Pastors should be readers. Primarily, pastors should read the Bible. Apart from the Bible, what are some great books that pastors should peruse? Here are five books that every pastor should read.

Picking only five is hard to do. However, here they are, running the spectrum from old to new, from theological to practical:

1. What is the Gospel? (Greg Gilbert) 121 pages, Crossway. Theology.

515002: What Is the Gospel? What Is the Gospel?
By Greg Gilbert / Crossway Books & Bibles

Greg Gilbert, an assistant pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, has put together a simple, readable, and cogent discussion about the Gospel. This is a book which will eliminate the fog in your own mind, inspire your heart with a fresh realization of this wonderful reality, and give you a powerful resource to give to others–Christians and nonchristians alike. It is eminently readable. It is short. Most importantly, it is thoroughly biblical. Plus, it covers the subject that should be at the center of any ministry. (For a limited time, you can get a free Amazon Kindle or Apple iBooks copy.)

2. The Art of Prophesying (William Perkins) 191 pages, Banner of Truth. Preaching.

1516890: The Art of Prophesying The Art of Prophesying
By William Perkins / Banner Of Truth

Go back over four hundred years to Puritan England.  The Elizabethan reign of religious uniformity was wreaking havoc upon churches. Pastors were giving in to the pressure. Preaching was losing its power as the clergy neglected the Bible. The threat of execution affected the mind of any nonconforming minister. In this scene of confusion and fear was a man by the name of William Perkins. Though he faced incredible challenges, he stood steadfast against the onslaught. His thoughts and advice are preserved into one of the great classics on the subject of preaching. The Art of Prophesying is not an easy read. It was originally written in Latin in 1592. Contemporary churches need to hear Perkins’s fresh message just as much, if not more so, as the weakened churches of the 16th and 17th centuries. Read it slowly. (You’ll probably have to anyway.)

3. Disciplines of a Godly Man (R. Kent Hughes) 304 pages, Crossway. Christian Growth.

347588: Disciplines of a Godly Man Disciplines of a Godly Man
By R. Kent Hughes / Crossway Books & Bibles

The pastor must be a godly man. Hughes, a seasoned pastor, has written a handbook specifically for men. It is a handbook which presents the Bible’s teaching on discipline, then discusses the disciplines required in relationships, in soul, in character, and in ministry. The result is a hard-hitting, grace-filled book that will challenge you to greater godliness for the glory of God. Men from Mike Singletary to John MacArthur have profited from its sound counsel and advice. You will profit from it, too.

4.  The Trellis and the Vine (Colin Marshall and Tony Payne) 196 pages, Matthias Media. Pastoral Ministry.

441583: The Trellis and the Vine The Trellis and the Vine
By Colin Marshall & Tony Payne / Matthias Media

For a book that gets to the heart of a pastor’s major task – personal discipleship – this is the one. As a pastor and author, Mark Dever explains, “this is the best book I’ve read on the nature of church ministry.” And, as you begin to peruse it’s pages, you will find out why. The authors write, “most Christian churches today need to undertake a radical re-evaluation of what Christian ministry really is.” For example, moving from running programs to building people; from engaging in management to engaging in ministry; and from seeking church growth to desiring gospel growth, (among other things). Don’t merely wonder if this book will be helpful. Be confident that it will. And read it.

5. Radical (David Platt) 230 pages. Multomah. Christian Growth.

422211: Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream
By David Platt / Multnomah Publishers, Inc.

David Platt aims right at the heart of the blight that is devastating American Christians. He hits the bull’s-eye. The subtitle, Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, is not just a catchy slogan to sell copies. Materialism and the pursuit of the American Dream is the disconcerting reality behind the compromised faith of many Christians. Platt describes our creation of “a nice, middle-class American Jesus. A Jesus who doesn’t mind materialism and who would never call us to give away everything we have…A Jesus who brings us comfort and prosperity as we live our our Christian spin on the American dream.” Is this true of us, even in ways which we don’t realize? Platt questions, “Where have we gone wrong? How did we get to the place where this is actually tolerable?” The remainder of the book describes that Jesus is worth it. That we should not “waste our lives on anything but uncompromising, unconditional abandonment to  gracious, loving Savior who invites us to take radical risk and promises us a radical reward.”

About The Author

Daniel Threlfall

Daniel Threlfall has been writing church ministry articles for more than 10 years. With his background and training (M.A., M.Div.), Daniel is passionate about inspiring pastors and volunteers in their service to the King. Daniel is devoted to his family, nerdy about SEO, and drinks coffee with no cream or sugar. Learn more about Daniel at his blog and twitter.

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4 Responses

  1. Ed Jinsen

    Thanks for this list! What are the best places to buy these?

    • admin

      Since this article was originally written, we’ve added some links so you can purchase them directly from the blog. Just click on the title or image below each book heading.

  2. John Lankin

    You forgot a great book for pastors, “Me to We; A pastor’s discovery of the power of partnership” by Alan Nelson. A must read.

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