Choosing Theology Textbooks: Master List

This is the master list of posts on Theology Forum concerning theology textbooks. Some of these posts will be oriented specifically around how a book can be used in the classroom, while others are reviews of volumes we think might be. Hopefully, this will be a place you can come to get an idea for volumes and read a review to see if they are worthwhile (or at least if we think they are!). We end with a series of posts on being a theologian that we hope will provide some fodder for classroom discussion. We’ll be updating this post to keep it…well….updated I suppose(!), so check back!

The Conundrum of Choosing a Theology Textbook – Kent Eilers

Introductions to Theology

Divine Teaching, Mark McIntosh, Part I, Part II, Part III – Kyle Strobel

Life in the Trinity: An Introduction to Theology with the Help of the Church Fathers, Donald Fairbairn, Part I, Part II, Part III – Kyle Strobel

Historical Theology

From Nicaea to Chalcedon: A Guide to the Literature and Its Background, Frances M. Young – Kyle Strobel

Theological Anthropology

Theological Anthropology: A Guide for the Perplexed, Marc Cortez – Kyle Strobel

God’s Many-Splendored Image, Nonna Verna Harrison – Kyle Strobel


Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God, Timothy Ward, Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V – Kyle Strobel

The Word of God for the People of God: An Entryway to the Theological Interpretation of Scripture, Todd Billings —Kent Eilers

Introducing Theological Interpretation of Scripture, Daniel Treier — Kent Eilers

Primer on Biblical Methods, Corinne Carvalho — Kent Eilers


Christology: A Guide for the Perplexed, Alan Spence – Kyle Strobel

Saving Power: Theories of Atonement and Forms of the Church (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5), Peter Schmiechen — Kent Eilers


Introducing Christian Ethics, Samuel Wells and Ben Quash — Kent Eilers

This Mortal Flesh: Incarnation and Bioethics, Brent Waters — Kent Eilers

Spiritual Formation

Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview and Cultural Formation, James K.A. Smith – Kyle Strobel


The Lord’s Supper: Five Views, Gordon T. Smith – Kyle Strobel

General Thoughts on Being a Theologian

The Ethos of Elitism — Kyle Strobel

“Theologians, Write for the Church, not just the Guild” — Kent Eilers

Should Theologians Be Spiritual – Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV – Kyle Strobel

Theological Educator As… (Ruminations of a Novice), Part I, Part II, Part III — Kent Eilers

The Seven Deadly Sins of Theologians – Kyle Strobel

Sabbath and Theology – Kyle Strobel

12 thoughts on “Choosing Theology Textbooks: Master List

  1. Thanks for this list, but seriously, nothing recommended on baptism, the sacrament of initiation into body of Christ? And only a Five Views book on the Eucharist?

    Thanks, I’ll be coming back to these lists. Peace in Christ.

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  3. Hi there, while I am not much of a blog site person (too many books to read!), I have appreciated reading a few of your posts/reviews. I find them informative and balanced. And the textbook suggestions have been helpful as well.

    I am wondering whether you might have some suggestions of theologians working from outside of North America and Europe? And… any suggestions of works by female theologians? It strikes me that there is a desperate need for our students to hear from these voices that are little heard, but have important things to offer the larger body of Christ.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks much!

    • Wow, its been a long time since I’ve updated this page! Where does the time go?

      Thanks for your questions. It would be great if the list included some non-Western theologians and women. Sadly neither is well-represented. That is on me. In my courses I use quite a lot of both, but this list has fallen out of repair, I fear. Perhaps this is a project I can tackle before the fall term. We shall see.

      Regarding female theologians, there are some great ones working today and so many great ones in our past. Among current ones I esteem, I suggest Sarah Coakley, Frances Young, Suzanne McDonald, and Katherine Sonderegger. All are superb. Non-Western theologians are harder to suggest because their work is not as easily accessible among Western publishing houses. You might try the book Theology Brewed in an African Pot by Orobator and Theology Without Borders by Dyrness. Both are edited collections of essays which give you snapshots of non-Western voices.

      Hope that helps.

    • Hey Leslie! Thanks for reminding us about this page. Like Kent said, it looks like it has been some time since we’ve updated it. I would begin by asking you the same question. Have you been engaging anyone lately that you think we ought to be reading? I’m always adding to my reading list!

      I would add the work of Kathryn Tanner to Kent’s list. Her book Jesus, Humanity, and the Trinity is difficult but short enough not to overwhelm. Also, I really appreciate the work of folks like Lauren Winner and Cherith Fee Nordling. And, though she doesn’t call herself a theologian, I consistently find Marilynne Robinson deeply engaging and thought provoking. Randy Woodley offers an indigenous perspective that is beautiful and raises important questions about Western theological work. Admittedly, I could use some guidance in encountering non-Western theologians. My congregation would benefit from that a great deal.

      Thanks again for raising the question!

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