You will find below my reading list for 2009.  You might call it my bibliography for the year.  I have tried to start the list out with things that people would find the most interesting, which for the readers of this blog I think would be the “average joe” section and “church leadership”.  However, for the resident theology nerds you will find a reading list for Biblical theology and exegetical works, as well as theological readings (primary and secondary) from the Patristic period all the way to the modern.  If I felt that a comment might be helpful, or if I wanted to strongly recommend a book I left my remarks next to the bibliograhical information in bold.  If you have any questions about the books themselves I would be happy to answer them.  Enjoy!  To see the list simply click through…


Carson, D.A. Basics for Believers:  An exposition of Philippians (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic 2008)
D.A. Carson provides an exciting, relevant, passionate and theological reading of Philippians. It is exactly what the title indicates, “Basics for Believers”. I would recommend this book as a good place to start for anyone (lay and ordained) who wanted to go deeper into Philippians while at the same time making the study relevant to day to day life.

Dever, Mark. The Message of the Old Testament (2006) A great simple introduction to the Old Testament.  Dever takes one book of the O.T. at a time and preaches through it.

Keller, Timothy. Counterfeit Gods (Dutton 2009) A must read.  Keller masterfully exposes our longing for Christ in our use of money, power, sex, etc.

Piper, John. Desiring God (Multnomah Publishers Inc 2004)
Piper explores the theme of “Christian Hedonism”, which is partially a reflection on Phil 1.22-23. While not explicitly a book on Philippians, Desiring God will no doubt introduce to various themes that we will stress as we study it together.

Mahaney, C.J. The Cross Centered Life (Multnomah) I gave this book to the Bishop.  Short, but I’ve read it many times in the space of just one year.


Church Leadership:

Gerber, Michael. The E Myth Manager (Harper-Business 1999) Selfishness is the primary motivating force behind this book.  I’m still not sure what I think about it.

Gilbert,Elizabeth.  Eat, Pray, Love (Penguin: New York 2006) A great book if you want to understand the weird spiritual buffet that is the typical postmodern “seeker”

Ogne and Roehl. Transformissional Coaching (B&H Publishing 2008)

Piper, John. The Supremacy of God in Preaching (Baker Books 2004) Excellent!  If you’re a preacher you need to read this.

Searcy and Thomas. Launch: Starting a New Church from Scratch (Regal Books) A good overview but not nearly enough to detail to get the job started properly.

Stetzer, Ed. Lost and Found (B&H 2009) Very helpful book on how to reach young adults.

Stetzer and Dodson. Comeback Churches (B&H 2007) A must read if you are part of the “mainline”.  Stetzer and Dodson show what strategies declining churches use to buck the system and start growing again.

Stetzer and Putman. Breaking the Missional Code (Broadman and Hullman 2006)


Barth, Karl. Epistle to the Philippians (Westminster: John Knox Press 2002)
Barth’s commentaries were criticized for being too theological, and not critical enough of the actual text (see his Romans commentary for a good example!) Nevertheless, Barth’s reading of Philippians is intellectually difficult, yet tremendously rewarding. A good read for anyone attempting to see how Biblical studies interacts with and shapes theological convictions.

F.F. Bruce. The Epistle to the Hebrews (Eerdmans, 1977) Like everything in the NICOT series, it is excellent.

Fee, Gordon. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians:  NICNT (Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans 1995)
The NICNT is perhaps my favorite commentary series, along with the NICOT. This work is for serious students of the Bible and may prove to be too intense for the average layman. For serious Bible students, you will not find a better scholarly approach to the Bible from an evangelical perspective than this series.

Fee, Gordon.  Pauline Christology (Hendrickson 2007) Not as useful as I had hoped in would be in understanding Paul’s Christology.  I would have preferred Fee try to systematize Paul’s thought a bit instead of taking it epistle by epistle.

Goldsworthy, G.  According to Plan:  The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible (Intervarsity Press: Downers Grove 1991) Good, but kind of like oatmeal.  Nourishing but nothing really exciting about it.

Goldsworthy, G. The Goldsworthy Trilogy (Paternoster Press: Waynesborogy 2001) See above.

Green, J.B. The Gospel of Luke (Eerdman’s 1997)

Hamilton, V.P.  The Book of Genesis: Chapters 1-17 (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids 1990) Superb.

Kline, M. Kingdom PrologueGenesis Foundations for a Covenantal Worldview (Wipf & Stock Publishers: Eugene 2006)

Lightfoot, J.B. St. Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians:  A revised text with introduction, notes and dissertations (London:  MacMillan and Co. 1903)
An Anglican Bishop from one hundred years ago, Lightfoot’s commentary is perhaps the least rewarding, however it is worth buying the book for his nearly one hundred page introduction on the Apostle Paul, the church in Philippi, and the letter itself. Priceless!

