books for thought

These lists are very selective and not meant to represent the classics in each field. These lists simply suggest good starting points, particularly for those interesting in becoming familiar with the big ideas.


Biblical Theology

Goheen, Michael W., and Craig G. Bartholomew. The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2004.

Hafemann, Scott J. The God of Promise and the Life of Faith: Understanding the Heart of the Bible. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2001.

Hamilton Jr., James. God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2010.

Lawrence, Michael. Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church: A Guide for Ministry. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2010.

McKnight, Scot. The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2011.

Piper, John. God’s Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 1998. Includes republication of Jonathan Edwards’ The End for Which God Created the World.

Schreiner, Thomas. Magnifying God in Christ: A Summary of New Testament Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2008.

Wright, N. T. How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels. New York, N.Y.: Harper, 2011.

Chinese Christianity

Aikman, David. Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power. Lanham, MD: Regnery, 2003.

Bays, Daniel H. A New History of Christianity in China. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

Cao, Nanlai. Constructing China’s Jerusalem: Christians, Power, and Place in Contemporary Wenzhou. Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2010.

Cook, Richard R., and David W. Pao, eds. After Imperialism: Christian Identity in China and the Global Evangelical Movement. Eugene, Ore.: Pickwick, 2011.

Liao, Yiwu. God is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China. New York, N.Y.: HarperOne, 2011.

Tan, Hann-Tzuu (Joey). The Chinese Way––Contextualizing the Gospel for the Chinese. Kindle Edition. Self-Published, 2012.

Chinese Culture

An Introduction to the Mainland Chinese Soul. Raleigh, N.C.: LEAD Consulting, 2001.

Hu, Wenzhong, and Cornelius Lee Grove. Encountering the Chinese: A Guide for Americans. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press, 1991.

Hwang, Kwang-Kuo. Foundations of Chinese Psychology: Confucian Social Relations. New York, N.Y.: Springer, 2011.

Liu, Dilin. Metaphor, Culture, and Worldview: The Case of American English and the Chinese Language. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2002.

Sun, Catherine Tien-Lun. Themes in Chinese Psychology. Cengage Learning: Singapore, 2008.

Wasserstrom, Jeffrey N. China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford: Oxford Press, 2010.

Zhang, Haihua, and Geoffrey Baker. Think Like Chinese. Annandale, N.S.W.: Federation Press, 2008.

Contextualization and Contextual Theology

Bevans, Stephen. Models of Contextual Theology. Rev. and expanded ed. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2002.

Clark, David K. To Know and Love God: Method for Theology. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2003.

Cook, Matthew, Rob Haskell, Ruth Julian, and Natee Tanchanpongs, eds. Local Theology for the Global Church: Principles for an Evangelical Approach to Contextualization. Pasadena, Calif.: William Carey Library, 2010.

Flemming, Dean. Contextualization in the New Testament: Patterns for Theology and Mission. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2005.

Jenkins, Philip. The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Moreau, Scott. Contextualization in World Missions: Mapping and Assessing Evangelical Models. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2012.

Nicholls, Bruce J. Contextualization: A Theology of Gospel and Culture. Vancouver, BC: Regent College, 2003.

Ott, Craig, and Harold A. Netland, eds. Globalizing Theology: Belief and Practice in an Era of World Christianity. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2006.

Richards, E. Randolph, and Brandon J. O’Brien. Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible. Downers Grove, Ill. IVP Books, 2012.

Tennent, Timothy C. Theology in the Context of World Christianity: How the Global Church Is Influencing the Way We Think about and Discuss Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2007.

Vanhoozer, Kevin, ed. Everyday Theology: How to Read Cultural Texts and Interpret Trends. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2007.

Wu, Jackson. “The Honor of God in the Shame of Christ: A Theological Contextualization from Chinese Culture.” Ph.D diss., Wake Forest, N.C.: Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2012.

Culture and Worldview

Elmer, Duane. Cross-Cultural Conflict: Building Relationships for Effective Ministry. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP, 1993.

Elmer, Duane. Cross-Cultural Connections: Stepping Out and Fitting In Around the World. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2002.

Goheen, Michael W., and Craig G. Bartholomew. Living at the Crossroads: An Introduction to Christian Worldview. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2008.

Hiebert, Paul. Transforming Worldviews: An Anthropological Understanding of How People Change. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2008.

Hudson, Carrie Anne. Redefining Home: Squatty Potties, Split Pants, and Other Things that Divide My World. Brenham, TX: Lucid Books, 2012.

