Christianity is Christ, and when we get Christ wrong we get Christianity wrong. Anything as important as getting right who Jesus is and what he did will mean plenty of heretical and cultic views arise. Thus it is no wonder that for 2000 years now countless books have been written about the God-man Jesus Christ, seeking to get the biblical data right.
We must always keep going back to the Word of God and to the important works on Christ penned over the ages. The early church councils of course worked long and hard to hammer out the proper Christological beliefs, and we still have the need to do so today.
Here I want to look at a small group of some of the better studies on Christ. With two millennia of books to choose from here, I obviously have to be extremely restrictive. Thus these books are mainly more recent titles; they tend to be somewhat more academic or scholarly in nature (as opposed to just being devotional in nature); and they are primarily penned by those from the conservative and/or evangelical perspective.
Akin, Daniel, Christology: The Study of Christ. Rainer Publishing, 2015.
Barnett, Paul, Jesus and the Logic of History. Apollos, 1997.
Bauckham, Richard, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Eerdmans, 2006.
Bauckham, Richard, God Crucified. Paternoster, 1998.
Bauckham, Richard, Jesus and the God of Israel. Paternoster, 2008.
Bird, Michael, Jesus the Eternal Son: Answering Adoptionist Christology. Eerdmans, 2017.
Bloesch, Donald, Jesus Christ: Savior and Lord. IVP, 1997.
Bowman, Robert and Ed Komoszewski, Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ. Kregel, 2007.
Carson, D. A., Jesus the Son of God. Crossway, 2012
Cole, Graham, The God Who Became Human. IVP, 2013.
Dunn, James, Christology in the Making, 2nd ed. Eerdmans, 1980, 1989.
Edwards, James, Is Jesus the Only Savior? Eerdmans, 2005.
Fee, Gordon, Pauline Christology. Hendrickson, 2007.
Fernando, Ajith, The Supremacy of Christ. Crossway Books, 1995.
France, R. T., The Evidence for Jesus. IVP, 1986.
Gathercole, Simon, The Preexistent Son: Recovering the Christologies of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Eerdmans, 2006.
Green, Joel and Max Turner, eds., Jesus of Nazareth: Lord and Christ: Essays on the Historical Jesus and New Testament Christology. Eerdmans, 1994.
Green, Michael, ed., The Truth of God Incarnate. Eerdmans, 1977.
Harris, Murray, Jesus as God. Baker, 1992.
Hurtado, Larry, How on Earth Did Jesus Become a God?: Historical Questions about Earliest Devotion to Jesus. Eerdmans, 2005.
Hurtado, Larry, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity. Eerdmans, 2003.
Karkkainen, Veli-Matti, The Doctrine of God. Baker, 2004.
Karkkainen, Veli-Matti, Christology: A Global Introduction. Baker, 2003.
Lewis, Peter, The Glory of Christ. Hodder & Stoughton, 1992.
Macleod, Donald, From Glory to Golgotha: Controversial Issues in the Life of Christ. Christian Focus, 2002.
Marshall, I. Howard, The Origins of New Testament Christology. Apollos, 1976, 1990.
McGrath, Alister, Understanding Jesus. Zondervan, 1987.
Morgan, Christopher and Robert Peterson, eds., The Deity of Christ. Crossway, 2011.
Reymond, Robert, Jesus, Divine Messiah. Presbyterian and Reformed, 1990.
Stein, Robert, Jesus the Messiah. IVP, 1996.
Stott, John, The Incomparable Christ. IVP, 2002.
Strobel, Lee, The Case for Christ. Zondervan, 1998.
Strobel, Lee, The Case for the Real Jesus. Zondervan, 2007.
Van Voorst, Robert, Jesus Outside the New Testament. Eerdmans, 2000.
Warfield, B. B., The Person and Work of Christ. Presbyterian and Reformed, 1950.
Wellum, Stephen, God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of Christ. Crossway, 2016.
Witherington, Ben, The Christology of Jesus. Fortress, 1990.
Wright, N. T., The Challenge of Jesus. IVP, 1999.
Wright, N. T., Jesus and the Victory of God. Fortress Press, 1997.
Wright, N. T., The Original Jesus. Lion, 1996.
Wright, N. T., Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters. HarperOne, 2011.
