so i confessed in my last post that I struggle with feelings of arrogance that to be a better pastor one should have an MDiv – we all know that while that can be a good way to go, it is not absolute and some may have no desire, time or money to do any such thing. They could also already have a solid education and really don’t need anymore. So what to do then?
I think it is possible to give oneself a fairly decent theological education and not go to seminary. How do you do that?
In the words of Doug Stuart: the good exegete reads many books.
So I thought I’d offer a list of possibilities to get people moving in the right direction. Again, these are possibilities and others may have other suggestions as well.
For Bible Study:
Traina and Bauer. Inductive Bible Study: A Comprehensive Guide to the Practice of Hermeneutics. Baker Academic, 2011.
Robertson McQuilkin. Understanding and Applying the Bible Revised and Expanded(Moody Publishers, 2009).
Gordon Fee. How to Read the Bible For All It’s Worth, 3rd ed. Zondervan, 2003.
Klien, Blomberg and Hubbard. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation, Revised Edition. Thomas Nelson, 2004.
Along with these get a good Bible Dictionary (such as Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary) and a Concordance (such as The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible) and you’ll do fine with the study part of ministry.
For Theological Studies:
Millard Erickson’s Christian Theology. Baker Academic, 1998).
Alister E. McGrath’s The Christian Theology Reader, 4th Edition. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
Bruce Waltke’s An Old Testament Theology: A Canonical and Thematic Approach. Zondervan, 2007.
Geroge Eldon Ladd’s A Theology of the New Testament. Eerdman’s, 1993.
James Braga’s How to Prepare Bible Messages, 35th Aniv Edition (Multnomah Books, 2005). In my opinion, this is the best place to start bar none.
Michael Quicke’s 360 Degree Preaching: Hearning, Speaking, Living the Word (Baker Academic, 2003).
Fred Craddock’s Preaching, 25th Aniv Edition. Abingdon Press, 2010).
For general counseling or pastoral care issues:
Robert Bolton’s People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts (Touchstone, 1986). This isn’t expressly Christian but a great book for learning how to interact with others in healthy ways.
David K. Switzer’s Pastoral Care Emergencies (Creative Pastoral Care and Counseling) (Ausburg Fortress Press, 2000).
Jay E. Adam’s Competent to Counsel (Zondervan, 1986).
Understanding your pastoral vocation:
Read Eugene Peterson’s Under the Unpredictable Plant: An Exploration in Vocational Holiness (Eerdmans, 1994) and his latest book The Pastor: A Memoir (HarperOne, 2011).
These are just some basics and I am sure I could add more, but I’ll just leave it here for now.
Read these books, follow them closely, do what they suggest, and you will do well.
Feel free to add suggestions in the comments.