Baptism in the Early Church: History, Theology and Liturgy in the First Five Centuries by Everett Ferguson
This book contains a monumental amount of information on baptism in the early church. This is the “go to” resource on baptism from a historical perspective.
Born of Water by Jay Guin
This is a free e-book. Just click the link above.
Baptism in the New Testament By George Beasley-Murray
This is a pretty standard reference work on baptism working through Acts and the epistles and then going into early church developments.
Down to the River to Pray: Revisioning Baptism as God’s Transforming Work by John Mark Hicks & Greg Taylor
This book is from a Restoration perspective that gets us back to the heart and soul of what baptism was all about in the early church and how it was viewed in the early years of the Restoration Movement. This book is practical theology, offering up not just theological points but practical points to consider in churches today.
Remember Who You Are: Baptism, a Model for Christian Life by William Willimon
Willimon’s book is on the identifying markers that come with baptism (being chosen, Holy Spirit, dying and living, being born again, etc). It is from a Methodist perspective and does endorse infant baptism in a place or two but still has much to offer in his discussion of what the Bible has to say about baptism as a whole.
Contagious Holiness: Jesus’ Meals with Sinners By Craig Blomberg
This book is chocked full of history of Greco-Roman meals, social customs, etc and how that played a role in the early church and social interaction from the ministry of Jesus (and the accusations levied against him) to the early church. Much can be said about our view of others based on who we eat with and how we eat. Fantastic read.
The Supper of the Lamb by Capon
Chef and Episcopalian priest shares inspirational thoughts on cooking.
Come to the Table By John Mark Hicks
This book offers a needed corrective from seeing the Supper as an altar (sacrifice and mourning) to seeing it as a table (as it was originally instituted and intended). Very practical book that will offer you ideas on how to make meaningful changes to how the Supper is done in congregational life.
Last Supper & Lord’s Supper by I. Howard Marshall
This book gives the historical and textual evidence of the connections between the Last Supper, Passover and the Lord’s Supper.
Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World by Henri Nouwen
This is more of a devotional read where Nouwen takes the verbs: Taken, blessed, broken and given as a metaphor for our life with God. This is one you will want to read several times.
Many Tables: The Eucharist in the New Testament and Liturgy Today by Smith & Taussig
This is a shorter and more affordable version of the next book (Meals in the Early Christian World) that discusses social dimensions of Greco-Roman meals, lines of fellowship and the Lord’s supper in the early church. The book concludes with contemporary application.
Meals in the Early Christian World: Social Formation, Experimentation and Conflict at the Table by Smith & Taussig
This is the go to resource on historical evidence of early Christian meals.
Subversive Meals: An Analysis of the Lord’s Supper under Roman Domination during the First Century by R. Alan Streett
This book is on par with “Meals in the Early Christian World”. My only hesitation with this book is that the “subversive” thread may be drawn a little too hard.
Sunday Dinner: The Lord’s Supper and the Christian Life by William Willimon
Classic Willimon…very accessible, scriptural and historical. This would be a more introductory text than Streett or Smith/Taussig.
Making a Meal of it: Rethinking the Theology of the Lord’s Supper By Ben Witherington III
Very, very helpful with historical connections with the Lord’s Supper and as always Witherington does a masterful job interpreting the main texts.
Spilt Grape Juice by Mike Root
A highly influencial book on worship/Lord’s Supper that is definitely worth reading.
The Meal Jesus Gave Us by N.T. Wright
The first edition offered some fresh, brief insights on the Supper…I haven’t read the new edition.
Enter the Water, Come to the Table By John Mark Hicks
This is not a conglomeration of Hick’s other two books on baptism and Supper. This book offers fresh biblical perspective not found in the other two books.
Ancient Christian Worship: Early Church Practices in Social, Historical and Theological Perspective By Andrew McGowan
This book covers far more than the Supper and baptism but does cover those from a historical perspective. If you are looking for a good introductory text on worship in general in the early church, this is your book.