So, here’s my list. Of course, the Holy Scriptures remain the most important “book” in my life, but that’s a given, so, next, in order, and it is extremely difficult to name only a handful, since there are so many books that have had a profound influence on my life, these are the books that came to mind as I thought of the “top ten” if you are allowed to count series as a single title, and are allowed to add one more.To this list, I, Paul J Cain, add a hearty Lutheran "Amen" and add these in no particular order:
The Book of Concord The confessions of the Lutheran Church. This remains the most influential book in my life as it continues to offer a guide to confessing the truth of God’s Word. I have pledged my unreserved agreement with their contents and it remains the most important book in my life.
Commentary on Galatians by Martin Luther. One of my favorite of Luther’s many writings. A brilliant presentation of the Gospel.
The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel by C.F.W. Walther. The definitive explanation of the key to understanding the Holy Scriptures.
The Lord’s Supper by Martin Chemnitz. The most compelling and convincing presentation of the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper I have ever encountered.
Here We Stand by Hermann Sasse. A powerful explanation of the “lonely way” that is the Lutheran Reformation. A pivotal text in my understanding of Christianity.
Ante and Post-Nicene Fathers. I know, this is a huge collection, but these volumes are what I cut my teeth on when I discovered the Church Fathers. They remain extremely influential as I became familiar with Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Ambrose, Athanasius, Augustine, Chrysostom, Jerome, to name only a few.
Christian Dogmatics (3 volumes) by Francis Pieper. A Lutheran presentation of classic systematic theology that remains the best presentation offering a good overview of the subject.
The Theology of Post-Reformation Lutheranism by Robert Preus. A brilliant synthesis of Lutheran orthodox teachers and thinking.
Martin Luther (3 volumes) The definitive biography of Martin Luther.
The Hammer of God by Bo Giertz. A Swedish bishop writes a series of short stories that powerfully present the Gospel and offer a solid antidote to the modern theological evils of Rationalism, on the one hand, and Pietism on the other. I read it regularly.
The Lord of the Rings I continue to read this book as the most compelling meta-narrative about good v. evil in fictional form.
The Aubrey/Maturin Series by Patrick O’Brian. My favorite works of fiction. A constant delight and joy, with every reading, some new insight and new pleasure is to be found. O’Brian is a master of human character study.
- The Spirituality of the Cross
- Dying to Live
- Heaven on Earth
- Why I Am a Lutheran
- Christ Have Mercy
- Worship in the Name of Jesus
- On Being a Theologian of the Cross
- The Fire and the Staff
- Luther on Vocation
- The Quest for Holiness
And Ten Important Series/Sets
- The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
- The Aubrey/Mautrin series
- Luther's Works
- Ante-Nicene Fathers
- Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: First Series
- Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series
- Concordia Commentary
- Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture
- Ancient Christian Doctrines
- Ancient Christian Texts