Only read the best!
Order of Contents
Our Reading Lists 3
More Reading Lists
. Short 5
. Medium 4
. For the Advanced 4
. Guides 4
. of Older Well-Known Figures 6
. Bibliographies, Reference Lists & Catalogues 17
. Guides to Reference Works 3
. Bibliographies of Bibliographies 3
. Bibliographies of Particular Authors 1
Libraries of Reformed Theologians 6
Our Reading Lists
More Reading Lists
Macleod, John – Some Favorite Books Buy 1922
Macleod, the author of the classic Scottish Theology in Relation to Church History, gives 4-8 pages in background and commendation to 22 classic reformed, Christian works.
Duncan III, J. Ligon – ‘The Theological Student’s Books: Suggestions for Building a Core Library’, an appendix to Herman Witsius, On the Character of a True Theologian Buy 1994
Kistler, Don – Why Read the Puritans Today? 1999 19 pp.
Kistler, in the midst of giving 10 reasons for reading the puritans, gives recommendations for few dozen puritan works.
Ferguson, Sinclair – Read any Good Books? Buy 2005 27 pp.
Most of the booklet is an encouragement to read good books. The recommendations amount to 28 under the 4 categories of: Bible Study, Christian Doctrine, Christian Living, Biography.
Sproul, R.C. – ‘Recommended Resources’ 21 recommendations
Medium Length Lists
Packer, J.I. – ’50 Books J.I. Packer Thinks You Should Read’
This is a list created by Crossway Publishing of all the Crossway books that Packer wrote recommendatory blurbs for.
Monergism – Reader’s Guide for the Christian Life
Perman, Matt – ‘What are Some Books that Desiring God Recommends?’ 2006
Kayser, Phillip – Worldview Reading List 2009 26 pp.
This list emphasizes a presuppositional, Biblical worldview and Reconstructionism.
For the Advanced
by the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing). This is the best of the best of theology from the older writers.
by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon, at A Puritan’s Mind
Entitled Books for People of the Book, by R. Andrew Myers
by Rev. Sherman Isbell. This top-notch ‘course of readings’ in 31 subsections covers the first third of the topics in systematic theology up through General Revelation, Scripture, Apologetics, the Attributes of God, the Trinity, Predestination, and Creation.
Batson, Beatrice – A Reader’s Guide to Religious Literature Buy 1968 188 pp. Moody
“An introduction to the ‘classics’ of Christian literature from the Middle Ages and later, including the influence of Christian thought on outstanding literary works. Concentrates on the 17th to 19th centuries. Each chapter surveys the historical and cultural developments of a period, briefly mentions its literary masterpieces, and then analyzes several important religious literary works of the period. Includes bibliography and index.” – Muether & Kepple
Branson, Mark – The Reader’s Guide to the Best Evangelical Books Buy 1982
“A classified bibliography of ‘the best evangelical literature’ in over 50 ‘key categories of Christian life and thought’. Each category has a brief bibliographical essay surveying the literature and an annotated list of books on the subject. Limited to English-language and post-1950 titles. Also scattered throughout are lists of the favorite books (personal and professional) of various evangelical leaders. Has author index but no subject index… A useful starting point for surveying evangelical literature.” – Muether & Kepple
A Reader’s Guide to Reformed Literature: An Annotated Bibliography of Reformed Theology Buy (Reformation Heritage Books, 1999)
Excellent. Hand picked selections from the best of reformed history by a master.
Beeke, Joel & Randall J. Pederson – Meet the Puritans: With a Guide to Modern Reprints Buy 2006
Brief bios of puritans with significant annotations on their reprinted works. You’ll be tempted to use it as a devotional.
Reading Lists of Older, Well-Known Figures (chronological order)
Baxter, Richard – What Books Especially of Theology should one choose, who for want of money or time, can read but few? from his Christian Directory (1673) Question 174, pp. 921-9
Baxter was one of the most well read (and prolific) authors of his day. Andrew Myers has written a helpful article (9 pages) giving further background information on the (sometimes otherwise unknown) authors that Baxter lists and further of their works.
Edwards, John – A Catalogue of Some Authors who may be Beneficial to Young Preachers and Students of Divinity 1705 7 pages
Edwards (1637-1716) was a reformed Anglican, the son of Thomas Edwards who wrote ‘Gangreana’ in the 1640’s.
