15 Best Theology Authors to Challenge Your Faith

If you desire to learn more about the Bible and Christian religion, pick up one of the books from these 15 best theology authors.

Men and women who study religious works are known as theologians. Throughout church history, theologians often publish their research in book form, and theology authors have had a rich impact on the history of Christian religions. Many Christian denominations have solidified their beliefs and structures through their teachings and writings.

To understand religion and its role in modern society, you can study the works of famous theology authors. Here is a list of 15 of the best ones to get you started on your search for faith through famous literary works.

Best Theology Authors Ranked

1. Augustine

Augustine was a bishop in the first century B.C. in the Western Roman Empire. He was both a theologian and philosopher who helped develop Western philosophy and Christian theology. Several doctrines of the church came from Augustine, including the idea of original sin and the idea of the Trinity.

Augustine wrote on biblical theology extensively, and On Christian Doctrine is one of his most famous exegetical works. He also wrote many sermons and letters throughout his life.

Augustine also fought against paganism and helped distinguish the church from the pagan cultures of his day. He died in 430 and was laid to rest in Italy. Are you searching for books to give to someone? Check out our round-up of the best zen books! Or you can also search for our best book guides using our search bar.

On Christian Doctrine
  • Augustine (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 254 Pages - 06/21/2019 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

2. John Calvin

John Calvin was a theologian from France who lived from 1509 to 1564 and was responsible for the movement of Calvinism. His primary work was Institutes of the Christian Religion, a book in which he outlined his theological positions. He also wrote several commentaries on the books of the Bible. 

Calvin was a prominent figure in the second generation of the Protestant Reformation, and his theological ideas influenced Protestantism throughout Europe and North America. He lived from 1509 to 1564. 

A prominent theme of Calvin’s works was salvation by grace, not good works. This idea was against the church of his day, which is part of what made him such an influential theologian. 

Institutes of the Christian Religion
  • Hendrickson Publishers
  • Hardcover
  • 1059 pages
  • Hardcover Book
  • Calvin, John (Author)

3. Martin Luther

Martin Luther
Martin Luther, father of the Lutheran Church

Martin Luther was a German priest who became unenamored with the Roman Catholic Church and the teaching of indulgences. In 1517, Luther wrote Ninety-Five Theses, a renouncing of the teachings of the church of his day. He also translated the Bible into the German vernacular, making it more accessible to average people. 

Luther is credited with the start of the Reformation when he nailed his Theses to the door of the Wittenberg church. He believed in justification by faith alone, a tenant of the Protestant faith, and as a result, he was excommunicated.

Luther was also the father of the Lutheran church. He wrote a series of catechisms that church congregants could memorize to learn Christian tradition and doctrine for themselves. 

The Ninety-Five Theses, On Christian Liberty, and Address to the Christian Nobility
  • Luther, Martin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 110 Pages - 11/16/2019 (Publication Date) - Digireads.com Publishing (Publisher)

4. Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards was an American preacher and philosopher, often called one of America’s most influential philosophical theologians. His famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” has become a classic piece of American literature. He was influential in starting the First Great Awakening, a historic revival in America in the 1700s.

Edwards was the son of a minister and received his education at Yale College. He was a writer since childhood and wrote many theological works. Charity and Its Fruits and A Divine and Supernatural Light are two of his works.

Edward’s works were widely read throughout Europe and America, even after his death. His work was rediscovered in the early 1900s, and he continues to influence the Christian faith today.

Charity and Its Fruits: Living in the Light of God's Love
  • Edwards, Jonathan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 06/30/2012 (Publication Date) - Crossway (Publisher)

5. Karl Barth

Karl Barth was a Swiss Calvinist theologian most famous for his commentary The Epistle to the Romans, which he published in 1921, and Church Dogmatics, which he published from 1932 to 1967. In these works, he broke from the library theology of his day, and his work influenced many modern theologians and the growth of 20th-century Christian ethics. 

Barth was born in Switzerland in 1886 He was a Reformed pastor and a professor of theology. He believed strongly in the doctrines of the trinity and a rejection of strict predestination for salvation. 

