Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Gifts for Theological Students

I thought that this might be a good post for any of those wives out there whose husbands are in ministry, but don't know exactly what to buy them. If that is you, here are some suggestions that you might want to look into. If you have any questions about titles, authors, or places to shop feel free to post a question or email me.

First, you need to use a book search engine. This is a small list of a few engines that will help you get the most out of your dollar: bestbookbuys.com; allbookstores.com; or campusI.com. As far as book suggestions go, allow me to make a few recommendations.

Most theological students spend their resources on commentaries because they plan on going into the pastorate which will require purchasing and acquiring books that will help them interpret the Scriptures. The New Testament Commentary Survey by Carson and its Old Testament companion by Longman are designed to help students and pastors make wise choices about which commentaries to buy. This runs for about $12.00 and will be one of the most used books in your husbands' library.

Commentaries are always helpful -- and especially when they are a mixture of good theology and good interpretation. The best way to choose a commentary is by 1) checking your husband's library in advance to see where he has covered and where he hasn't; 2) if your student already has this book, check to see which commentaries to buy or ask your friendly neighborhood seminary student -- but make sure they know what they are talking about.

Another idea for your student is to buy him some theology books. These are always refreshing and needed in theological study. Try a Theological Dictionary. If your student use these words -- "reformed," "Calvin," or "election" -- with any frequency and in a positive context try getting him The Institutes of Christian Religion. If your student talks about Biblical Theology and the need to respect the themes of each author of Scripture you might consider a couple books in the series New Studies in Biblical Theology. These are always well researched and are on a variety of subjects that are both intellectually and spiritually stimulating.

If you are looking to do something a bit more creative this year you might think about getting your student an iPod. Julie bought me one last year for my birthday and I have listened to over 80 hours of theological lectures on it since then. There are an abundance of free theological mp3 resources on the web (see here and here) and so this might be a good way for your husband to have his spirit renewed while doing work in the yard, working out, or driving in the car.


Even better -- any student needs time to rejuvinate spiritually and physically. Give your husband a reservation to a theological conference that he would really love to attend. This will allow him to hang out with some friends and take in some good encouraging preaching in a relaxed atmosphere. Piper's Desiring God conference or the next Together For the Gospel conference are both great choices.


Lastly, while all theological students enjoy tools for reading and understanding the Scripture, they are still guys -- this means that baseball jerseys, tickets to a game, electronics, tools, a gym membership/equipment, or gear for their hobbies will always be a winner -- if you can combine the two, even better.

1 comment:

Katrina said...

Hey Tim! Thanks for the helpful advise to this seminary wife! You must have heard Julie and I talking this weekend about what to get our guys for Christmas!