Faculty Book Suggestions for New Theological Students

By Wycliffe Faculty

We surveyed the faculty members at Wycliffe College for recommendations of books and resources that new theological students (or those considering further theological study) ought to read, and here is a list of them by category!


Biblical Studies

1. Mark S. Gignilliat, Reading Scripture Canonically (Baker Academic, 2019). "It's meant to be a basic introduction by a veteran teacher . . ." (Professor Chris Seitz)

2. Bruce Longenecker, The Lost Letters of Pergamum (Baker, 2016). "It’s a novel, and fun to read, but it also provides a very accurate portrayal of the social world in which the NT texts were written." (Professor Stephen Chester)

3. John Schwarz, Word Alive! An Introduction to the Christian Faith (Tabgha Foundation, 1998). "A thumbnail sketch of Bible history, biblical books, Church history, key tenets of Christian faith and ethics, etc. . .  a sort of Coles notes, ideal for anyone without much knowledge of the big picture." (Professor Emeritus Glen Taylor)

4. The Bible Project:  "An excellent overviews of each biblical book as well as excellent series on how to read the Bible." (Professor Marion Taylor); "An easy entrée into the Biblical books - whether they read them or listen to them." (Professor Emerita Ann Jervis)

5. Richter, Sandra, The Epic of Eden: A Christian Entry into the Old Testament (IVP, 2008). She writes: "Whether you are a frustrated do-it-yourselfer or a beginning student enrolled in a course, this book will organize your understanding of the Old Testament and renew your enthusiasm for studying the Bible as a whole." (Professor Marion Taylor)

6. J. Todd Billings, The Word of God for the People of God: An Entryway to the Theological Interpretation of Scripture (Eerdmans, 2010). "A highly accessible introduction to reading scripture well. Attentive to basic hermeneutical questions, what reading Christianly means, and how the varied yet bounded work of the Spirit informs our reading." (Professor Lissa Wray Beal)  

7. Helen Paynter, Blessed are the Peacemakers: A Biblical Theology of Human Violence (Zondervan, 2023). "A scholar’s seasoned reflection on many troubling texts of violence, this volume is biblical engaged, pastorally honest, and theologically rich. A great resource for pastors, lay people, and scholars." (Professor Lissa Wray Beal)


Mission and Evangelism

1. Jehu Hanciles, Beyond Christendom (Orbis, 2008). "It offers an interdisciplinary exploration of how globalization, migration, and mission are linked, and is written by a scholar of African background." (Professor Judy Paulsen)



1. Robert Jenson, A Theology in Outline: Can These Bones Live? (OUP, 2016). "Concise and brilliant." (Professor Joe Mangina)

2. Lamin Sanneh, Summoned from the Margin: Homecoming of an African (Eerdmans, 2012). "Represents one of the best personal accounts of the kinds of Christian concerns and realities that properly shape many . . . of Wycliffe’s own commitments: evangelical Christian truth, cultural sensitivity, mission, scholarship, clarity, critical acuity, humility, global mission." (Professor Emeritus Ephraim Radner).

3. Jones, Beth Felker, Practicing Christian Doctrine: An introduction to Thinking and Living Theologically, 2nd ed. (Baker, 2014). "An inspiring, challenging and pastorally sensitive account of Christian doctrine that lays out a hospitable welcome mat for first-time students of systematic theology." (Professor Justin Stratis)



1. St Augustine, Confessions (trans. Chadwick, OUP, 1998; or trans. Boulding, New City, 2012 or online). "Often classified as a work of Christian apologetics, this is the spiritual autobiography of one of the Church’s seminal theologians and recounts how he discovered the grace of God’s love in Christ." (Principal Stephen Andrews)

2. George Herbert, The Country Parson and the Temple (orig. 1633; Paulist, 1981; also online). "No one captures better - and without any sentimentality - the beauty of the Christian faith and the heart of the pastor." (Professor Catherine Sider-Hamilton)



1. Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (OUP, 2007). "Students today need to be aware of global trends in Christianity." (Professor Emeritus Tom Power)

2. Wayne C. Booth, Gregory D. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, William T. Fitzgerald, The Craft of Research, 4th ed. (U of Chicago, 2016). "A text for the academically inclined, but ‘useful for many basic degree students too." (Professor Emeritus Alan Hayes)


Church and Christian community

1. Heinrichs, Steve, editor, Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry: Conversations on Creation, Land Justice, and Life Together (Herald Press, 2013). Coming from a diversity of contributors, this book ‘creates a space with quite different perspectives around the circle. It also employs a pleasant array of genres: mostly traditional essays, but encircled by poetry, biographical snippets, prayers, graphic narratives." (Research Fellow David Kupp)

2. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship (Touchstone, originally 1937), R.H Fuller, translator. "Bonhoeffer’s lectures to his ministerial students at Finkenwalde offer a profound exploration of what it means to follow Jesus today. Accessible enough for lay people, deep enough to challenge even the most theologically literate, Discipleship is a true modern day classic of Christian reflection. I encourage anyone weary of the 'cheap grace' of much contemporary Christianity to take up and read." (Professor Justin Stratis)


Practical Theology and Pastoral Care

1. Miller-McLemore, Bonnie J., ed., The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology (2012). "Presents an introduction to practical theology as a major area of Christian study and practice, including an overview of its key developments, themes, methods, and future directions." (Professor Boram Lee).

2. Patton, John, Pastoral Care in Context: An Introduction to Pastoral Care (Westminster/John Knox Press, 2005). "Patton identifies and compares three paradigms of pastoral care: the classical, the clinical pastoral, and the communal contextual, demonstrating the significant role of the church community as a source of care." (Professor Boram Lee)

3. Oden, Thomas C, Pastoral Theology: Essentials of Ministry (Harper & Row, 1983). "With the growing prevalence of psychotherapeutic approaches to pastoral care, the church has lost some of its pastoral identity in providing care. Oden’s book is a classical text of pastoral theology that allows us to explore the authentic role and function of pastoral care." (Professor Boram Lee)