If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best theology books is, then I’d recommend the Systematic Theology Second Edition by Wayne Grudem as the best one.
Christians should be serious about pursuing God’s truth. The devil tries to blind people with lies, and as a result, they practice wrong teachings. But, how can you seek God’s truth? What are effective ways to do that?
The Bible is a bit difficult to understand, but that’s how theology books come into play. Theology books will give you more knowledge about God and Christianity. These books will aid you in your pursuit of God’s truth and guide you in transforming your life.
Here are the best Theology Books we will be reviewing:
- Systematic Theology Second Edition by Wayne Grudem
- Christian Theology Third Edition by Millard Erickson
- Basic Theology by Charles C. Ryrie
- The Moody Handbook of Theology by Paul Enns
- Evangelical Theology Second Edition by Michael Bird
What are Theology Books?
To better grasp the essence of theology books, let’s first define what theology means.
Theology is the “systematic study of the nature of the divine and religious belief.” It derives from the Greek words “Theos” (meaning “God”) and “Logos” (meaning “the study of”).
Theology books are Christian books that focus on the study of God and religious beliefs. Such books endeavor to provide readers a substantial amount of knowledge about who He is. Authors of such books are known to have an intimate relationship with God and know Him personally. They commit their lives to conduct extensive research about God and share their personal experiences through their books.
Common Types of Theology Books
Biblical Theology Books
Biblical theology books refer to the study of the Bible as a whole. They are important interpretations of theological texts. These books focus more on Biblical events and God’s revealing activities in the Bible.
Historical Theology Books
Historical theology books focus more on the study of the history of Christian doctrine. These books are heedful to the dynamic movements of human history from a biblical viewpoint, considering the Christian beliefs and practices.
Systematic Theology Books
Systematic theology books provide an ordered and rational presentation of the Christian doctrines. These books highlight the teachings of the Bible and address things like the truth about God and the universe.
Practical Theology Books
Practical theology books yield an academic discipline that studies religious practices to understand the theology behind those practices. Practical theology’s goal is to discover how theological theories can strengthen faithful practices, correct sinful practices, and rightly apply biblical principles.
Contemporary Classic Theology Books
Contemporary classic theology books focus on the study of God based on ideas from the recent period (post-World War I to the present) and theological trends. Major categories emphasized by these books include Modern Evangelism, Neo-orthodoxy, Eastern Orthodoxy, Neoliberalism, and more.
Catholic Theology Books
Catholic theology books solely focus on understanding Catholic doctrines. Sacred Catholic tradition and the canonical scripture are the foundations of these books. The Catholic Church’s magisterium authoritatively interpreted the Catholic theology books.
Why Read Theology Books?
To broaden your understanding of Christianity
Biblical events are the fabrics that fashioned Christianity today. These events play an integral part in molding the Christian faith and virtues. It’s essential to know the crucial moments in the Bible and what influenced the present timeline significantly. It’s a little hard to appreciate and understand the present without knowing the past.
Reading theology books will provide you meaningful insights about Christianity and how it came to be. You’ll be correctly guided and informed more about it. People should be wary about religions because some do not coincide with the teachings of the Bible. So, I highly encourage Christians to read some theology books to increase their knowledge about Christianity.
To strengthen your faith
Most of us fall into a hopeless state in times of havoc and difficulty. Sometimes, it’s easy to give up the good fight of faith when overwhelmed with problems. Many believers succumb to defeat the moment they lose their faith in God. As a good soldier of Christ, how can you strengthen your faith even amidst tribulations?
God will always speak to us through His Word in a way that transforms and encourages us.
Theology books provide an in-depth study of God and help you understand Christian beliefs. You won’t have anything to fear when you truly know God’s nature. You increase your faith in God when you know more about Him.
Theology books also help readers live out their knowledge of God and significantly impact others. These books contain practical ways to assist you with that. Personal application of God’s Word is also essential as Christians ought to be doers of His Word. (James 1:22)
To seek and understand God’s truth
We live in a syncretic world, so we should seek and understand God’s truth. Theology books are rich in knowledge about God and help you understand the intricacies of the Bible.
To avoid false teachings
Sound doctrine is essential for salvation and spiritual maturity. The Bible states that there are false prophets, so we must exercise caution. They teach wrong practices and stray away from God’s truth. It’s dangerous to believe in something wrong! (Matthew 7:15)
Theology books will help you gain broader knowledge about sound doctrine and help you avoid theological errors.
Factors to Consider in Choosing the Best Theology Book
Theology books, in general, will provide you a lot of benefits, but you do need to be careful of what you read. I suggest doing some research about the theology book you’re planning to get before buying it. It should be in line with the sound doctrine of Jesus Christ.
The enemy tries to deceive Christians at the best of his capability. There might be other religions that have similarities with Christianity but do not agree with Jesus’ words. Such teachings will not transform lives.
Be careful of what you read because they influence what you believe. Make sure that Biblical truths are what shape your life.
I recommend choosing the type of theology book you prefer. We discussed the common types of theology books briefly, so choose what suits your needs. Do you want to study more about contemporary theology? Maybe historical theology books?
You should research more about the author of the book you want to read. The author should be a believer and knows God personally. They should be living the sound doctrines of Jesus and are reliable sources of godly wisdom. God uses people mightily to reveal His glory, but they must have an intimate relationship with Him. So, find out if the author is credible.
