Which books should I read before going to Theological College?

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry aka Durham Cathedral CloistersSo, I’ve been recommended for training for ordination in the Anglican Church and I’m going to be studying a BA in Theology and Ministry at Cranmer Hall, Durham from this Autumn. All exciting stuff! I’ve been sent a pre-course reading list to work my way through this summer.

This is where you might be able to help me:

  • Which of the books on the list below do you think are essential reading?
  • Which one book would you recommend I read before starting my course? (it doesn’t have to be on the list!)
  • Do you have any of the books on the list that you’d be willing to lend or give to me?
  • Do you have any other tips on what to do before I go or even what to take with me? (I’ll be a weekly boarder)

Feel free to leave a comment below this post or email me. Thanks so much for your help. Now, which looks the easiest to read on that list…

The List

View on Amazon here (I made a wish list in case a random stranger wanted to buy any of them for me!): http://www.amazon.co.uk/registry/wishlist/2SCFN5BXYKNU4/ref=cm_wl_rlist_go_o

Steve Croft & Roger Walton, Learning for Ministry (Church House Publishing, 2005)

Steven Croft, Ministry in Three Dimensions. Ordination and Leadership in the Local Church (DLT, 1999) – READ THIS ALREADY! YAY!

Ellen F. Davis, Getting Involved with God : Rediscovering the Old Testament (Cowley , 2001)

Richard S. Briggs, Reading the Bible Wisely: An Introduction to Taking Scripture Seriously (Revised edition; Wipf and Stock, 2011)

Michael Lloyd Café Theology (Alpha, 2005)

Rowan Williams, Why Study the Past? (DLT, 2003)

Jean Comby, How to Read Church History (2 vols, SCM, 1985, 1989)

Eugene Peterson, Working the Angles: the Shape of Pastoral Integrity (Eerdmans, 1993)

John Pritchard, The Life and Work of a Priest (SPCK, 2007)  – READ THIS ALREADY! YAY!

John Barton & Julia Bowden, The Original Story: God, Israel and the World (DLT, 2004)

Richard A. Burridge, Four Gospels, One Jesus? (2nd ed, SPCK, 2005)

N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus (SPCK, 2000) – I’VE ALREADY GOT THIS ONE, HAVEN’T READ IT YET THOUGH

T. Grass, Modern Church History, (London: SCM Press 2008)

Mark Mckintosh, Divine Teaching (Blackwell, 2008)

Bob Jackson, Hope for the Church: Contemporary Strategies for Growth (Church House, 2002)

Stephen Spencer, SCM Studyguide to Christian Mission (SCM Press, 2007)

David Day, Embodying the Word: A Preacher’s Guide (SPCK, 2005)

Paul Goodliff, Care in a Confused Climate (DLT, 1998)

Judy Hirst, Struggling to be Holy (DLT, 2006)

David Runcorn, Spirituality Workbook. A Guide for Explorers, Pilgrims and Seekers (SPCK, 2006)


  1. Learning for Ministry was on my list, I haven’t got it, but it has been very useful for essays and has some good practical advice for managing time and people
    Bob Jackson – Hope for the Church is good and a very easy read
    David Day’s preaching stuff is very practical
    David Runcorn is helpful in thinking about how you might organise your life

    I don’t know any of the others. I only bought the David Day one, the others I got from the library and I think I am unlikely to get them out again. They only one I might buy at some point is ‘Learning for Ministry’ one.

    Hope that’s helpful from someone who is just starting out too!

    Claire 🙂


  2. I have the same issue… I’m heading to the Wesley Study Centre (sorry I’m in the Methodist camp!) but will no doubt see you around. I’ve been pricing them up and with the one on the list that I have it could get expensive 😦 so eager to see what others suggest.

    Blessing for your Journey



    • Cool, looking forward to meeting you and don’t ever apologise for being a Methodist! I will do a follow up blog post with a summary of all the advice I get (as quite a lot has come through on Twitter and Facebook that doesn’t appear here! God bless you too. Bryony 🙂


    • 🙂 One of the reasons I chose Cranmer was because it was ecumenical – it stops you getting all serious and insular!


      • Very true… After seeing the place we will be a cosey ecumenical group. The hall ways are small lol


  3. apart from the obvious missing book of the Bible… I’d recommend ‘Honorably Wounded’ by Marjory Foyle. the classic text on ministerial burnout. hope this never happens to you, so best to be forewarned. also any other good books that tell you how to say no – in a gracious way 😉
    well done, by the way – if you can say that when someone answers a call !!


    • Thanks Rob, appreciate your concern re: burnout. I’m really looking forward to being a student again!

      I think they kind of assume the Bible is on a permanent reading list!


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