The Person of Christ
Berkouwer, G.C., The Person of Christ. Eerdmans, 1954.
Bock, Darrell, Studying the Historical Jesus. Baker, 2002.
Bock, Darrell and Robert Webb, eds., Key Events in the Life of the Historical Jesus. Eerdmans, 2010.
Clark, Stephen, ed., The Forgotten Christ. IVP, 2007.
Erickson, Millard, The Word Became Flesh. Baker, 1991.
Habermas, Gary, The Historical Jesus. College Press, 1996.
Letham, Robert, The Message of the Person of Christ. IVP, 2013.
Macleod, Donald, The Person of Christ. IVP, 1993.
McCready, Douglas, He Came Down From Heaven. Apollos, 2005.
Marshall, I. Howard, I Believe in the Historical Jesus. Eerdmans, 1977.
Nichols, Stephen, For Us and For Our Salvation: The Doctrine of Christ in the Early Church. Crossway, 2007.
Pate, C. Marvin, 40 Questions About the Historical Jesus. Kregel, 2015.
Ware, Bruce, The Man Christ Jesus. Crossway, 2013.
Wells, David, The Person of Christ. Crossway Books, 1984.
The Work of Christ
Aulen, Gustaf, Christus Victor. Macmillian, 1969, 1978.
Beilby, James and Paul Eddt, eds., The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views. IVP, 2006.
Berkouwer, G.C., The Work of Christ. Eerdmans, 1965.
Carroll, John and Joel Green, The Death of Jesus in Early Christianity. Hendrickson, 1995.
Carson, D. A., Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus. Crossway, 2010.
Cole, Graham, God the Peacemaker: How Atonement Brings Shalom. IVP, 2009.
Demarest, Bruce, The Cross and Salvation. Crossway Books, 1997.
Fluhrer, Gabriel, ed., Atonement. P&R, 2010.
Gibson, David and Jonathan Gibson, eds., From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective. Crossway, 2013.
Hill, Charles and Frank James, eds., The Glory of the Atonement. IVP, 2004.
Husbands, Mark and Daniel Treier, eds., Justification: What’s at Stake in the Current Debates. IVP, 2004.
Jeffery, Steve, Mike Ofrey and Andrew Sach, Pierced for our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution. IVP, 2007.
Letham, Robert, The Work of Christ. IVP, 1993.
Macleod, Donald, Christ Crucified. IVP, 2014.
McDonald, H. D., The Atonement of the Death of Christ. Baker, 1985.
Morris, Leon, The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross. Eerdmans, 1955, 1980.
Morris, Leon, The Atonement. IVP, 1983.
Morris, Leon, The Cross in the New Testament. Eerdmans, 1965.
Oden, Thomas, The Justification Reader. Eerdmans, 2002.
Packer, J. I. and Mark Dever, In My Place Condemned He Stood. Crossway, 2007.
Peterson, Robert, Salvation Accomplished by the Son: The Work of Christ. Crossway, 2011.
Robinson, Martin, Why the Cross? Monarch, 2000.
Ryken, Philip Graham, The Message of Salvation. IVP, 2001.
Seifrid, Mark, Christ, Our Righteousness. IVP, 2000.
Sproul, R. C., The Truth of the Cross. P&R, 2007.
Stott, John, The Cross of Christ. IVP, 1986.
Tidball, Derek, The Message of the Cross. IVP, 2001.
Torrance, Thomas, Atonement. IVP, 2009.
Wright, N. T., The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. HarperOne, 2016.
Ankerberg, John and John Weldon, The Passion and the Empty Tomb. Harvest House, 2005.
Baggett, David J. ed., Did the Resurrection Happen? A Conversation With Gary Habermas and Antony Flew. IVP, 2009.
Copan, Paul and Ronald Tacelli, eds., Jesus’ Resurrection: Fact or Fiction? IVP, 2000.
Craig, William, The Son Rises. Moody Press, 1981.
Davis, Stephen, Risen Indeed. Eerdmans, 1993.
Davis, Stephen, Daniel Kendall and Gerald O’Collins, eds., The Resurrection. Oxford University Press, 1997.
Geisler, Norman, The Battle for the Resurrection. Thomas Nelson, 1989.
Habermas, Gary, The Resurrection of Jesus: An Apologetic. Baker, 1984.
