In our infoverloaded world, nothing beats a book that can give the skillfully presented overview of a given discipline... and only a real master of a field can do this well. In light of this... millinerd's top 5 intro textbooks
1. Great Themes in Art by John Walford - In the history of Art, Christian subject matter pops up more than a couple of times. One has to admit then, that in chronicling art's history, a bias against faith would be a handicap... Dr. Walford does not have that handicap.
2. Christian Theology: An Introduction by Alister McGrath - Balanced, clear, broad, concise... He covers it all, including recent trends which are evaluated with fairness and perspective.
3. Introduction to the New Testament by Raymond Brown - Right before his death, Brown summed up all the current scholarship while directing us to the best of it. As a professor here put it, remarking that he could never have read all that Brown (a priest) had - "Celibacy has its advantages."
4. The Logic of the Spirit by Jim Loder - A one stop intro to human psychology that takes the spiritual perspective into deep consideration... Hauntingly insightful.
5. Wheelock's Latin by err... umm.... Wheelock - Six editions can't be wrong.