Middleton, J. Richard The Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1 (Brazos Press: Grand Rapids 2005) Woah.  A great book on the “Image of God” in Genesis ch. 1. 

Motyer, J.A. The Message of Philippians BST (Inter-Varsity: Downers Grove 1984)
The BST (Bible Speaks Today) series is a wonderfully accessible series where pastors and theologians work hard to bring the text with insight and energy into the realm of the day to day struggles and joys of your average Christ follower. A good choice for lay people and, exegetically a step up from Carson’s work.

Mounce, Robert. The Book of Revelation (Eerdmans, 1977)

O’Brien, Peter T. The Epistle to the Philippians:  A Commentary on the Greek Text NIGTC (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1991)
As per NICNT, BECNT is scholarly and evangelical. O’Brien’s commentary is a technical exposition from the Greek text which also deals in depth with form critical assumptions regarding the text. Because this book is highly technical, it will appeal to a very small audience. Nevertheless, it is valuable tool for the serious student of the Bible.

Silva, Moises. Philippians BECNT 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic 2005)
Silva gets a bit to hung up in the world of literary criticism for my taste, making this book difficult and at times tedious. Nevertheless, for those whose reading of Scripture tends to be deeply informed by literary and particularly form criticism, this book will be a useful tool.

Verhoef, Pieter. Malachi (Eerdmans 1987)

Vos, G.  Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments (Vera Press: East Peoria 2007)

N.T. Wright. Jesus and the Victory of God (Augsburg Fortress 1996) Simply wonderful, although I have my doubts and questions about some of the exegesis.  Nevertheless worth a close read.  Very rewarding.  Opened up my eyes to read the Gospels more clearly.

N.T. Wright. The New Testament and the People of God (Augsburg Fortress 1992) See above.

N.T. Wright. The Resurrection of the Son of God (Augsburg Fortress 2003) See above.

N.T. Wright. Justification (IVP Academic 2009) A blip will not.  I may write a review sometime in the near future.


Augustine Confessions in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers vol I.  Schaff, P edt. (Hendrickson: Peabody 2004)  Perhaps the more appropriate title would have been “Worship,” as Augustine’s Confessions is loaded with some of the most poetic, sublime paragraphs of worship I have ever read.  Heavily theological and philosophical, this work is a treasure trove.  I can’t believe I put it off this long.

Augustine City of God in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers vol II Schaff, P edt. (Hendrickson: Peabody 2004)  City of God has had a bit of resurgence in recent theological discussions thanks in no small part to the resurgence of North American Calvinism as well as the Cambridge group known as “Radical Orthodoxy.” 

Augustine On the Holy Trinity in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers vol 3:  Augustin:  On the Holy Trinity, Doctrinal Treatises, Moral Treatises First Series ed by Philip Schaff (Hendrickson Publishers: Peabody 2004)

Augustine Letters in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers vol 1: Prolegomena, Confessions, Letters First Series ed by Philip Schaff (Hendrickson Publishers: Peabody 2004)

Augustine, Homilies on John’s Gospel NPNF vol. 7 A great deal of Augustine’s exegesis is staggeringly unnecessary, nevertheless his homilies on John’s Gospel have many hidden treasures.  I read this almost once a year.

Cyril of Alexandria’s “Second Letter to Nestorius” in The Christological Controversy trans. and edt. by Richard A. Norris, Jr. (Fortress Press:  Philadelphia 1980) Absolutely essential if you want to engage the Christological debates surrounding and following Chalcedon.

Tertullian Prescription against the Heretics 7, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers (ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson; rept., Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 2004)

Gregory of Nazianzus “Oration on Holy Baptism” Ora XL in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers vol 7: Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory Nazianzen Second Seriesed by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (Hendrickson Publishers: Peabody 2004)


Hardy, Edward R. edt. Christology of the Later Fathers (Westminster John Knox Press: Louisville, London 2006)

Gonzales, J.L. a history of Christian Thought Vol. I:  From the Beginnings to the Council of Chalcedon (Abingdon Press: Nashville 1970)

Kelly, J.N.D. Early Christian Doctrines 5th Ed. (Continuum: London, New York: 2004) My personal favorite in terms of secondary sources for Patristic theology


De Lubac, Henri. Medieval Exegesis Vol 1:  The Four Senses of Scripture trans by Mark Sebanc (William B. Eerdmans Publishing:  Grand Rapids 1998) Surprisingly, understanding the “four senses of scripture” will greatly enhance your ability to read Luther, who employs the method regularly.

Pelikan, J. The Growth of Medieval Theology (600-1300) (University of Chicago Press: Chicago 1978) Absolutely indispensable.  Engaging, well written and accessible.