Nisbett, Richard E. The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently . . . and Why. New York, N.Y.: Free Press, 2003.

Stewart, Edward C. American Cultural Patterns: A Cross-Cultural Perspective. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press, 1972.

Wolters, Albert. Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1985.

Evangelism and Gospel

Carson, D. A. “What is the Gospel?––Revisited.” Pages 147–70 in For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper. Edited by C. Samuel Storms and Justin Taylor. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2010.

Dever, Mark. The Gospel and Personal Evangelism. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2007.

Dickson, John. The Best Kept Secret of Christian Mission: Promoting the Gospel with More Than Our Lips. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2010.

–––––––. “Gospel as News: ευαγγελ- from Aristophanes to the Apostle Paul.” New Testament Studies. Vol 53, 212–30.

Green, Michael. Evangelism in the Early Church. Revised. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2004.

McKnight, Scot. The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2011.

Newman, Randy. Questioning Evangelism: Engaging People’s Hearts the Way Jesus Did. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 2004.

Packer, J. I. Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP, 2008.

Family (Marriage and Parenting)

Tripp, Tedd. Shepherding a Child’s Heart. *****

James, Stephen and David Thomas. Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys.

Plowman, Ginger. Don’t Make Me Count to Three!

Rainer, Art and Thom. Raising Dad: What Fathers & Sons Learn from Each Other.

Thomas, Gary. Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls.

Wilson, Douglas. Standing on the Promises: A Handbook of Biblical Childrearing.

Driscoll, Mark and Grace. Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together.

Andreas J. Kostenberger. God, Marriage, and Family.

Leman, Kevin. Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage.

Thomas, Gary. Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy.

Wright, H. Norman and Wes Roberts. Before You Say “I Do”: A Marriage Preparation Manual for Couples   (The Wookbook)

Wright, H. Norman. After You Say “I Do”: Making the Most of Your Marriage.

Honor and Shame (in Social Sciences, Theology, and Missiology)

deSilva, David A. Honor, Patronage, Kinship & Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP, 2000.

––––––. The Hope of Glory: Honor Discourse and New Testament Interpretation. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1999.

Gao, Jun, MingYi Qian, and Ai Min Wang. “Differentiating Shame and Guilt from a Relational Perspective: A Cross-Cultural Study.” Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal 38, no. 10 (December 2010): 1401–7.

Georges, Jayson. “From Shame to Honor: A Theological Reading of Romans for Honor-Shame Contexts.” Missiology 38, no. 3 (July 2010): 295–307.

Ho, David Yau-fai. “On the Concept of Face.” American Journal of Sociology 81, no. 4 (1976): 866–84.

Hu, Hsien Chin. “The Chinese Concepts of ‘Face’.” American Anthropologist 46, no. 1 (March 1944): 45–64.

Li, Jin, Lianqin Wang, and Kurt W. Fischer. “The Organisation of Chinese Shame Concepts?” Cognition & Emotion 18, no. 6 (October 2004): 767–97.

Moxnes, Halvor. “Honour and Righteousness in Romans.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 32 (1988): 61–77.

––––––. “Honor and Shame.” Biblical Theology Bulletin 23, no. 4 (1993): 167–76.

Müller, Roland. Honor and Shame: Unlocking the Door. Bloomington, Ind.: Xlibris, 2001.

Neyrey, Jerome H. Honor and Shame in the Gospel of Matthew. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998.

Wan, Enoch. “Practical Contextualization: A Case Study of Evangelizing Contemporary Chinese.” Global Missiology 1, no. 1 (October 2003). index.php/english/issue/view/27.


Allen, Roland. Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1962.

Ashford, Bruce, ed. Theology and Practice of Mission: God, the Church, and the Nations. Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2011.

Bosch, David. Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1991.

Goheen, Michael W. A Light to the Nations: The Missional Church and the Biblical Story. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2011

Hiebert, Paul. Anthropological Insights for Missionaries. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1985.

Köstenberger, Andreas J., and Peter Thomas O’Brien. Salvation to the Ends of the Earth: A Biblical Theology of Mission. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP, 2001.

Newbigin, Lesslie. The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1995.

Piper, John. Let the Nations Be Glad!: The Supremacy of God in Missions. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1993.

Schnabel, Eckhard J. Paul the Missionary: Realities, Strategies and Methods. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP, 2008.

Sills, M. David. Reaching and Teaching: A Call to Great Commission Obedience. Chicago, Ill.: Moody Publishers, 2010.