Helps for the Reading Lutheran Layperson

A good friend suffered a heart attack. His doctor prescribed a treadmill to strengthen his heart and taught him about healthy diet. One evening when I visited, 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 (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’s 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. (Sorry that I spoke ill of bacon.)

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’s not that there are no worthwhile books there, but they are few, and wow, the sifting process!

Where is the good Lutheran aisle? It’s not in the store down the street. We have to make special trips, but to where? The first problems are 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 one of many electronic formats. This raises a number of additional questions. Where to find electronic books and texts, and how to manage them once we have them.

This article addresses a number of these problems. Provided here are:

  • Suggested reading list at levels: beginning, intermediate, and further on.
  • 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.
  • Recommended PDF reader.
  • List of online bookstores and repositories of e-books, PDFs, and texts.
  • List of search engines for e-books, PDFs, and texts.

Version 1.0 — Suggestions

This article definitely is only a version 1.0 effort. I welcome suggestions for additions, changed URLs, and other updates and improvements. Please use the comment box below, which will benefit everyone immediately, and cause an email to be sent to me so I can incorporate improvements.

Suggested Reading List for the Lutheran Layperson


  • The Lutheran Study Bible, ed., Edward A. Engelbrecht, Concordia Publishing House, 2009.
  • Lutheran Bible Companion, 2 vols, ed. Edward A. Engelbrecht, Concordia Publishing House, 2014.
  • Small Catechism
  • Augsburg Confession: the Concordia Readers Edition, Concordia Publishing House, 2013.
  • Didache, John T. Pless, Emmanuel Press, 2013.
  • Lutheranism 101, Scot A. Kinnaman, ed., Concordia Publishing House, 2010
  • Why I Am a Lutheran, Daniel Preus, Concordia Publishing House, 2004.
  • Spirituality of the Cross: The Way of the First Evangelicals, rev. ed., Gene Edward Veith, Jr., Concordia Publishing House, 2010.
  • Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel, trans. & ed. Theodore G. Tappert, Regent College Publishing, 2003.
  • Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., trans. John Nicholas Lenker et al., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Baker Book House, 1983.
  • The Sufferings of Jesus Christ for Sinners: A Series of Sermons Delivered by Martin Luther, ed. Chris Rosenbrough, Pirate Christian Media, 2011.
  • Jesus Remember Me: Words of Assurance from Martin Luther, Augsburg Fortress, 1998.
  • What is Marriage, Really?, Martin Luther, trans. Holger Sonntag, Lutheran Press, 2013.
  • The Marriage Ring, Martin Luther, trans. J. Sheatsley, The Book Tree, 2003.
  • Sacred Meditations, Johann Gerhard, trans. Wade R. Johnston,       Magdeburg Press, 2011.
  • Meditations on Divine Mercy, Johann Gerhard, trans. Matthew C. Harrison, Concordia Publishing House, 2003.
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • Broken: 7 “Christian” Rules That Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible , Jonathan M. Fisk, Concordia Publishing House, 2012.
  • God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life, Gene Edward Veith, Jr., Crossway Books, 2002.
  • The Hammer of God, rev. ed., Bo Giertz, trans Clifford Ansgar Nelson and Hans Andrae, Augsburg Fortress, 2005.


  • Small Catechsim
  • Luther’s Large Catechism with Study Questions, ed. Paul T. McCain, Concordia Publishing House, 2010.
  • Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, A Readers Edition of the Book of Concord, 2nd ed., ed. Paul Timothy McCain, Concordia Publishing House, 2006.
  • The Lutheran Difference: An Explanation & Comparison of Christian Beliefs, Edward, Engelbrecht, ed., Concordia Publishing House, 2010.
  • Handling the Word of Truth: Law and Gospel in the Church Today. John T. Pless, Concordia Publishing House, 2004.
  • 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.
  • The Conservative Reformation and its Theology, Charles Porterfiedl Krauth, reprint edition, Augsburg Publishing House, 1978.
  • Christian Dogmatics, John Theodore Mueller, Concordia Publishing House, 1934.
  • Martin Luther Confessor of the Faith, Robert Kolb, Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • The Cruelty of Heresy: An Affirmation of Christian Orthodoxy, C. FitzSimons Allison, Moorehouse Publishing, 1994.
  • We Confess Anthology, Hermann Sasse, Concordia Publishing House, 2003.
  • Luther’s Theology of the Cross, Herman Sasse, trans. Arnold J. Koelpin, from “Briefe an lutherische Pastoren,” nr. 18, October 1951. (online here)
  • Liturgy and Spiritual Awakening, Bo Harald Giertz, Augustana Book Concern, 1954. (Another translation online here and online here)
  • Heaven on Earth: The Gifts of Christ in the Divine Service, Arthur A. Just, Concordia Publishing House, 2008.
  • Christology, David P. Scaer, The International Foundation for Lutheran Confessional Research, 1989.
  • Baptism, David P. Scaer, Luther Academy, 1999.
  • Law and Gospel and the Means of Grace, David P. Scaer, Luther Academy, 2008.
  • The Lonely Way: Selected Essays and Letters, vols. 1 & 2, Hermann Sasse, Concordia Publishing House, 2001, 2003.
  • Luther on Worship, an Interpretation, Vilmos Vajta, Muhlenberg Press, 1958.
  • Eating God’s Sacrifice: The Lord’s Supper Portrayed in Old Testament Sacrifice, Daniel Brege, IN: D.J. Brege, 2009. (Lulu)
  • 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.
  • The Gift of Communion; Luther’s Controversy with Rome on Eucharistic Sacrifice, Carl Fredrik Wisløff, Augsburg Publishing House, 1964.
  • 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)
  • That I Might Be His Own: An Overview of Luther’s Catechisms, Charles P. Arand, Concordia Academic Press, 2000.
  • Martin Luther’s Catechisms: Forming the Faith, Timothy J. Wengert, Fortress Press, 2009.

