The First Five Books Every Young Pastor/Bible Teacher Needs

This morning I want to write about one of my favorite subjects- Books.  Specifically, I want to share my


Library--New Testament Studies
Library–New Testament Studies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


recommendations for the first five books that every young pastor needs to purchase.  As Pastors, we rely heavily on a number of tools that help us to examine and understand the Scriptures.  Like a carpenter’s tool belt, the Pastor’s library represents the tools of his trade.  Here are my suggestions on the first five books that will help you to get started reading, interpreting and preaching the Scriptures.  Please feel free to share your suggestions in the comments sections:


1.) Thompson Chain Reference Bible– There is an amazing number of good study Bibles on the market today but my favorite is still the Thompson’s Chain Reference.  There are two reasons I say this: First, the Thompson’s is easy to use.  Literally you can learn to use it in about five minutes.  Second, it gives you access to the best commentary ever written – The Bible.  Rather than giving you lengthy notes, the Thompson’s simply points you to other Scripture passages related to the passage and allows the Scripture to interpret Scripture.


2.) Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance- It may seem simple but this is still one of the best tools for digging into the Scripture.  Once you learn how to use the numbering system you will be able to do deeper word studies.   This is the single most used tool in my Library besides my Bible.  Once you have a good study Bible, make this your second purchase and then learn how to use it.


3.) Holman Bible Dictionary- When reading or studying the Bible you will sometimes come across names of people, places and things that are unfamiliar.  When this happens you need a good Bible dictionary to help you.  The Holman Bible Dictionary is my favorite go to resource when this happens.


4.) Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament– Once again there is an incredible amount of resources available for the Preacher when it comes to doing Word study, but one of the easiest and most accessible is still the Vine’s.  The benefit of the Vine’s is that you do not need knowledge of Greek or Hebrew to use it.  The words are keyed to the Strong’s Concordance number


5.) Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology- This is a tool that I find myself going back to often.  Once I have discovered the theological issues and topics in a passage I will often need additional information.  Grudem is my go to resource for these instances.  His glossary and subject index are thorough and make this a very accessible volume.


Once you have these five books on your desk you are ready to add others and to build your Library throughout your career.

Let my close this post with a word about commentaries.  You will notice that there are no commentaries listed here.  I would strongly suggest assembling these tools before going out and purchasing commentaries, but once the basic tool kit is assembled you will want to start adding some of the best works by Bible commentators.  I would suggest buying commentaries on specific books as you preach/teach through various books.  So for instance, if you are going to preach/teach through Genesis, go out and find three or four of the best commentaries on Genesis and buy them. As you work through the Scripture continue to build your Library.

MY NEW BOOK ON THE BEATITUDES IS AVAILABLE NOW:  For more information click on the link below:

Cultivating a Gospel-Shaped Attitude: Understanding and Living the Beatitudes”


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Mark 14-16: The Resurrection of Christ

Today we close out our survey of the Gospel of Mark.  If you are just joining us here are the links to the

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...
Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Mark 1-3: Who is Jesus?

– Mark 4-6: The Kingdom of God and the Disciples of Christ

– Mark 7-10: Jesus Gave His Life as A Ransom for Our Sin

-Mark 11-13: The Greatest Commandment

Today we are going to look at the last three chapters of the book, so take your Bibles and read Mark 14-16.

The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus are the most important events in human history.  They are the key events for understanding the gospel and are foundational for developing a Christian view of the world.  As we saw earlier this week, the crucifixion did not take Jesus by surprise. Three times in Mark 8-10, Jesus prophesied about His death and resurrection.  On the night before He was crucified, Jesus gathered His disciples together to celebrate the Old Testament Feast of Passover, which commemorated the deliverance of the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt.  Every year, the Jewish people all over the world would gather with their families to remember the night that God delivered Moses and the ancient Israelites from Egypt.  In Mark 14:12-26, Jesus gathers with His disciples to celebrate the Passover, but Jesus uses this opportunity to begin a new ordinance for the church—the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper.  We will look more fully at this next week, but for now, we want to turn our focus on the meaning of Jesus’ death. The gospels give us the historical record of Jesus death, but to understand its full meaning, we must bring in other parts of the New Testament.  Today, we want to look at three key truths taught to us in the New Testament about the death of Jesus on the cross.

Three Important Truths About the Death of Jesus:

 1. Jesus’ death was a demonstration of God’s love

Read John 3:16

 The children’s song says, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so,” but to truly understand how much Jesus loves us we must be more specific.  The Bible tells us that Jesus loved us so much that He died in our place on the cross.  The Apostle Paul says it this way in Romans 5:7-8, “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (NKJV) 

2. Jesus’ death paid the debt for our sin.

Read 2 Corinthians 5:21

In Genesis 2:17, God made a rule and attached a penalty to it.  He told Adam and Eve that if they ate from the forbidden tree that they would die.  As we learned earlier this week, death in the Bible refers not only to our physical death but also to separation from God.  Once death entered into the world through our first parents, Adam and Eve, it spread throughout all the generations, so that Romans 3:23 is correct when it says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  I have sinned, you have sinned, and every person who has ever lived has sinned except for one.  The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in every way that you and I are, but He remained without sin (Heb 4:15).  Earlier in the week, we saw how Satan came to Jesus and tempted Him to sin, but Jesus withstood the temptation and remained without sin.  That is important because, in order for Jesus to pay the penalty for our sin, He had to be sinless.

Read Romans 5:8-10

  When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God withdrew His presence.  God could no longer live in perfect union and communion with them because of the presence of sin.  The curse of sin was passed from generation to generation because all have sinned (see Rom 3:9-19). Through His death, Jesus has reconciled us to God, so that now we can once again enter into His presence and call Him Father.  John 1:12 says, “To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”  As a result of His death, sin no longer keeps us from entering into God’s presence.  Therefore, we can have eternal life in heaven when we die (John 3:16) and abundant life while we are serving Him in this age (John 10:10).

The Resurrection of Christ (Kinnaird Resurrection)

The Resurrection

The death of Jesus would have no meaning to us if it were not for the resurrection.  The resurrection is the single most important event in history. It shows us that Jesus is truly the Son of God and that God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.  The resurrection is also our source of hope, because the Bible teaches that we will be resurrected in the same way that Jesus was (1 John 3:2).  When a believer dies their soul goes on to be with Jesus in heaven (Phil 1:21-23), but their body is buried where it will stay until Jesus returns.  The Bible teaches us that those who have died before the second coming will rise first, and those who are left will then be caught up into heaven and given a new body (1 Thess 4:13-18; 1 Cor 15:51-54).  This is sometime called the “blessed hope” because, as Christians, we look forward to the day when the struggles and trials of this fallen world will be ended and Jesus will return all things to a state of perfection.

Jesus is the center of God’s mission to redeem the world from sin.  He is the focus of God’s plan to redeem the world and the main character of the entire Bible. Jesus came to earth to redeem the world that Adam and Eve had ruined by their sin.  On the cross, He paid the penalty for our sin and reconciled us to God.  Through His resurrection, He offers us new life and a future in heaven.  Even in heaven, Jesus will be the primary focus of attention (see Rev 5:1-14).  As believers, Jesus should be the primary focus of our lives and the object of all of our affections.  In other words, Jesus should have first place in our lives.