After yesterday's post I was think of the most influential books towards shaping my theology. That is a loaded statement of course and needs some explaining. Most of my Christian life (from being converted in childhood through early college years) I was sort of a-theological. I barely scratched the surface of the texts I knew and was generally Biblically-illiterate as doctrine was concerned. I knew the books of the Bible, the central figures, many Bible stories, and many moral principles. I also had a simple understanding of the gospel which the Spirit used to call me to faith. Beyond that I knew very little until I really began to read the Bible verse by verse, book by book. Paul's letters to the Romans, Philippians, and Ephesians were especially gripping to me in my early twenties, as was the Old Testament books of Genesis, Deuteronomy, and Judges. From this my theology grew but like many, the temptation was there to interpret the Bible and make conclusions apart from testing it against history. In other words, if you have a "new" take on an ancient verse it is in serious question. It is essential to see how the church has interpreted the Bible over history before concluding you have an orthodox understanding. So these books are those I read that helped affirm and clarify what I was seeing in the Bible (in no particular order)...
1. The Death of Death in the Death of Christ by John Owen
2. Knowing God by J.I. Packer
3. Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther
4. Cur Deus Homo? by Anselm
5.The Pleasures of God by John Piper
6. The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
7. The Doctrines of Grace by James Boice and Philip Ryken
8. Counted Righteous in Christ by John Piper
9. Christian Theology by Millard Erickson
10. Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
11. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
12. Faith Alone by R.C. Sproul
I know I'm forgetting some but those rattled from the top of my head. I'd recommend most-some with caution, and I don't necessarily ascribe to everything written in each book. If you are looking for a good theology book to dive into, those are some suggestions. Mainly of course, dive again and again into THE BOOK.