You will need more than one cappuccino to make it through any of the books below, but it will be time well spent! Whether you are looking for a comprehensive understanding of a biblical topic (e.g., sin) or a more "systematic" treatment of doctrine (e.g., the Trinity), you will find it here. Oh...and I usually recommend hardcopies for theology books. Kindle is great, but theology nerds only feel satisfied when there are as many notes in the margin as there are words on the page. Added bonus: carrying them will spare you a trip to the gym!

By using the links below, a small percentage of your purchase will go to support Jesus at 2AM.


Theology for the Community of God by Stanley Grenz

This is an excellent introduction to systematic theology. It covers all the major doctrines of faith in a balanced and scholarly manner, while being quite easy to read. If you are new to systematics or looking for a reliable reference book on Protestant theology, this is the book for you!

A Theology of the New Testament by George Ladd

This was my first introduction to New Testament theology and, in my opinion, remains the best of its kind. It covers all the major theological topics found in the New Testament, and focuses on them through the lens of Jesus's central proclamation: the presence of the kingdom of God. At 778 pages it's not a book you read cover-to-cover, so much as an in-depth reference on topics you'll confront when studying the Bible. If that seems like too much book, definitely take a look at Ladd's The Gospel of the Kingdom. It's a much-abridged but excellent version of this book.

A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament by Birch, Brueggemann et al.

Essential to understanding Jesus and the New Testament is the ability to trace the theological themes of the Old Testament (which - given the way the OT is arranged - can be a challenge!). Enter this exceptional book by some of the finest scholars of our generation. It makes the OT vastly more accessible and helps trace the larger biblical narrative through nearly 2,000 years of Israel's history. Brilliant!

A History of Christian Theology by William Placher

For those interested in the development of doctrine over the centuries, this is the book for you! An exceptional scholar, Placher explains the core doctrines of the church - and their evolution - with clarity and precision. This volume will be equally satisfying to your inner theology and history nerds and you will come away with deep insight into why the church believes what it believes.

Narratives of a Vulnerable God by William Placher

This one makes my must-read list. is a work of genius. After a lifetime studying the history of theology, this is Placher's original contribution to the subject. While upholding all of the core doctrines of the church, Placher argues that God's fundamental nature of love has not been sufficiently incorporated into systematic theology and then proceeds to reinterpret theology with divine love at the center. This was a life-changing read for me. I cannot recommend it more enthusiastically.

The Theology of the Book of Revelation by Richard Bauckham

No book in the Bible is more regularly misunderstood than the book of Revelation. This is doubly tragic, as how one understands the end of a story greatly influences how they read the rest of it. In this stunningly short and readable book, eminent NT scholar Richard Bauckham unveils the symbolism of John's vision and reveals a deeply moving call to trust in the love of God amidst fear and suffering. This, too, is on my must-read list.

Essentials of Christian Theology ed. William Placher

What's often missing in contemporary theological debate is the ability to hear from both sides. Here Placher pairs highly respected scholars to compare and contrast views on core issues in modern theology. If you are interested the theological conversations taking place in the 21st century, start here!

The Word of God for the People of God by Todd Billings

Full disclosure: Todd is a friend (we went to seminary together) and I love him and this book. It is less a discussion of doctrine and more a look at how to think theologically. I resonate deeply with his vision of biblical interpretation and the conclusions he draws. Before anyone argues about what the Bible intends to communicate, they should have to read this book!

Scroll to top