started theological education. So my top books – mostly short books designed for lay folks – to read before starting seminary or divinity college are:
Andrew Cameron and Brian S. Rosner (eds.), The Trials of Theology: Becoming a “Proven Worker” in a Dangerous Business (Fearn, Ross Shire: Christian Focus, 2010).
Gordon D. Fee and Douglas K. Stuart, How To Read the Bible For All Its Worth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003).
N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus (London: SPCK, 2000).
Philip S. Johnston (ed.), The IVP Introduction to the Bible (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2006).
Mark A. Noll, Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1997).
Tony Lone, The Lion Concise Book of Christian Thought (Oxford: Lion, 1996).
J.I. Packer, Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993).
John Stott, Basic Christian Leadership: Biblical Models of Church, Gospel, and Ministry (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2002).
That is nine books, what should number ten be?