Helps for the Reading Lutheran Layperson

Version 2.0

By T. R. Halvorson

Note: This post may be downloaded as a PDF document.


Suggested Reading List for the Lutheran Layperson

            At All Levels
            Further On

Lutheran Book Publishers
Other Book Publishers
Lutheran Journals and Periodicals
Lutheran PDFs and Texts
Calibre E-Reader Application
Online Bookstores and Repositories of E-Books, PDFs, and Texts
Search Engines for Books, E-Books, PDFs, and Texts
Library and School Borrowing Apps


A good friend suffered a heart attack. His doctor prescribed a treadmill to strengthen his heart and taught him about healthy diet. My friend took me to his basement to show me the treadmill. He got me on it and started putting the machine through its paces to show me its features. He explained why this kind of walking is necessary for our hearts, even though as farmers, we already do a lot of walking. Our regular walking is not the right kind for heart strength. It is too intermittent. While he was killing me in the paces, he explained how to read the “Nutrition Facts” panel on groceries as it relates to our hearts.

It is crazy what is in a serving of Oreo cookies or those coconut frosted miniature donuts that I like. Canned soup? I quit it because of the salt. The problem is not just with junk food. All kinds of prepared or packaged foods are less heart-healthy than we think.

Too bad there is no “Nutrition Facts” panel on what passes for Christian books and articles. What are the ingredients of those doing to our hearts? They have their own kinds of saturated fat, sugar, salt, and cholesterol. Even though it may be selling like hotcakes in the nearby Christian bookstore, a book might be no better for us than Cheetos or Twinkies, wrapped in bacon, and deep fried.

At least with food, making the shopping adjustment is not so difficult. You know where the fresh fruits and vegetables are in your usual grocery store. But in that nearby Christian bookstore, which is the aisle for you, the aisle for heart health? It is not that there are no worthwhile books there, but they are few, and wow, the sifting process!

Where is the good Lutheran aisle? It is not in the store down the street. We must make special trips, but to where? What to read and where to get it.

As we discover answers to those questions, we find that we often will need to read the materials in electronic form. That happens either because of lower cost, convenience, or our preference for e-reading. More often than we might have expected, a writing that we desire to read is readily available to us only in an electronic format. This raises additional questions. Where to find electronic books and texts, and how to manage them once we have them.

This article addresses some of these problems. Provided here are:

  • Suggested reading list at levels: beginning, intermediate, and further on.
  • Links to bibliographies for concentrated study of certain topics.
  • List of Lutheran book publishers.
  • List of Lutheran journals and periodicals.
  • List of sources of Lutheran PDFs and texts.
  • Recommended e-book reading and management application.
  • List of online bookstores and repositories of e-books, PDFs, and texts.
  • List of search engines for books, e-books, PDFs, and texts.
  • Apps for borrowing materials from libraries and schools.

Suggested Reading List for the Lutheran Layperson

At All Levels

  • Small Catechism
  • The Lutheran Study Bible, ed., Edward A. Engelbrecht, Concordia Publishing House, 2009.

There are certain sources that Christians of every level always should keep reading and re-reading. These include the Bible and the Small Catechism. In the preface to his Large Catechism, Luther answered common objections to memorizing and meditating on the Catechism. He said a child can understand the Catechism, but no one can master it, so everyone should keep studying it.

I am also a doctor and preacher … yet I do as a child who is being taught the Catechism, and every morning, and whenever I have time, I read and say, word for word, the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Psalms, etc. And I must still read and study daily, and yet I cannot master it as I wish, but must remain a child and pupil of the Catechism, and am glad so to remain.

In the following three levels (beginning, intermediate, and further on), the arrangement of the entries is: first, entries about the Catechism; and second, the remaining entries in alphabetical order.