Pelikan, J. Reformation of Church and Dogma (1300-1700) (University of Chicago Press: Chicago 1984)


Calvin, John. Institutes on the Christian Religion. Ed. J.T. Mcneill (Westminster John Knox Press, 1980)  I read this once a year if not more than once.  What can I say?

Calvin, John. Commentary on Genesis vol. I (Baker Books, 2005) Calvin is a superb exegesis.  As I have really picked up my study of Genesis this year I am surprised how much Calvin could keep up with modern critical scholarship.  The man was brilliant.

Calvin, John. Commentary on Malachi vol 15 (Baker Books 2005)

Calvin, John. Philippians vol 21 (Baker Books: Grand Rapids) The great reformer brings his enormous intellect to bear on Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Calvin’s work is exegetically serious, however he was writting for the common man. For lay people this may be a challenge, yet no doubt richly rewarding.

Calvin, John. Hebrews  vol 22 (Baker Books: Grand Rapids)

Luther, Martin vol 42, (Concordia Publishing House: St. Louis 1958)

Luther, Martin. Commentary on Genesis in Luther’s Works vol 42. edt by Jaroslav Pelikan, Concordia Publishing House 1958 Luther’s full commentary of Genesis is several volumes long.  It took me two years to get through the whole thing.  Vol 42 however will only take you a few days.  Worth reading to understand what Luther means by the “image of God” and how it has been lost.

Martin Luther. Lectures on Hebrews LW vol. 29 Flatly disappointing.  Luther can at times be a disaster when it comes to exegesis.


Balserak, Jon. Divinity Compromised; A Study of Divine Accommodation in the Thought of John Calvin (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, 2006).

Battles, Ford Lewis. ‘God was Accommodating Himself to Human Capacity,’  in: Interpreting John Calvin, ed. Robert Benedetto (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997).  Superb!  A must read for understanding the full implications of Calvin’s Christology.

Bouwsma, William. ‘Calvin and the Renaissance Crisis of Knowing’ in: Articles on Calvin and Calvinism, vol VII, The Organizational Structure of Calvin’s Theology,ed. Richard Gamble (New York: Garland Publishing, 1992)

Bouwsma, William. John Calvin; A Sixteenth-Century Portrait (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988)

Dowey, Edward J., The Knowledge of God in Calvin’s Theology (New York: Columbia University Press, 1952)

Edmondson, Stephen.  Calvin’s Christology (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge 2004)

Gordon, Bruce. Calvin (Yale University Press, 2009) A gift from a good friend.  I haven’t read it yet but I will within the next two weeks and will post a review on the blog.

Haas, Guenther H.  The Concept of Equity in Calvin’s Ethics (Paternoster Press: Carlisle, Cumbria 1997)

Helm, Paul. ‘Divine Accommodation’ in John Calvin’s Ideas (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) Really heady, rewarding stuff.  Helm is at odds with a few scholars on the issue of “accommodation” but I find him convincing.

Lillback, Peter A. The Binding of God:  Calvin’s Role in the Development of Covenant Theology (Baker Academic: Grand Rapids 2001)

McGrath, Alister E. Luther’s Theology of the Cross (Blackwells: Oxford 1990) Excellent and accessible.  McGrath opens up the aspect of Luther’s theology that spawned centuries worth of rich theological reflection.

Muller, Richard A.  The Unaccommodated Calvin:  Studies in the Foundation of a Theological Tradition (Oxford University Press:  Oxford, New York 2000)

Oberman, Heiko. The Dawn of the Reformation: Essays in Late Medieval and Early Reformation Thought (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1986) Too much untranslated material makes this work difficult to follow.


Baxter, Richard. Dying Thoughts (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust) Baxter’s book is a 130 pg meditation upon Phil 1.23. Deeply moving. I highly recommend this book

Edwards, Jonathan. The End for Which God Created the World in John Piper’s God’s Passion for His Glory (Crossway:  Wheaton 1998)  This is (in my opinion) Edwards at his finest.  Piper’s footnotes are superb and necessary for understanding this sometimes difficult theologian/ philosopher

Guthrie, William The Christian’s Great Interest (Puritan Paperbacks 2002) A truly wonderful little book that I have used countless times in sermons, counseling sessions, and for personal reflection.  It is about the most important thing, that is being secure in our relationship with Christ.

Owen, John.  The Mortification of Sin (Grace and Truth: 2004)

Owen, John. Apostasy from the Gospel (Puritan Paperbacks) Like being in a time machine.  It was like Owen had spy glasses to look into the future and diagnose the disintegration of Protestantism and its root causes.

Owen, John. The Death of Death in the Death of ChristA masterpiece dealing on the subject of “limited atonement”.  Packer’s introductory essay is worth the price of the book alone.

Venning, Ralph. Learning in Christ’s School (Puritan Paperbacks) Poor exegesis and generally unrewarding, although there were a few gems.

