By Mike Bird
My top five books to read after seminary, for continuing education and edification, are:
N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God.
Now over 20 years old, this book revolutionized my understanding of Jesus and the Gospels, read it if you haven’t already. For me this was like leaving the Matrix. If you can’t handle the scholarly depth, then go for its smaller twin brother, The Challenge of Jesus. Read with two pairs of socks, first pair will be blown off!
Scot McKnight, King Jesus Gospel. [SMcK: I didn’t put Bird up to this.]
Probably Scot’s most important book, offers a kingdom perspective on gospel, assumes a high christology, without reducing gospel to an abstract transaction of sin and merit. In my experience, this book causes a complete rearrangement of the theological furniture in the heads of many Christians. This makes book makes evangelicals renew their interest in the evangel.
Preston Sprinkle, People to Be Loved.
Let’s be honest, sexuality and gender, gay marriage, etc. are the big issues of today, and Preston’s book is a great way to face these with theological depth, regard for biblical authority, Christ-like compassion, and genuine humility. Necessary reading for anyone heading into pastoral ministry.
Simon Chan, Grassroots Asian Theology.
I was initially going to give this book a cursory glance, but Chan sucked me in. Looking at theology in Asian perspective really opened my mind, so important given the large Chinese and Asian diaspora we have in my own country Australia, and the same is true in the USA.
Don’t give up reading the classics, start with the apostolic fathers and then work your way across the Christian tradition. Ideally make every second book you read something from church history. In the AF, I recommend Michael Holmes’s translation. I really like the Epistle to Diognetus, great message for Christians today!