One of the things I do before I buy or read a book is to make sure that I read its reviews first. I don’t want to invest my time and money in something that won’t benefit me. I make sure my expectations are met or exceeded when I buy or read the books I choose.
I’m pretty sure most people are the same. So, I suggest reading book reviews before buying. It may require more effort on your part, but it’ll guarantee a good quality book. Make sure the theology book you’re planning to get has a lot of positive reviews. The people who read it should find it helpful in their spiritual growth.
Before buying a theology book, set a price range in mind. If you have a budget already, it’ll narrow down your options. Is the book too expensive? Is it affordable? You might not want to waste any time looking for a book that’s over your budget.
I recommend the Systematic Theology 2nd Edition by Wayne Grudem as the best theology book. It’s a classic bestseller that helps both scholars and beginners in their pursuit of God. It contains clear and extensive explanations, a scriptural basis on each sound doctrine, and practical applications.
The Systematic Theology Second Edition by Wayne Grudem is globally known for its remarkable usefulness in believers’ spiritual maturity. It amassed a lot of love and support from many pastors, professors, and theologians.
The book contains revised and updated discussions that address recent controversies as well.
If you’re already an expert in the field of theology, this book will challenge you on a whole new level. For beginners, this book will guide you in your spiritual walk and maturity.
- Updated analysis of recent controversies in evangelicalism
- Insightful critiques of open theism
- Updated section on contemporary worship music at the end of every chapter
- Extensive discussion on the submission of Jesus to the Father
- Additional resource politely addressing the distinctions between evangelical Protestantism and Roman Catholicism
- Discussion on the Holy Trinity
- Extensive discussion of John 3:16
- The accounts of Creation are a bit challenging to read
The Christian Theology 3rd Edition by Millard J. Erickson is one of the bestselling theology books in the market. Erickson is a leading evangelical scholar who served as a seminary dean, pastor and taught many students at schools.
The book consists of numerous revisions that reflect current theological conversations. It takes into account feedback that came from credible professors and students. The book will leave you with a lot of information and insights. It may not be suitable for beginners because of its high-level seriousness.
The book takes a variety of popular viewpoints on certain topics and gives an unbiased check against Biblical context for them.
- Updated with more content
- Readable format
- Comprehensive expression of evangelical orthodoxy
- Discussion on theological issues
- Practical application of Christian doctrine to daily life
- No concrete positions taken
- Too serious and not suited for casual reading or beginners
- Tough read
The Basic Theology by Charles Ryrie is suitable for beginners and experts. Ryrie is a renowned author and scholar who has a clear understanding of the Bible. He wrote the book with an accessible writing style, so it’s easy to understand.
The book will help you understand how God longs for you to be more like Christ. It comes with personal applications that help you live a godly and holy life. It will give you sound theology that’s easy to grasp and apply in your life. It will also give you insights that will strengthen your faith and learn more about God on a deeper level.
The book is also easy to navigate and well-organized. It’s divided into sections that provide a readable format, and it’s easy to locate the references from arguments.
- Easy to understand
- Suitable for beginners and scholars
- Readable format and easy navigation
- Personal applications to daily life
- Sound theology that leads to godly living
- Not revised and outdated (Does not address the most recent theological controversies)
- Many unproven assumptions
The Moody Handbook of Theology by Dr. Paul Enns is a classic resource that provides an overview of theology. It’s suitable for beginners and scholars alike.
Every section has an introduction, books for more study, specific studies that are relevant to theology, and summary evaluations. The book is easy to read and has a lot of references that will broaden your knowledge even more. It talks about God’s truth and addresses some Christian controversies and false teachings. It offers comprehensive yet concise answers to certain issues. It also gives the reasoning for the beliefs that Christians now hold.
- More affordable compared to other theology books
- Easy to understand and well-organized
- Concise answers to theological questions
- Some grammatical and spelling errors
- Derogatory statements about other religions
- Some biased arguments
The Evangelical Theology by Michael F. Bird is gospel-centered and helps readers practice the Christian faith’s doctrines. Bird is a biblical scholar and historian of early Christianity, and he shares his insights through this book.
The book includes the “What to Take Home” and “Comic Belief” sections. The “What to Take Home” section gives readers a summary of what they need to know at the end of every part. The “Comic Belief” section gives readers more fun with some theological humor. Reading theology books can be boring sometimes, so the “Comic Belief” section makes it an enjoyable experience for readers.
The Evangelical Theology book teaches readers how the Word of God should influence how we pray, teach, preach, think, and live as believers. It promotes godly living through a Biblical context.
- Unique global perspective in theology
- Fun and engaging
- Available video lectures
- Personal application for godly living
- Some sections are weaker (little information/inadequately explained)
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned veteran in studying the Word of God, theology books are essential in your spiritual growth. These books will help you increase your knowledge about God and guide you in living a godly life. These books can strengthen your faith and help you avoid false teachings as well.
I recommend the Systematic Theology Second Edition by Wayne Grudem as the best theology book. It’s suitable for beginners and scholars alike and is one of the bestselling Christian books out there. It’s easy to understand, not too expensive, and contains a lot of meaningful content!