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  • « Another Common Objection to Augustinian Soteriology | Main | Monergism v. Synergism (Quote) by R. C. Sproul »

    Must Reading for your Theological Edification & Education

    The following are considered among "great works of theology." This collection of books are must-have editions for your library: Highly recommended reading for your journey in the Christian life. This list is, of course, far from exhaustive (so don't get upset if I did not pick a favorite) but a good place to start if you have not read them. Once you read some of these you will wonder why you spent your precious time on lesser things. I assume you already have a Bible of your own so that is not on the list:

    Augustine, Confessions, Anti-Pelagian Writings, On the Trinity

    Anselm, Why God Became Man

    Bonar, Horatius, The Everlasting Righteousness

    Brown, John (of Edinburgh, 1784-1858) Discourses and Sayings of Our Lord Jesus Christ, 3 volume

    Charnock, Stephen. The Existence And Attributes Of God

    Fairbairn, Patrick Typology of Scripture

    Lloyd-Jones, Martyn, The Sermon on the Mount

    Luther, Bondage of the Will

    Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion

    Edwards, Treatise on Religious Affections, Freedom of the Will

    Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, What Is Faith?

    Owen, John, Sin & Temptation, The Holy Spirit, Glory of Christ, Death of Death, Biblical Theology

    Sibbes, Richard, The Bruised Reed

    Spurgeon, Charles, Lectures to My Students

    Turretin, Francis Institutes of Elenctic Theology 3 vol. set

    Warfield, B.B, The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield

    Watson, Body of Divinity

    Westminster Confession of Faith

    Posted by John on April 12, 2006 04:03 PM


    everything by Arthur Pink
    The Soverignty of God
    The Attributes of God

    I made my own list of Christian books I've read, too. Some of the above are on there.

    The link is below if you are interested. Some of them a lot of people haven't heard of, surprisingly...

    Aspiring Theologian's Top 10 List

    God bless,
    A. Shepherd

    The Aspiring Theologian Blog: A Reformed Theology Blog

    The Sovereignty of God, by AW Pink, was one of the first books I read on my journey to being Reformed. He holds a special place in my heart.


    These are good. . . but. . .

    I have an irl friend who asked me the other day why I mention theology so much. She's been a Christian since childhood and her walk with the Lord has had her in church bodies that emphasize unity and worship, not theology and what she perceives as divisiveness.

    Anyway. . . I look at this list and think of her and a lot of Christians I know who, while intelligent and seeking the Lord, would be intimidated by this list.

    I'ld like to see a "Must Reading for your Theological Edification & Education" list for those who are just dipping their toes into theological waters. While these books, of course, would be great--I can see Calvin's Institutes being picked up and put down and left unread by those who have not already established a theological foundation.


    Hi ... Thanks for your thoughts.

    A comment. Your friend says that theology divides. The Problem with such a statement is that we all have theology. Someone says, "I just want Jesus and the Bible." Ok, we say, "tell us who is Jesus and how should we read the Bible?" The answer to those questions demand theological answers. The Mormons also believe in someone named Jesus. Is he the same? why not? When a preacher exegetes a text, he is not only reading us back the words but trying to make us understand it. That requires theology, and yes, it does divide: Divides right from wrong. And so the question is not whether you will promote theology or not, but rather will you have good theology or bad theology.

    Another reason we want to promote Christ honoring theology. Because we want to worship God as He is, that is, worship God as he has revealed Himself to us, not as we imagine Him to be. And that is the only alternative. To the degree we think wrong thoughts about God, to that same degree we commit idolatry. Something we all must watch for.

    I suppose that goes to show how people have changed over the ages. Calvin originally wrote the Institutes so a beginniner could understand Christianity, and a great deal of his audience were just that. Nowadays it seems that our MTV generation has made linear thinking more dificult because we are distracted a beautiful classic book like "The Glory of Christ" by John Owen is passed by. We prefer "how to" books.

    But I agree with you, a list is indeed needed for those who are just dipping their toes in theological waters. I do have a partial list of such books right here


    You brought up an excellent point. Whether we like it or not [and we had better not], we do live in an "MTV" generation, and are surrounded by unbelievers & fellow-saints alike who despise reading, especially hard or deep reading. As a pastor (and as a friend/relative), I don't know if one week goes by before I am again confronted with this crisis of our culture.

    Even while I say this, I am also reminded of my own gaping ignorance, and my own serious struggle to plow through ancient [but immensely valuable] reads.

    I am persuaded more than ever that we need to work hard at "putting the jelly on the bottom shelf, so everyone can get it." I believe that the love of Christ demands that we condescend to the lowly state of our culture's poor comprehension/communication-levels [even, all the while, having an eye to redeem it], in order to penetrate corrupted minds with the truth.

    In no way am I intending to discredit or undervalue ancient & irreplacable treasures [Calvin, Owen, Edwards, et. al.]. But I am saying that the casue of love and the urgency of the Gospel demands that we not stay aloof from those who won't read the Institutes and act as if they are irrevocably self-condemned because of such foolishness. Foolish, they may be, but we are not God to cast the final judgment. Rather, we are His ambassadors sent to take to these selfsame ignorant folks the message of reconciliation.

    Hopefully, by the power of the Holy Spirit in renewing their minds, they would become more and more willing to enter the arduous labors of reading the best books (and please listen, any highly-gifted & intellectually-astute readers of this post--whom I highly respect: you really need to know that for most people it is an "arduous" task). But so much of our labors, I think, lie toward the "starting line." And this is why I whole-heartedly agree that such a "beginner's list" is more than crucial.

    I like John's list, and I know I that this is already a long comment (sorry everyone). But may I add just five other titles (and one dvd)? I think that these might be key resources to help "start" someone on a journey of better and worthwhile reading.

    "Dangerous Duty of Delight"--Piper

    "The Cross-Centered Life"--Mahaney

    "One Thing"--Sam Storms

    "Safely Home"--Randy Alcorn

    "A History of the Work of Redemption" --Edwards [This is obviously a more difficult read--but by far the simplest of anything I have read by him; but I do think it is the best uninspired book ever written in all of history! Furthermore, if you read through it with someone, and just a read two or three paragraphs per week and discuss them...Wow, God-willing that would be so transforming!]

    "Amazing Grace" DVD series

    In my own experience I have found these titles very profitable, by God's grace, toward fruitfully exposing people to the glory of Christ and the doctrines of grace. Especially for the first time. And especially for those who dislike reading.



    I think tertiary education students will soon be able to do not just some easy exercise but go through gradually planned terms on the given topics

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