Instead, Barth believed that Jesus Christ provided the reconciliation of all mankind to God, meaning that all mankind, even those who reject God, would receive grace.

The Epistle to the Romans
  • Karl Barth (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 576 Pages - 12/31/1968 (Publication Date) - Oxford University Press, U.S.A. (Publisher)

6. Friedrich Schleiermacher

German Reformed theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher lived from 1768 to 1834. This theologian and biblical scholar tried to draw together traditional Christianity with the ideas of the Enlightenment. He earned the title “Father of Modern Liberal Theology” as a result.

Throughout his life, Schleiermacher spoke on hermeneutics, and his writings on this particular topic saw publication after his death. His goal was to give people the ability to understand texts by creating a system of interpretation that applied to all Old Testament and New Testament texts. 

The Christian Faith was Schleiermacher’s premier work, and in it, he expressed his ideas about human personality, the ego, reason and how they related to faith. This is one of the most influential theology books of its time.

The Christian Faith
  • Schleiermacher, Friedrich (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 772 Pages - 02/15/2011 (Publication Date) - Apocryphile Press (Publisher)

7. N. T. Wright

N. T. Wright is a modern theologian born in 1948. He is a senior research fellow at the University of Oxford and Bishop of the Church of England. He advocates for the re-evaluation of many theological matters considered accepted by the Anglican church. 

Wright has over 70 works to his name. His “Christian Origins and the Question of God” series is one of his most influential, and Paul and the Faithfulness of God is considered his best. He also wrote Simply Christian and Simply Jesus.

The works of Wright have come under fire from some Protestant theologians who claim he does not properly outline the idea of salvation by faith alone. He has been praised by others who believe he has a strong view of church history and its influence on modern theology.

Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters
  • Wright, N. T. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 02/27/2018 (Publication Date) - HarperOne (Publisher)

8. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Lutheran pastor and German author Dietrich Bonhoeffer is famous for his work The Cost of Discipleship. In this book, he asks the reader how the teachings of Jesus should impact our daily life. He wrote largely on how Christianity has influenced secular society.

During his life, Bonhoeffer stood up against the Nazi dictatorship. As a result of this, he was sent to a concentration camp during World War II, and eventually died by hanging at the age of 39. 

Prior to his death, Bonhoeffer wrote many books. Even though his life was cut short, he had a direct impact on theology and apologetics. He also spoke against religion as an institution but promoted renewed personal Christianity. 

The Cost of Discipleship
  • Bonhoeffer, Dietrich (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 09/01/1995 (Publication Date) - Touchstone (Publisher)

9. Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas believed that Christians should strive to develop these in their lives

Thomas Aquinas lived from 1225 to 1274 and was part of the Roman Catholic Church. His Disputed Questions on Truth and Summa Theologica are well-known theological works. He is one of the greatest philosophers and theologians of the Catholic faith.

Because he lived so early, Aquinas has little written about his early life. He was educated as a boy and likely met Aristotle, a philosopher who influenced his theology. Aquinas became a monk of the Dominican Order as a 19-year-old. 

In his writings, Aquinas spoke of four cardinal virtues: prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude, and three theological virtues: faith, hope and charity. He believed that Christians should strive to develop these in their lives. The Pope chose to canonize Thomas Aquinas because of his work for the Church. 

Complete 3 volume set: THE DISPUTED QUESTIONS ON TRUTH, Library of Living Catholic Thought
  • Hardcover Book
  • St. Thomas Aquinas (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1465 Pages - 01/01/1954 (Publication Date) - Henry Regnery Co., Chicago (Publisher)

10. C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis
Lewis has more than 30 books to his name which have over 30 language translations

C. S. Lewis lived from 1898 until 1963. Though literature knows him best for his works of fiction, like The Chronicles of Narnia, he also wrote several books on Christian apologetics, including The Problem of Pain and Mere Christianity.

Lewis is unique among theologians because he actually turned to atheism as a young adult. His book The Great Divorce shows a semi-autobiographical account of his return to Christianity, largely through the writings of George MacDonald. This progression from atheism back to Christianity helped him in his writings. 

