In my PhD program (Northwestern University) I was required to take four PhD qualifying exams. When I passed those, I became a PhD Candidate, who was ABD ("all but dissertation").
One of my exams was in ancient Christology (the study of Christ). I took this exam because knowing Jesus, both about him and experience of him, was my great, central passion. This passion has not diminished; indeed, it has increased.
My Jesus Quest has been, and remains, both intellectual and experiential. Along the way I have studied New Testament scholars and scholarly theologians. One of several things they share in common is belief in the atoning death of Christ on a cross.
As I thankfully approach yet another Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, I focus again on the Atonement. And sadly, some Christians have been influenced by progressive Christian writers [not necessarily scholars] who deny the atonement so as to render it more palatable to postmodern, secular culture. So, in my church context, I have been making blog posts on the Atonement, and will continue to do so through Good Friday.
For my personal studies I am reading (in some cases, re-reading), the following texts. Reading these shapes me devotionally, intellectually, and experientially. They escort me to the throne room of what I most deeply believe.
Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Christ, by Fleming Rutledge
The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views, James Beilby, Paul Eddy, Thomas Schreiner, Greg Boyd
What Did the Cross Accomplish: A Conversation About the Atonement, Simon Gathercole, Robert Stewart, N. T. Wright
The Atonement, William Lane Craig (I've not read Bill's newer book Atonement and the Death of Christ: An Exegetical, Historical, and Philosophical Exploration.)