Deborah Hooper has written a book entitled Evangelist and Minister’s Handbook. Chapter 5 of the book provides a good introduction to the kinds of books a preacher should have in his or her library.
Every preacher must have a number of Bible’s in the library. Hooper suggests that you have at least a good study Bible (she suggests the NIV Study Bible)as well as a King James Version.
Hooper also suggests that you have as many translations of the Bible as you can find. I would suggest going to a used book store, you can find a lot of translations very inexpensively there.
On the issue of study Bibles, I would suggest that one get both a NIV and a NRSV Study Bible. The NIV Study Bible provides a commentary on the text from an evangelical perspective and the NRSV Study Bible provides commentary from a more mainline perspective.
This is the tool you use to find references in the Bible when you only know words in the Bible. Many Bible’s have a concordance in the back of them, but often you need a more complete one.
Hooper notes that there are three primary ones, Cruden’s, Strong’s, and Young’s. the nice thing about Strong’s is that there are a number of other Bible resources that use the strong’s numbering scheme for original language study.
Let me also add, that Computer based Bible’s are very good at performing a concordance function. You can find free ones and get them over the web.
A Bible dictionary provides a lot of information regarding the people, places, and things in the Bible. Hooper suggests Zondervan’s, Unger’s, or the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.
I own the Anchor Bible Dictionary on CDRom. It is a little pricey, and takes up a lot of room if you have the hardbacks. Another one I own is the Harper Collins Dictionary.
Kind of like a Bible Encyclopedia. My Anchor Bible Dictionary serves this purpose pretty well. Hooper suggests the Holman Bible Handbook and the Handbook of Life and Times in the Bible.
Hooper notes that a good Bible atlas is helpful. While there are probably maps in the back of your Bible, they are not as extensive as you might like.
A good Bible atlas helps the preacher get into the text. Hooper suggests Zondervan’s and Moody’s.
Hooper suggests Matthew Henry and a few others. She notes that we must be careful not to go to the commentary first in that it can stifle interpretation. One can find a number of commentaries on the web.
Hooper suggests Page Kelly’s book to learn Hebrew and Bill Mounce’s book to learn greek. I would also remind preachers that you can use Strong’s to have some access to the original languages. However the preacher must recognize that a Strong’s number is not a replacement for knowing the original language.
One thing that has been helpful to me is my old textbooks that were used in new testament and old testament survey courses in seminary.
A Preacher needs a library. And every preacher should move towards having at least these books in his or her library. However, preachers must never let any of these things hold them back from preaching the gospel.
Please note that one can download software off of the internet that will provide many translations of the Bible, concordance, dictionary, atlas, commentaries, other references. So if you are reading this website, you have access to a wealth of information that you can use to enhance your preaching.