Mather, Cotton – A Catalogue of Books for a Young Student’s Library, in Manuductio Ad Ministerium: Directions for a candidate of the ministry. Wherein, first, a right foundation is laid for his future improvement; and, then, rules are offered for such a management of his academical & preparatory studies; and thereupon, for such a conduct after his appearance in the world; as may render him a skillful and useful minister of the gospel 1726, pp. 148-149
Wesley, John – A Christian Library: consisting of extracts from and abridgments of the choicest pieces of practical divinity which have been published in the English tongue, vols. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 HTML 1749
This is not a bibliography, but an anthology. Large extracts from the best practical works from Church history are given in full, in roughly chronological order. Here is the Table of Contents:
1 – Early Church; John Arndt, ‘True Christianity’
2 – John Fox, ‘Book of Martyrs’
3 – Fox; Samuel Clark, ‘Supplement to Fox’s Martyrology’
4 – Clark; Bishop Hall; Robert Bolton
5 – Bolton; John Preston
6 – Preston; Richard Sibbes; Thomas Goodwin
7 – Goodwin; William Dell; Thomas Manton; Isaac Ambrose
8 – Ambrose, ‘Looking unto Jesus’
9 – Ambrose; Jeremy Taylor;
10 – Nathaniel Culverwell; John Owen
11 – Owen; John Smith
12 – Smith; Bishop Sanderson
13 – Sanderson; John Worthington; Bishop Ken
14 – Joseph Alleine; Samuel Shaw; Shorter Catechism
15 – Samuel Clark, ‘The Lives of…’
16 – Clark; Rutherford, ‘Letters’; Anthony Horneck
17 – Hugh Binning; Matthew Hale; Simon Patrick
18 – Patrick; Richard Alleine
19 – Dr. Cave; John Bunyan
20 – Cowley; Dr. Goodman; Robert Leighton; Bishop Beveridge
21 – Isaac Barrow; John Brown; Matthew Poole
22 – Richard Baxter
23 – Tract; Molinos; Henry Moore; Stephen Charnock; Dr. Calamy; Henry Scougal
24 – Dr. Annesly; Richard Lucas
25 – Edward Reynolds
26 – Dr. R. South; E. Young; Howe; Juan D’avila; Parson
27 – Tillotson; John Flavel; Henry Hammond
28 – John Howe; Phillip Henry; George Trosse; John Eliot
29 – Lives of; Joseph Alleine; August Franck
30 – Norris; Johnathan Edwards
Willison, John – Recommended Sabbath Reading, from his A Treatise Concerning the Sanctification of the Lord’s Day d. 1750
Murphy, Thomas – Recommended for a Minister’s Library 1877 from Pastoral Theology, pp. 144-147
Murphy (1823-1900) was an Irish-American Presbyterian who died in New Jersey. Murphy’s Pastoral Theology is a classic. Andrew Myers, in this article, has provided links (for one’s convenience) to many of the works in Murphy’s recommended list of books.
Bibliographies, Reference Lists & Catalogues 17
This is one large annotated bibliography in alphabetical order by author.
Bickersteth, Edward – The Christian Student: Designed to Assist Christians in General in Acquiring Religious Knowledge, With a List of Books Suitable for a Minister’s Library 1829 645 pp. Se especially ‘The Minister’s Library’ 95 pp.
Darling, James – Cyclopedia Bibliographica: A Library Manual of Theological and General Literature, vols. 1 (Subjects), 2 (A-H), 3 (I-Z) 1859
This is perhaps the most exhaustive bibliographical collection up to its day, including all of the older theological literature (reformers and puritans included). See Hadidian, 1985, below for a continuation of this work.
Malcom, Howard – Theological Index: References to the Principal Works in Every Department of Religious Literature, embracing nearly Seventy Thousand Citations, Arranged under Two Thousand Heads Boston 1868 485 pp.
“Includes about 70,000 titles under 2,000 specific subject headings. Unfortunately, the entries are given in a very abridged form… which makes identification difficult.” – Muether & Kepple
Hagenbach, Karl – Theological Encyclopaedia and Methodology: on the Basis of Hegenbach 1884 600 pp. trans. & enl. by George Crooks & John F. Hurst
Hagenbach (1801–1874) was a liberal, Swiss/German historical theology scholar.
