The other day I was lurking on the internet and found a post called “12 books we’re all meant to have read but probably haven’t.” I enjoyed reading the list and noting the books on it that I HAVE read, but, sadly, I’ve read fewer than half of the listed books. I’ve heard of them all, and mean to read most of them. Someday. Inspired by this general list, I asked some friends who’ve done seminary studies for thoughts on 10 Books Seminary Students and Graduates are Meant to Have Read — But Probably Haven’t. Here’s our list. Feel free to add titles in the comments.
1. The Bible. Lots of dipping in to the Bible happens, but how many have actually read the whole thing?
2. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. This is one of the most famous apologetics books. We’ve all heard of it, and may even have it on our shelves, but have we read it?
3. The Confessions by Augustine of Hippo. Bits of this book are often assigned reading, and it is often referred to, but read it? All of it? True confessions time!
4. The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This is the source of the phrase “cheap grace” but how many have put the phrase in context?
5. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. This is the Big Russian Novel most often referenced in seminary. Read it? Or is it on your to be read pile still?
6. City of God by Augustine of Hippo. Everyone expects seminarians to know the main point of City of God, but how many people have actually read this huge book?
7. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. Like Augustine’s City, the main thread of Bunyan’s classic allegory is often referenced, but seldom read. There are lots of children’s adaptations, so perhaps it is easier to fake not reading this book.
8. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. A devotional classic that lots of people talk about, but I don’t know very many people who’ve actually read it.
9. Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. This is a more recent book, but it has never gone to paperback as the hardcover book sells so well. This is a book often referenced in spirituality classes. The title sounds good, but do we really celebrate discipline?
10. Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. Often referenced in pastoral ministry classes, this book has an idea that people talk about a lot, but has that idea been read in context?