Lewis has more than 30 books to his name which have over 30 language translations. Many branches of Christianity study his theological books. Theology weaves its way into his fiction as well, with themes of Christ and resurrection being prominent. 

Mere Christianity
  • Great product!
  • C. S. Lewis (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 227 Pages - 02/06/2001 (Publication Date) - Harper San Francisco (Publisher)

11. A. W. Tozer

A. W. Tozer was an influential American theologian who lived from 1897 to 1963. As a teenager, he became a Christian after hearing a street preacher speak on salvation. He became a pastor just five years later with no formal training. 

Tozer wrote extensively for Alliance Weekly, a Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination magazine. In 1948, he published The Pursuit of God, a book that made him a well-known name in evangelical Christianity. He published 12 books during his lifetime, and over 40 compilations of his works from magazines and sermons have hit publication since his death. 

Even though his books sold very well, Tozer and his wife lived a simple life. He spent much of his royalties to help the less fortunate in his community.

The Pursuit of God
  • Tozer, A. W. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 60 Pages - 03/01/2019 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

12. Charles Ryrie

Charles Ryrie was an American writer who worked as a professor of systematic theology for Dallas Theological Seminary. He lived from 1925 to 2016 and edited the famous Ryrie Study Bible, which included thousands of his explanatory notes on the scripture. 

Ryrie stands out because of his focus on premillennial dispensationalism. Throughout his life, he collected rare Bibles and manuscripts, and after his death, that collection sold for $7.3 million. 

Ryrie published 32 books that have more than 1.5 million copies sold. Biblical Theology of the New Testament and Dispensationalism Today are two popular works. 

Biblical Theology of the New Testament
  • Ryrie, Charles C. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 12/31/2004 (Publication Date) - ECS Ministries (Publisher)

13. George Whitefield 

George Whitefield was an Anglican cleric who was born in Great Britain. A contemporary of John and Charles Wesley, the famous hymn writers, Whitefield was famous for his excellent preaching. Many of his writings were actually sermons that a friend published after he died.

Throughout his life, Whitefield was controversial. He embraced Calvinism and fought against the established church, encouraging instead a religious experience that caused people to have their own conversion experience.

While he was alive, Whitefield published A Short Account of God’s Dealings with the Reverend George Whitefield, an autobiographical work. His sermons appear in Sermons on Important Subjects, published after his death. 

A Short Account of God's Dealings With the Reverend Mr. George Whitefield, Late of Pembroke College, Oxford. From his Infancy, to the Time of his Entering Into Holy Orders
  • Hardcover Book
  • Whitefield, George (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 44 Pages - 04/25/2018 (Publication Date) - Gale Ecco, Print Editions (Publisher)

14. John Wesley

Where his brother Charles was known for his hymn writing, John Wesley was known for his theology. As young people, the two started a Holy Club, a group of men committed to studying scripture daily.

Wesley was opposed to Calvinism, embracing instead the Armenian teaching that humanity is utterly dependent on God’s grace for salvation, and that grace is available to all who will receive it, not only those who are predestined for salvation.

Wesley has several important works to his name. An Earnest Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion is one of those. In this work, he defends the methodist church and decries the evils of society and other churches he sees around him.

An Earnest Appeal to men of Reason and Religion. By John Wesley, ... The Sixth Edition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Wesley, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 50 Pages - 04/24/2018 (Publication Date) - Gale Ecco, Print Editions (Publisher)

15. John Piper

John Piper is a modern theologian who was born in 1946. He is the chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary and a Minneapolis pastor. He is Calvinist in his soteriology and Baptist in his ecclesiology, affirming a strong stance on predestination. 

Piper experienced his religious conversion as a child. He married Noel Henry and graduated from Wheaton College with a major in literature. He also received a Doctor of Theology degree in New Testament studies from the University of Munich in Germany.

One of Piper’s most famous works is Desiring God. He also wrote The Pleasures of God. Throughout his body of work, he focuses on the belief that God is glorified when people are most satisfied with him. Are you searching for books to expand your knowledge of Buddhism? Check out our round-up of the best books for Buddhism.

Desiring God, Revised Edition: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist
  • Piper, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 01/18/2011 (Publication Date) - Multnomah Books (Publisher)