5 Books Every Parent Should Read

Joe Willmann Teaching the Faith at Home Leave a Comment

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I can hear it now . . . “You’re a funny guy, Joe.”

“5 books I should read?” you’ll say. “You realize I have children, right?”

I get it. We are all busy. Some words and phrases to describe it might be: tired, overwhelmed, busy, messy, up to my eyeballs, just trying to keep my head above water, etc.

I get it—I’m there too. You read from the Bible and the Small Catechism and sing hymns with your family. By the time you get the little ones to bed, the last thing you want to do is pick up a book that engages your brain in thought. Most of us (me included) would rather just drift away into something mindless.

While I would be lying if I told you these books didn’t engage your brain (they do quite the opposite), I can tell you that these books are a joy to read and they will help you sharpen not only your apologetic understanding of the faith, but they will also help sharpen your teaching ability at home.

Spirituality of the Cross by Gene Edward Veith

This revised edition of the book is not only a quick and easy read, it is an important read. For those of us who are looking for a picture of what the Christian life is, Spirituality of the Cross will help you understand your role in the world as one redeemed by Christ the crucified.



Veith explores and presents a true understanding of justification by faith, the means of grace, vocation, theology of the cross, the two kingdoms, worship, and the church.

This is a revised edition of the original text written in 1999. This revised edition contains an updated bibliography, useful clarifications, and some new material.


Veith goes into greater depth, especially relating to the theology of the cross and vocation. More resources, including Luther’s Catechism, the Book of Concord, the rite of Confession and Absolution, and the writings of Martin Luther are included as invaluable resources for Christians living a life under the cross.

Why I Am a Lutheran by Rev. Daniel Preus

The title says it all. This book will help you start to wrap your brain around why we believe what we believe. It is a short book and a quick read. This book will help you teach your children about what we believe as they start asking you important questions about our faith.



Through a blend of understandable explanations and real-life stories, Why I Am a Lutheran explores the foundational teachings of the Christian church. In each chapter, Daniel Preus calls upon more than twenty years of pastoral experience to reveal Jesus as the center of the Christian faith. As he addresses central doctrines such as sin and grace, Law and Gospel, the person and work of Jesus Christ, worship, the Sacraments, and the office of the ministry, Preus keeps the focus on Jesus Christ—who is “always and only at the center of all Christian teaching.”

Pastoral Theology by C. F. W. Walther

Yes, I put a book on the list titled Pastoral Theology. Yes, I understand most of you are not pastors (well, fathers are the pastor of their household, but that is an entirely different discussion). No, this is not a mistake.

Pastoral Theology is one of the great treasures that Walther left the church. As a handbook for men in the Office of the Holy Ministry, it is a very practical resource. For parents and all Lutherans, it does a masterful job of teaching about what we believe, where those beliefs are defended in Scripture, and how that informs the practice of the church. With this knowledge, you will be prepared to teach these important concepts to your family, as well as encourage your pastor in his vocation!



Pastoral Theology was the first confessional Lutheran handbook for the pastoral ministry published in the United States and remains, to this day, a very important work from a historical perspective.  

C. F. W. Walther explains the “how” and “why” of what a pastor does. This is the only complete translation of this influential work by Walther.


Today, pastors will appreciate this practical work of careful biblical theology and application of Scripture’s teachings for the Church’s ministry. This volume is a guide for all who are involved in matters of the pastoral ministry and concerned with how it is carried out in a faithful, biblical manner.

Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?: 12 False Christs by Rev. Dr. Matthew Richard

This book is masterful in its storytelling and in its teaching. In our world today, we are constantly bombarded with false teachings about who Christ is. Rev. Richard does a wonderful job explaining these false teachings and giving you example scenarios that you might encounter in your life. This book will provide you with the knowledge to discern false teaching and protect your family from it!



When’s the last time you stepped up to the counter and ordered one medium-size Jesus, extra generous, and heavy on the bling? Or maybe you like your Jesus supersized! No? Perhaps you prefer yours extra small, and hold the onion, please.


Here’s the same question: When’s the last time you took a hammer and a chisel to the Jesus of the Bible and formed Him into your own personal Jesus?


Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? not only reminds us who the real Jesus of the Bible is, but it also reveals to us twelve false christs who are embraced, loved, promoted, and revered—even by well-meaning Christians.

Man Up!: The Quest for Masculinity by Rev. Jeffrey Hemmer and LadyLike: Living Biblically by Rebekah Curtis and Rose Adle

Ok, I cheated. There are six books on the list. These two, however, are good for really diving in and understanding our vocations as men and women in this world. Man Up! has such an earthy delivery that every guy will love it, while LadyLike does not shy away from being counter-cultural and embracing the Biblical vocation of womanhood.



What does it mean to be a man? Sacrifice.

Man Up! doesn’t tell you to take down the feminists or reclaim your God-given role and rights. Real masculinity starts with giving of yourself for the good of those around you and in your care. It’s counter-cultural—and it’s exactly how God designed biblical manhood.


This book is a call to fix your eyes and your hope on the Man up on the cross and to find in His selfless sacrifice the perfect example for manliness in our self-indulgent, self-centered society. That’s where Man Up! really stands out in the crowd. Don’t pick up these pages expecting to find an ideal man you should strive to be. This book is anchored in a different ideal. In the person of Jesus Christ, God became man. What Adam lost in his rebellion, Jesus restored in His Incarnation. Jesus is the perfect man. His example sets the paradigm for perfect masculinity. But more important, His sacrifice obtains forgiveness and mercy for the rest of us men who are bound to fail in this God-given task to be good men.


Men in all stages of life will appreciate this refreshing perspective—whether you’re searching for footing in this crazy culture, seeking a godly relationship with your wife, or looking for guidance on raising children.

In a society where conversations about gender have too often become stale and predictable, LadyLike: Living Biblically reimagines what it means to be a Christian woman in our feminized secular society.

Radically retro, freshly old-fashioned, and powerfully submissive, Rosie Adle and Rebekah Curtis, two playful and mischievous sisters, challenge us to rethink everything we thought we knew about men and women. Like a jolt of espresso, or a polar bear plunge, their writing enlivens the senses, helping us to see the world, as it were, for the first time.

To be honest, this list could go on for days. Maybe that means that I’ll have to write another post in the future called 5 MORE Books Every Parent Should Read. This list isn’t meant to be complete or definitive. No, the point of this list is to be a starting block and an encouragement for you to rejoice in what we preach, teach, and confess as you teach your children.

God’s blessings as you teach the faith once for all, delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).


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About the Author

Joe Willmann


Joe Willmann is the Senior Instructional Designer for Concordia Publishing House in St. Louis, MO. A former teacher and administrator, Joe has a passion for education and learning theory. He earned his Bachelor's Degree from Ball State University and his Master's Degree from Concordia University - Ann Arbor. He lives with his wife, Nicole, his daughter Ava, and his son Carter. You can read his latest posts here.

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