  • As Luther Taught the Word of Truth: Devotions on the Small Catechism, Richard E. Lauersdorf, Northwestern Publishing House, 2002.
  • Didache, John T. Pless, Emmanuel Press, 2013.
  • Luther’s Large Catechism with Study Questions, ed. Paul T. McCain, Concordia Publishing House, 2010.
  • Luther’s Small Catechism: A Manual for Discipleship, John T. Pless, Concordia Publishing House, 2019.
  • Luther’s Two Catechisms Explained by Himself, in Six Classic Writings, Martin Luther, trans. John Nicholas Lenker, The Luther Press, 1908.
  • Praying Luther’s Small Catechism, John T. Pless, Concordia Publishing House, 2016.
  • The Christian Table of Duties (1588), Aegidius Hunnius, trans. Paul A. Rydecki, Repristination Press, 2013.
  • The Story of the Catechism, Theodore Graebner, Concordia Publishing House, 1928.
  • Christ for Us: Catechism Sermons of Rolf D. Preus, Concordia Catechetical Academy, 2017.
  • A Year of Law & Gospel Preaching: Postil of Sermons on the One-Year Lectionary, Rolf D. Preus, Steadfast Lutherans, 2019.
  • Augsburg Confession: the Concordia Readers Edition, Concordia Publishing House, 2013.
  • Biblical Dogmatics, Andrew George Voigt, CrossReach Publications, 2017.
  • Did My Baptism Count?, Martin Luther, trans. James C. Strawn, Lutheran Press, 2006.
  • “Divine Service: Delivering Forgiveness of Sins,” John T. Pless, presented at the South Dakota District Lay/Clergy Conferences, Rapid City, SD May 6, 1995, Sioux Falls, SD May 7, 1995. (online here)
  • Glory in the Cross: A Study in the Atonement, Leon Morris, Baker Book House, 1966.
  • God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life, Gene Edward Veith, Jr., Crossway Books, 2002.
  • Handbook of Consolations (for the Fears and Trials that Oppress Us in the Struggle with Death), Johann Gerhard, trans. Carl L. Beckwith, Wipf & Stock, 2009.
  • How is Christ There?, Martin Luther, Lutheran Press, 2011.
  • Jesus Remember Me: Words of Assurance from Martin Luther, Augsburg Fortress, 1998.
  • Lutheran Bible Companion, 2 vols, ed. Edward A. Engelbrecht, Concordia Publishing House, 2014.
  • Lutheranism 101, Scot A. Kinnaman, ed., Concordia Publishing House, 2010
  • Martin Luther on Holy Baptism: Sermons to the People (1525-39), Concordia Publishing House, 2018.
  • Meditations on Divine Mercy, Johann Gerhard, trans. Matthew C. Harrison, Concordia Publishing House, 2003.
  • Sacred Meditations, Johann Gerhard, trans. Wade R. Johnston, Magdeburg Press, 2011.
  • Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., trans. John Nicholas Lenker et al., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Baker Book House, 1983.
  • Spirituality of the Cross: The Way of the First Evangelicals, rev. ed., Gene Edward Veith, Jr., Concordia Publishing House, 2010.
  • The Daily Exercise of Piety, Johann Gerhard, trans. Matthew C. Harrison, Repristination Press, 1994.
  • The Hammer of God, rev. ed., Bo Giertz, trans Clifford Ansgar Nelson and Hans Andrae, Augsburg Fortress, 2005.
  • The Lutheran Manual, Junius Benjamin Remensnyder, Just & Sinner, 2014.
  • The Marriage Ring, Martin Luther, trans. J. Sheatsley, The Book Tree, 2003.
  • What is Marriage, Really?, Martin Luther, trans. Holger Sonntag, Lutheran Press, 2013.
  • Why I Am a Lutheran, Daniel Preus, Concordia Publishing House, 2004.


  • Martin Luther’s Catechisms: Forming the Faith, Timothy J. Wengert, Fortress Press, 2009.
  • That I Might Be His Own: An Overview of Luther’s Catechisms, Charles P. Arand, Concordia Academic Press, 2000.
  • A Summary of Christian Doctrine, 3rd rev. ed., Edward W. A. Koehler, Concordia Publishing House, 2016.
  • A Summary of the Christian Faith, part 1, Henry Eyster Jacobs, Just & Sinner Publishing, 2014.
  • A Summary of the Christian Faith, part 2, Henry Eyster Jacobs, Just & Sinner Publishing, 2017.
  • Christian Dogmatics, John Theodore Mueller, Concordia Publishing House, 1934.
  • Compend of Lutheran Theology, Leonard Hutter, trans H. E. Jacobs and G. F. Spieker, Gnesio Books, 2013.
  • Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, A Readers Edition of the Book of Concord, 2nd ed., ed. Paul Timothy McCain, Concordia Publishing House, 2006.
  • Eating God’s Sacrifice: The Lord’s Supper Portrayed in Old Testament Sacrifice, Daniel Brege, D.J. Brege, 2009. (Lulu)
  • Elements of Religion, Henry E. Jacobs, Repristination Press, 2011.
  • Evangelical Lutheran Dogmatics, Adolph Hoenecke, Northwestern Publishing House, 1914.
  • Gottesdienst, Cultus Dei: What the Lutheran Confessions Say about Worship. James Leonard Brauer, St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2005.
  • Hallmarks of Lutheran Identity, Alvin J. Schmidt, Concordia Publishing House, 2017.
  • Handling the Word of Truth: Law and Gospel in the Church Today, John T. Pless, Concordia Publishing House, 2004.
  • Heaven on Earth: The Gifts of Christ in the Divine Service, Arthur A. Just, Concordia Publishing House, 2008.
  • History of Theology, 4th rev. ed., Bengt Hägglund, trans. Gene J. Lund, Concordia Publishing House, 2007.
  • Law and Gospel: How to Read and Apply the Bible, Carl F. W. Walther, trans. Christian C. Tiews, ed. Charles P. Schaum, Concordia Publishing House, 2010.
  • Liturgy and Spiritual Awakening, Bo Harald Giertz, Augustana Book Concern, 1954. (Another translation online here and online here)
  • Luther on Worship, an Interpretation, Vilmos Vajta, Muhlenberg Press, 1958.
  • Luther’s Liturgical Criteria and His Reform of the Canon of the Mass, Bryan D. Spinks, Synoptic Text Information Services, Inc., 2021.
  • Luther’s Theology of the Cross, Herman Sasse, trans. Arnold J. Koelpin, from “Briefe an lutherische Pastoren,” nr. 18, October 1951. (online here)
  • Popular Symbolics: The Doctrines of the Churches of Christendom and of other Religious Bodies Examined in the Light of Scripture, Th. Engelder, W. Arndt, Th. Graebner, and F. E. Mayer, Concordia Publishing House, 1934.
  • Reclaiming the Lutheran Liturgical Heritage, Oliver K. Olson, ReClaim Resources, 2007.
  • “The Authority of Scripture,” Norman Nagel, Concordia Theological Monthly, vol 27, no. 9, September 1956, pp. 693-701. (online here and online here)
  • The Chief Divine Service of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church, Friedrich Lochner, trans. Matthew Carver, Concordia Publishing House, 2020.
  • The Christian Faith: A System of Christian Dogmatics, Joseph Stump, The Muhlenberg Press, 1942.
  • The Christian Year of Grace: The Chief Parts of Scripture Explained in Questions and Answers, Johann Spangenberg, trans. Matthew Carver, Concordia Publishing House, 2014.
  • The Conservative Reformation and its Theology, Charles Porterfiedl Krauth, reprint edition, Augsburg Publishing House, 1978.
  • The Cruelty of Heresy: An Affirmation of Christian Orthodoxy, C. FitzSimons Allison, Moorehouse Publishing, 1994.
  • The Gift of Communion; Luther’s Controversy with Rome on Eucharistic Sacrifice, Carl Fredrik Wisløff, Augsburg Publishing House, 1964.
  • The Lonely Way: Selected Essays and Letters, vols. 1 & 2, Hermann Sasse, Concordia Publishing House, 2001, 2003.
  • The Lutheran Difference: An Explanation & Comparison of Christian Beliefs, Edward, Engelbrecht, ed., Concordia Publishing House, 2010.
  • This Is My Body: Luther’s Contention for the Real Presence in the Sacrament of the Altar, rev. ed., Hermann Sasse, Concordia Publishing House, 2003.

Further On

  • Commentaries on Luther’s Catechisms, 5 vols, Albrecht Peters, trans. Thomas H. Trapp, Concordia Publishing House, 2012.
  • A Comprehensive Explanation of Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (1610), Johann Gerhard, trans. Elmer Hohle, Repristination Press, 1996.
  • A Repetition of the Sound Doctrine: Concerning the True Presence of the Body and Blood of the Lord in the Supper, Martin Chemnitz, trans. Paul A. Rydecki, Repristination Press, 2021.
  • Bondage of the Will, Martin Luther, trans, J. I. Packer and O. R. Johnston, Baker Academic, 2012.
  • Chemnitz’s Works: Enchiridion, The Lord’s Supper, and the Lord’s Prayer, trans. Luther Poellot, J. A. O. Preus, and Georg Williams, Concordia Publishing House, 2007.
  • Christian Dogmatics and Notes on the History of Dogma, rev. ed., Conrad Emil Lindberg, trans Conrad Emanuel Hoffsten, Augustana Book Concern, 1922.
  • Christian Dogmatics, 4 vols, Francis Pieper, Concordia Publishing House, 1950.
  • Christology of the Old Testament, E. W. Hengstenberg, Kregel Publications, 1970.
  • Commonplaces: Loci Communes 1521, Philip Melanchthon, Concordia Publishing House, 2014.
  • Commonplaces: Loci Communes 1543, Philip Melanchthon, Concordia Publishing House, 1992.
  • Communion Fellowship, Paul T. McCain, Logia Publishing, 1992.
  • Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, A Readers Edition of the Book of Concord, 2nd ed., ed. Paul Timothy McCain, Concordia Publishing House, 2006.
  • Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics, Robert Preus, ed., International Foundation for Lutheran Confessional Research, various dates by volume) (Baptism, Christology, Eschatology, Law and Gospel and the Means of Grace, The Church and Her Fellowship, Ministry and Governance, The Holy Trinity, The Lord’s Supper).
  • Doctrinal Theology of the Lutheran Church, Heinrich Schmid, trans. Charles A. Hay and Henry E. Jacobs, reprint edition, Augsburg Publishing House, 1961.
  • Getting into the Theology of Concord: A Study of the Book of Concord, Robert D. Preus, Concordia Publishing House, 1977.
  • “Herman Sasse and the Liturgical Movement,” John T. Pless, Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology VII.2 (1998): 47-51. (online here)
  • Historical Introductions to the Lutheran Confessions, 2nd ed., Gerhard Friedrich Bente, Concordia Publishing House, 2005. 
  • “Liturgy and Evangelism in the Service of the Mysteria Dei,” Mysteria Dei: Essays in Honor of Kurt Marquart, eds. Paul T. McCain and John R. Stephenson, Concordia Theological Seminary Press, (1999), 233-34. (online here)
  • Loci Theologici, vols. vii and viii in Chemnitz’s Works, Concordia Publishing House, 2009.
  • Luther on Vocation, Gustav Wingren, ed. Carl C. Rassmussen, Wipf & Stock, 2004.
  • Luther’s Theology of the Cross, Walther von Loewenich, trans. Herbert J. A. Bouman, Augsburg Publishing House, 1976.
  • Luther’s Works, Volume 35: Word and Sacrament I, ed. E. Theodore Bachmann, Augsburg Publishing House, 1960.
  • Luther’s Works, Volume 36: Word and Sacrament II, eds. Helmut T. Lehmann and Abdel R. Wentz., Augsburg Publishing House, 1959.
  • Luther’s Works, Volume 37: Word and Sacrament III, ed. Robert H. Fischer, Augsburg Publishing House, 1961.
  • Luther’s Works, Volume 38: Word and Sacrament IV, eds. Helmut T. Lehmann and Martin E. Lehmanz, Augsburg Publishing House, 1971.
  • Ministry, Word, and Sacraments: An Enchiridion, Martin Chemnitz, trans. Luther Poellot, Concordia Publishing House, 1981.
  • The Apostolic Preach of the Cross, Leon Morris, 3rd ed., Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1965.
  • The Atonement: Its Meaning & Significance, Leon Morris, InterVarsity Press, 1983.
  • The Chief Theological Topics: Loci Praecipui Theologici 1559, Concordia Publishing House, 2011.
  • The Doctrine of Man in the Writings of Martin Chemnitz and Johann Gerhard, eds. Herman A. Preus and Edmund Smits, Concordia Publishing House, 2005.
  • The Doctrine of the Atonement from Luther to Forde, Jack D. Kilcrease, Wipf & Stock, 2018
  • The Fire and the Staff: Lutheran Theology in Practice, Klemet I. Preus, Concordia Publishing House, 2004.
  • The Inspiration of Scripture: A Study of the Theology of the 17th-Century Lutheran Dogmaticians, 2nd ed, Robert Preus, Concordia Publishing House, 1957.
  • The Lord’s Supper, Martin Chemnitz, trans. J. A. O. Preus, Concordia Publishing House, 1979.
  • The Public Confession of Johannes Bugenhagen of Pomerania Concerning the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, Johannes Bugenhagen, trans. Richard J. Dinda, Repristination Press: 2015.
  • The Two Natures in Christ, Martin Chemnitz, trans. J. A. O. Preus, Concordia Publishing House, 1970.
  • Theological Commonplaces, Johann Gerhard, Concordia Publishing House, various dates by volume. (On Christ, On Creation and Predestination, On Good Works, On Interpreting Sacred Scripture and Method of Theological Study, On Justification through Faith, On Sin and Free Choice, On the Church, On the Gospel and Repentance, On the Law, On the Ministry I, On the Nature of God and on the Trinity, On the Nature of Theology and on Scripture, On the Resurrection of the Dead and On the Last Judgment)
  • Theology of the Lutheran Confessions, Edmund Schlink, Trans. Paul F. Koehneke and Herbert J. A. Bouman, Concordia Publishing House, 1961.