“A comprehensive work on theology which also includes many extensive bibliographies that list about 5,000 books. Includes index. Based on the original German work , enlarged by the addition of English and American titles.” – Muether & Kepple
Free Church of Scotland – Proposal for the Foundation and Formation of Libraries in the Manses of the Free Church of Scotland; With a Catalogue of Books, Revised and Recommended by William Cunningham and James Buchanan
K., J. – Abridged Catalogue of Books in New College Library, Edinburgh 1893 223 pp.
New College was the seminary of the Free Church of Scotland from its origins in 1843 to 1900. The first half of the work lists the books by author, the second half is by topic.
Cave, Alfred – An Introduction to Theology: its Principles, its Branches, its Results and its Literature 1896 630 pp.
“An introduction to the study of theology which includes large bibliographies of recommended books of each section. Includes English, German, and French works. Author and subject indexes. Strongest on biblical studies.” – Muether & Kepple
Hurst, John Fletcher – Literature of Theology: A Classified Bibliography of Theological and General Religious Literature 1896 618 pp.
Hurst (1834–1903) was an American bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church, a historian, and the first Chancellor of the American University in Washington, D.C.
“Based on his 1882 work: Biblioteca Theologica. An extensive classified bibliography of ‘the best and most desirable books in theology and general religious literature published in Great Britain, the United States, and the Dominion of Canada.’ Detailed classified arrangement, see nine-page table of contents. Includes author and subject index.”
Morris, Raymond P. – A Theological Book List Buy 1960
“Morris is selective and intended for librarians anxious to have all the main books for students.” – Owen Chadwick
“‘Produced by the Theological Education Fund of the International Missionary Council for Theological Seminaries and Colleges in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Southwest Pacific.’ Includes 5,472 works, primarily in English, considered to be basic for developing theological libraries in the Third World. Detailed classed arrangement, author index, brief annotations.” – Muether & Kepple
Essential Books for Christian Ministry: Basic Readings for Pastors, Church Staff Leaders, and Laymen Buy 1972 Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Lists about 1,000 titles, selected by the seminary faculty, in order to ‘assist students, alumni, and Christian lay workers in selecting the most helpful books for their libraries’ (preface). Classified arrangement with brief annotations but no indexes…” – Muether & Kepple
Barber, Cyril J.
The Minister’s Library, 2 vols. Buy (Baker, 1974) 376 pp. Vol. 1 goes up to 1970, vol. 2 covers 1971-1985.
Barber was an evangelical pastor who headed up Klock & Klock publishing, which has reprinted some of the best Christian theological literature in modern times.
The Minister’s Library, vol. 3 covers 1986-2005
100+ Best Books for your Bible Study Library Buy 2004 96 pp.
Hadidian, Dikran – Bibliography of British Theological Literature, 1850-1940 Buy 1985
“A selective list of British theological imprints. Excludes most pamphlets. Dates were selected to continue Darling’s bibliography (above) through to the end of the British empire. An introductory essay provides a bibliographical study of the direction of British theology during this period.” – Muether & Kipple
Moo, Douglas – An Annotated Bibliography on the Bible and the Church Buy 1986
“‘Compiled for the Alumni Association of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School’ by the faculty of that seminary. A substantial (112-page) bibliography listing books ‘most helpful to the local pastor,’ chosen from an evangelical theological perspective. Classified arrangement with an author index. While this is a useful list, the quality and extent of annotation, the bibliographical citation form, and the (implicit) criteria for inclusion vary greatly from section to section. A more detailed table of contents is needed.” – Muether & Kepple
Sugg & Trotti – Building a Pastor’s Library Buy 1991 Union Theological Seminary, which is liberal
“A revision of Essential Books for a Pastor’s Library (5th ed., 1976). Intended to list subject areas which should be represented in a pastor’s library and to suggest, in each category, one or more important books. Classified arrangement with brief annotations. No indexes.” – Muether & Kepple
Martin, Robert – A Guide to the Puritans Buy (Banner of Truth, 1997)
This bibliographic work consists of two parts: puritan writings organized by topic and then by book, chapter and verse of Scripture. The number of puritan writings included is helpful, including most of what was reprinted up to 1997, especially the Banner of Truth sets, but so many more of the puritans have been reprinted since then, the work is dated.
Bauer, David – An Annotated Guide to Biblical Resources for Ministry Buy 2011
Guides to Reference Works 3
Trotti, John – