Let me first say that I did not have all the books listed below read by the time I finished seminary (either time, that is, some I didn’t read until after I was out of school altogether). Let me also say that I have not read every word of all of the books listed below. For instance, while I have read substantial portions of Calvin’s Institutes, I have not read the whole thing. So my apologies to you if you think that makes me a hypocrite. I still think the list is useful.
This is a list of books that I think a person who is theologically educated should have read or be planning to read.
The whole Bible in the student’s mother tongue (sadly, this should not be assumed).
The whole New Testament in Greek
Genesis, Joshua, Joel, Jonah, and Ruth in Hebrew (or another substantial cross section)
Apocrypha and Jewish Literature
All of the Dead Sea Scrolls
All of the Apocrypha
Early Christian Literature
The Apostolic Fathers (1 Clement, 2 Clement, the seven letters of Ignatius, Polycarp to the Philippians, the Martyrdom of Polycarp, the Didache, Barnabas, Hermas, Diognetus, Papias) in English. See Michael W. Holmes, ed., The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1999).
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History
Theology and History
Irenaeus, On the Apostolic Preaching
Athanasius, On the Incarnation
Basil, On the Holy Spirit
Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will
John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion
John Owen, Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers
The Baptist Confession of 1689
Jonathan Edwards, The End for Which God Created the World
Modern Secondary Literature
Bible and Interpretation
Stephen Dempster, Dominion and Dynasty: A Theology of the Hebrew Bible, NSBT (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2003).
George E. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans).
Thomas R. Schreiner, Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ: A Pauline Theology (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2001).
Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments
Theology, History, and Ministry
Roland Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther
Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church
Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology
Tom Nettles, The Baptists: Beginnings in Britain
J. I. Packer, Knowing God
J. I. Packer, “Introduction to the Death of Death in the Death of Christ” (essay)
John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad
John Stott, The Cross of Christ
David Wells, No Place for Truth