Best Sermon Books
Lenker's edition of Luther's Sermons - These are the only sermon books needed, and they should be the primary reading material of every Lutheran layman, teacher, and pastor. The larger set, with the Postils, can be obtained with the Lenker edition, used, for a reasonable amount of money. That set is relatively difficult to obtain, but it is out there in the used market.
Best Systematic Theology
Martin Chemnitz - Examination of the Council of Trent. This work is far more enjoyable than Melanchthon's Loci, so I suggest this set for studying systematic theology. Besides, this is an excellent survey of Roman Catholic errors.
Best Essay on Justification by Faith
Melanchthon's section on Justification in the Augsburg Confession's Apology is worth reading over and over, especially to fumigate one's brain after being exposed to Halle's Universal Objective Justification, regurgitated - world without end - by ELCA, WELS, LCMS, the Little Sect, and the CLC (sic).
Best Book on Justification by Faith
Luther's Galatians Commentary. John Bunyan called this his most read book, apart from the Bible. Someone offered the fact that he saw this in a pastor's library. But was it read, studied, inwardly digested?
Best New Testament Commentaries
Lenski is the only one I would advise getting. Anything by Luther is great, but I question weighing down the shelves with unread volumes of Luther. Better to read Luther's Galatians over and over than to have the complete Luther set.
Best of the Neglected and Forgotten Authors
- Henry Eyster Jacobs has a wonderful study book on Lutheran doctrine.
- Krauth's Conservative Reformation should be studied at least once.
- Schmauk has great insights in his Confessional Principle.
- The King James Version of the Bible, aka the English version of Luther's Bible.
I keep Luther's Sermons and Galatians in the car, to read parts while waiting at doctor's offices, etc.