Further On

  • Small Catechism
  • Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, A Readers Edition of the Book of Concord, 2nd ed., ed. Paul Timothy McCain, Concordia Publishing House, 2006.
  • Christian Dogmatics, 4 vols, Francis Pieper, Concordia Publishing House, 1950.
  • Doctrinal Theology of the Lutheran Church, Heinrich Schmid, trans. Charles A. Hay and Henry E. Jacobs, reprint edition, Augsburg Publishing House, 1961.
  • Theology of the Lutheran Confessions, Edmund Schlink, Trans. Paul F. Koehneke and Herbert J. A. Bouman, Concordia Publishing House, 1961.
  • Bondage of the Will, Martin Luther, trans, J. I. Packer and O. R. Johnston, Baker Academic, 2012.
  • Luther’s Theology of the Cross, Walther von Loewenich, trans. Herbert J. A. Bouman, Augsburg Publishing House, 1976.
  • Commentaries on Luther’s Catechisms, 5 vols, Albrecht Peters, trans. Thomas H. Trapp, Concordia Publishing House, 2012.
  • The Fire and the Staff: Lutheran Theology in Practice, Klemet I. Preus, Concordia Publishing House, 2004.
  • “Herman Sasse and the Liturgical Movement,” John T. Pless, Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology VII.2 (1998): 47-51. (online here)
  • “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)
  • Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries, Werner Elert, trans. Norman Nagel, Concordia Publishing House, 1966.
  • The Worship Mall: Contemporary Responses to Contemporary Culture, Bryan D. Spinks, SPCK Publishing, 2010.
  • Luther on Vocation, Gustav Wingren, ed. Carl C. Rassmussen, Wipf & Stock, 2004.
  • The Two Natures in Christ, Martin Chemnitz, trans. J. A. O. Preus, Concordia Publishing House, 1970.

Lutheran Book Publishers

Concordia Publishing House

Concordia Theological Seminary Bookstore

Emmanuel Press

Luther Academy Books (via Logia)

Lutheran Press

Lutheran University Press

Magdeburg Press

Mark V Publications

Northwestern Publishing House

Repristination Press

Sola Publishing

Lutheran Journals and Periodicals

Around the Word

CLC Journal of Theology Archive

Concordia Journal

Concordia Theological Quarterly

For the Life of the World

Gottesdienst: The Journal of Lutheran Liturgy

Issues, Etc. Journal

Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology

Lutheran Quarterly

The Canadian Lutheran

Lutheran PDFs and Texts

Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne Media Resources

Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Way Index of PDFs

John W. Kleinig Resources

LCMS Document Library

Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Essay File

Calibre – A Fabulous E-reader Application
Foxit Reader – A Better PDF Reader

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.

e-Reader and coffee on a table

What are some of the reasons?

  • You want to read on your computer or phone, be it desktop, laptop, notebook, or table.
  • You want to carry your tablet computer, but then you’d be carrying two devices if you also carry your dedicated e-reader.
  • 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 control over where your book files are stored for any one of a number of 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 very 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, etc. so their entries in your library listing are more useful).

Some of the producers of dedicated e-reader devices provide free computer applications, such as the Kindle application for Amazon Kindle-formatted books, and Nook Reading for Barnes & Noble Nook-formatted books. These might not support the format of a document you want to read, or their features might be poor. For example, the Kindle application that runs on Windows 8 Metro has not been well received, and Windows 8 tablet users have moved toward running in Desktop mode with the Windows 7 version of the Kindle app.

Consequently, the software industry has produced dozens of independent e-reader applications. There are many good and very good ones. One fabulous e-reader application 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
  • 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. It searches, at this writing, 45 stores and repositories. 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.

Bookshelf in tablet computer

For certain formats such as PDF, Calibre may call an external viewer, such as Adobe Reader. But I recommend getting Foxit Reader. Foxit Reader is richly featured, yet lightweight, and portable. When you install it, let it set itself as the default PDF reader. Then, when you choose in Calibre to read a document in PDF format, the document automatically will open in Foxit.

Calibre has a very large user base. Many favorable reviews have been written about it. You would have no trouble finding some by searching the Internet. See for example, Calibre: Hands-Down, The Best eBook Manager Available. But perhaps the best way to get an idea about whether you want to try it is to watch the Grand Tour Video on the Calibre website. Give it a fair try, and I’ll bet you will feel you want to make a voluntary contribution to its developers, as I did.

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.


Barnes & Noble



Christian Classics Ethereal Library




Google Books

Internet Achive eBooks and Texts

ITunes US (books)


Library BIN



Open Library

Project Gutenberg

Read Print


Search Engines for E-books, PDFs, and Texts

Digital Book Index


E-Books Directory

Good Reads





PDF Search Engine

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