Watson, Thomas.  The Great Gain of Godliness (Puritan Paperbacks) Intensely rewarding.  Had me thinking through faithfulness to Christ on deep and at times frightening levels.


Murray, Iain. Jonathan Edwards (Banner of Truth 1987) I found this book in my father in law’s house and he let me take it.  Murray’s work is very good, although Edwards is an obvious hero of the author and I wonder at times if that overly clouds the perspective.  The work seems more devotional than historical, nevertheless I enjoyed it very much.

Marsden, George M. Jonathan Edwards (Yale 2003) Winner of the 2003 National Book Critics Award.  This is a very fine portrait of the great American theologian.  I think in the end I appreciated this biography more than Murray’s because we get a better glimpse of the broken, flawed, and eccentric Edwards which is necessary in order to see how the man leaned on and relied upon his savior.


Cavanaugh, W.T. Being Consumed (Eerdmans Publishing Co: Grand Rapids 2008) Just in time for the recession!  A must read to think through the recession theologically.

Cavanaugh, W.T. Torture and Eucharist:  Challenges in Contemporary Theology (Blackwell Publishing: Oxford 2008)

C. S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World 1958) A classic and now I see why.  Lewis goes to the heart of worship, opens it up and explains in layman’s terms.

Milbank, J.  The Word Made Strange: Theology, Language and Culture (Blackwell Publishing: Oxford, 1997)

Milbank, J. Theology and Social Theory, 2nd ed. (Blackwell, 2005). Is doing to modern theology what Barth’s commentary on Romans did nearly a century ago.  Milbank’s learning is staggering as he wades us through the Englightenment metanarrative proving how it must end in nihilism.

Moltman, J. The Trinity and the Kingdom: The Doctrine of God (Fortress Press Publishers:  Minneapolis 1993) Tremendous insight into the nature of the Trinity, although I must admit I found myself getting bored after the first 100 pages.

Milbank J, Catherine Pickstock, and Graham Ward, eds., Radical Orthodoxy: A New Theology (Routledge, 1999).

Packer, J.I.  Knowing God (Intervarsity1993)  Good for lay people and clergy that need to brush up on their theology

Piper, John. The Future of Justification (Crossway Books, 2007) Generally dissapointing.  Piper is not used to engaging in this level of academic debate and it shows.

James K.A. Smith and James H. Olthuis, eds., Radical Orthodoxy and the Reformed Tradition: Creation, Covenant, and Participation (Baker Academic, 2005).

Smith, James K.A., Introducing Radical Orthodoxy: Mapping a Post-Secular Theology (Baker Academic, 2004).

Schmemann, Alexander. For the Life of the World (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press: Crestwood 1973) First chapter was excellent, then it just became an apology for the Greek Orthodox church.


Marion, Jean-Luc.  Being Given: Toward a Phenomenology of Givenness (Standford University Press: Stanford 2002) Intellectually challenging.  Perhaps I do not have the requisite philosophical training to fully grasp Marion’s work, nevertheless I found it rewarding.  I am still thinking through his application, particularly as it might apply to certain Christian doctrines like the incarnation, or the visible church.

Plato, Phaedrus. Stephen Scully trans (Focus Publishing:  Newburyport 2003)

  1. Fanfare says:

    I am truely amazed at the eclectic scope of your reading list. If you were to chose just one to recommend, which one……Interested to know what’s on your list for 2010.

  2. Liz says:

    I echo the remark about the diversity of your choices! I wanted to comment on the extensive number of leadership books, simply because the book I’m perusing now “Words for Warriors (my husband is deeply engrossed; I picked it up and am finding it enormously interesting as well), though it’s written by a a professional soldier, has much to offer in terms of leadership. The author, Col. Ralph Puckett, was a leader on the battlefield, and he talks about all kinds of things (training, administration, public relations — you don’t think about THAT on a battlefield, I bet!) that go on in the soldier’s world that are equally applicable in the civilian and business world. I’m just thinking you could find all kinds of very useful information about learning more about leading. And it’s easy to read, and quite riveting. My hat is off to those who serve.

  3. […] I Agree… Filed under: Blog — r121 @ 10:00 am A fellow priest and friend in the Diocese, Rob Sturdy has listed his reading list for 2009. Well worth looking at at his blog HERE. […]

  4. Dave says:

    Wow that’s an amazing list!

    Bruce’s Hebrews was one of the first books I read in college. It taught me to swim in deep water.

    If f.f. Bruce taught me to swim the confessions taught me to weep. It remains one of the most dear to my heart books I’ve ever read.

  5. […] December 2, 2009 · Leave a Comment …Rob Sturdy’s 2009 reading list. […]

  6. […] New York Times.  This article caught my interest for three reasons.  I’m an avid reader (click here to see my 09 reading list).  I love going to the bookstore.  I just bought an IPad.  With the advent of the E-Reader […]

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