Recommended Reading For Christian Growth

Recently I was asked for recommendations for biblical study material. It's a good topic, so I thought I'd share a few resources and ideas that you might want to consider for your own reading in pursuit of growth.

First, you might want to check out this post on "A Layperson's Theological Library" for a start in building your personal library. In this post I won't duplicate recommendations I made previously, but you'll certainly want to check out those recommendations in addition to what is shared below.

Now, on to the recommended reading. There's a lot more I could add, but this will suffice for now.

Bible Study

"Reading Romans with Luther" by RJ Grunewald
I actually haven't read through this one yet, but enough trusted friends have done so that I feel confident in recommending it.  The book of Romans can be intimidating and this book helps you to be able to understand the message of the book, using Luther as your guide.

The following are books by Martin Franzmann (one of my favorite authors) that walk through a book of the Bible.

"New Courage for Daily Living" is out of print and might be difficult to find (maybe Concordia Publishing House could make it available on demand?), but is a wonderful devotional walk through the book of Colossians.

"Follow Me: Discipleship According to St. Matthew" walks through the gospel of Matthew, giving special attention to the idea of discipleship.

Franzmann's commentaries of Romans and Revelation are also excellent for the layperson.


"Luther's Large Catechism" by Martin Luther
If you've read and studied the small catechism, then it's time to read through the large catechism.  The large catechism is simply fantastic and Luther writes in such a way so to always be teaching about the chief articles of the Christian faith.  

This book was published about 100 years ago, but the material in it is just as relivant today as it was then.  Gerberding wrote this, not for pastors, but for the average Christian.  I very highly recommend that you check out the reprinting that was put out by Pastor Jordan Cooper's "Just and Sinner Publishing" only a few years ago.

This is another republication from "Just and Sinner Publishing" that is well worth your time.  Schmidt helps the reader to understand what the Lord's Supper is, what it is not, and how to answer objections raised by those who do not share the Lutheran understanding. 

"Make Disciples, baptizing: God's gift of new life and Christian witness" by Robert Kolb
In this little gem of a book, Kolb shows how baptism is more than a one time event.  The book is broken down into four parts.
1. The Biblical Teaching on Baptism
2. Baptism: Tool and Goal in Evangelism
3. The Rite and Ritual of New Birth
4. The Incorporation of the Newly Baptized into the Christian Way of Life

"The Church and The Office of The Ministry" by CFW Walther
What is the church? How should individual congregations relate to other congregations?  What is a pastor and what is he given by God to do?  In this classic work, Walther helps the reader to answer these questions, showing that the answers given are from Scripture.

"Christ's Church: Her Biblical Roots, Her Dramatic Story, Her Saving Presence, Her Glorious Future" by Bo Giertz
This is an all time favorite book for me.  In this book Giertz teaches what the Church is and what she is to do.  In reading this book you will better understand the church, but also learn to love her more.

Christian Living

This is really a nice overview of what the Christian life should look like and how it is rooted in our identity as baptized children of God. 

Jeff was a classmate of mine at the seminary and has put out a gem of a book. This book helps us to grasp who we are, whose we are, and how that changes what we are to do.  

"The Quest for Holiness" by Adolf Koberle 
If you've ever struggled with the idea of what the sanctified life of a Christian should look like or the differences between justification and sanctification, then this is a great book to read.  This is not a light read, but a challenge book that will cause you to reflect often.  My friend Zach summarizes some of Koberle's points in a blog post, noting Koberle's points that mankind tries to bridge the gap between who they are and who they want to be through moralism, intellectualism, or emotionalism, but that none of these approaches will suffice.  This is a book that everyone serious about theology should read at least once. 

Understanding Lutheranism

This is a very helpful book and a very easy read.  I think the summary given from the book itself tells you what you need to know about it. 
Since the sixteenth century, the Protestant tradition has been divided. The Reformed and Lutheran reformations, though both committed to the doctrine of the sinners justification by faith alone, split over Zwingli and Luther's disagreement over the nature of the Lord's Supper. Since that time, the Reformed and Lutheran traditions have developed their own theological convictions, and continue to disagree with one another. It is incumbent upon students of the reformation, in the Lutheran and Reformed traditions, to come to an understanding of what these differences are, and why they matter. In The Great Divide: A Lutheran Evaluation of Reformed Theology, Jordan Cooper examines these differences from a Lutheran perspective. While seeking to help both sides come to a more nuanced understanding of one another, and writing in an irenic tone, Cooper contends that these differences do still matter. Throughout the work, Cooper engages with Reformed writers, both contemporary and old, and demonstrates that the Lutheran tradition is more consistent with the teachings of Scripture than the Reformed.


Passavant is probably not a man you've heard of before, but his life and story are fascinating. Passavant lived in the 1800's, helped found the first Lutheran congregation in Pittsburgh, started an ophanage, opened a hospital, edited a newspaper, and served as a pastor.  This is an enjoyable and informative biography of someone you should get to know. 


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