Following are links to some bibliographies that list material for concentrated study of selected topics. This is not a well-rounded set. They just happen to be topics that I had reason to explore, so I offer the bibliographies for anyone who might benefit from them.

Lutheran Book Publishers

Understand that, as to doctrinal soundness, most book publishers are a mixed bag, and they vary over time. Inclusion of a publisher here is not an endorsement indiscriminately of everything it publishes. One still must use discernment. These are listed in alphabetical order.

Other Book Publishers

Several publishers that are not classified as Lutheran do publish significant Lutheran books.

Lutheran Journals and Periodicals

Lutheran PDFs and Texts

Calibre E-Reader Application

You may be happy with your dedicated e-reader device: Kindle, Nook, Kobo, or another. If so, you might never need to know about e-reader applications. But there are reasons for such applications, and for many people, such an application is a must.

What are some of the reasons?

  • You found a document you want to read, but it is in a format your e-reader device does not support. There are dozens of formats of e-books and texts.
  • You want to read anywhere on any of your devices, be it phone, tablet, notebook, laptop, or desktop.
  • You want to carry your tablet computer, but then you would be carrying two devices if you also carry your dedicated e-reader.
  • You want control over where your book files are stored for any one of several reasons, including to save space on your device’s or tablet’s internal storage, and your e-reader device either does not allow that, or makes it difficult to discover how to do it.
  • You want to be able to do other things with some of your e-books, PDFs, or texts in addition to reading them, such as editing the metadata (author, publisher, year of publication, ISBN, cover, summary, tags, etc. so their entries in your library listing are more useful).
  • You want to convert a document from one format to another.

The software industry has produced dozens of independent e-reader applications. There are many good ones. An excellent on is Calibre.

Calibre is a free and open-source e-book library management application developed by users of e-books for users of e-books. It runs on Windows, OS X, Linux, and portably such as on jump drive. It has a cornucopia of features divided into the following main categories:

  • Comprehensive e-book viewer. It reads all formats, provide a rich set of built-in features, and it has open extensibility by plug-in so that may developers can add functionality.
  • Syncing to e-book reader devices
  • Content server for online access to your book collection
  • Library Management
  • E-book conversion
  • Downloading news from the web and converting it into e-book form
  • E-book editor for the major e-book formats

Besides that, Calibre has a built-in feature called Get Books that helps you search for e-books online. By default, it searches over 40 stores and repositories various countries, and you can select only the ones you want to search. You can search by title or author. Calibre can sort the results by price.  While researching the historic Lutheran liturgy, I found many out-of-print books by Lutheran authors in PDF format through this feature, and easily loaded them into Calibre.

For certain formats such as PDF, Calibre may call an external viewer, such as Adobe Reader. If you use a different PDF reader, such as perhaps Foxit Reader, and set it as your default reader on your device, then when you choose in Calibre to read a document in PDF format, the document automatically will open in you default reader.

Calibre has a large user base. Many favorable reviews have been written about it. Perhaps the best way to get an idea about whether you want to try it is to look at the Grand Tour Video, video tutorials, and screenshots. Or, since it is free, just download and try it.

Online Bookstores and Repositories of E-Books, PDFs, and Texts

These bookstores and repositories are not specifically Lutheran but contain many valuable Lutheran e-books and texts.

Search Engines for Books, E-books, PDFs, and Texts

Library and School Borrowing Apps

OverDrive provides apps for borrowing ebooks, audiobooks, and digital content from libraries and schools.

  • OverDrive – Their original app for borrowing digital content from libraries and schools.
  • Libby – Ebooks and audiobooks from your local library.
  • Sora – Discover and read ebooks and audiobooks offered by your school.