Habermas, Gary and Michael Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. Kregel, 2004.
Ladd, G. E., I Believe in the Resurrection of Jesus. Eerdmans, 1975.
Licona, Michael, The Resurrection of Jesus. IVP, 2010.
Quarles, Charles, ed., Buried Hope or Risen Savior? B&H, 2008.
Wenham, John, Easter Enigma. Paternoster, 1984.
Wright, N. T., The Resurrection of the Son of God. T&T Clark, 2003.
Recent Christological revisionism
Bird, Michael, ed., How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus’ Divine Nature. Zondervan, 2014.
Boyd, Gregory, Cynic, Sage or Son of God. Victor/Bridge point, 1995.
Boyd, Gregory, Jesus Under Siege. Victor Books, 1995.
Copan, Paul, ed., Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? Baker, 1998.
Eddy, Paul Rhodes and Gregory Boyd, The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition. Baker, 2007.
Eddy, Paul Rhodes and Gregory Boyd, Lord or Legend?: Wrestling with the Jesus Dilemma. Baker, 2007.
Evans, Craig, Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels. IVP, 2006.
Groothuis, Douglas, Jesus in an Age of Controversy. Harvest House, 1996.
House, H. Wayne, The Jesus Who Never Lived. Harvest House, 2008.
Johnson, Luke Timothy, The Real Jesus. Harper Collins, 1996.
Jones, Peter, Stolen Identity: The Conspiracy to Reinvent Jesus. Victor, 2006.
Jones, Timothy Paul, Misquoting Truth: A Guide to the Fallacies of Bart Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus”. IVP, 2007.
Keener, Craig, The Historical Jesus of the Gospels. Eerdmans, 2009.
Komoszewski, Ed. James Sawyer and Daniel Wallace, Reinventing Jesus. Kregel, 2006.
Marshall, David, The Truth About Jesus and the ‘Lost Gospels’. Harvest House, 2007.
Pate, C. Marvin and Sheryl Pate, Crucified in the Media: Finding the Real Jesus Amidst Today’s Headlines. Baker, 2005.
Strimple, Robert, The Modern Search for the Real Jesus. Presbyterian and Reformed, 1995.
Strobel, Lee, The Case for the Real Jesus. Zondervan, 2007.
Thomas, Robert and F. David Farnell, eds., The Jesus Crisis. Kregal, 1998.
Wilkin, Michael and J.P. Moreland, Jesus Under Fire. Zondervan, 1995.
Witherington, Ben, The Jesus Quest. IVP, 1995.
Witherington, Ben, What Have They Done with Jesus? HarperSanFrancisco, 2006.
Wright, N. T., Who Was Jesus? SPCK, 1992.
In addition, see the relevant chapters in the various systematic theologies.
With around 120 volumes to choose from here, let me offer a few more specific recommendations. To speak of the “best” volumes here can be a bit unhelpful, as it depends on what the reader is after. But let me highlight a few volumes and a few authors that one should certainly be aware of.
Generally speaking, anything written by John Stott is well worthwhile. He writes for a non-specialist audience and is always of theological value. For those looking for relatively popular-level volumes, but with an apologetics emphasis, the books by Lee Strobel are always quite helpful.
And whether one always agrees with him or not, no one can afford to ignore N. T. Wright. His voluminous output on not just Christ, but theology, biblical studies and the New Testament cannot be overlooked. He certainly will challenge and stimulate the reader.
In the ‘General’ section see especially Baukham and Hurtado. But let me highlight Wellum. Not only is his volume one of the more recent ones, but it is part of an excellent recent series, “Foundations of Evangelical Theology.” He covers all the bases very well indeed in some 500 pages.
In the ‘Person’ list be aware of Bock, Letham and Wells. As to the ‘Work’ of Christ, Letham is again worthwhile, and the three volumes by Morris are now modern classics. Licona is great on the ‘Resurrection’ but pride of place goes to the magisterial volume by Wright. In the ‘Revisionism’ section see Evans, Keener and Witherington for starters.
Yes, it is risky to single out just a few books and authors here, with so many good ones to choose from. If you have the time and the budget, all these volumes are worth getting and making use of. Happy reading.
(For Australians, many of these books can be found at Koorong Books.)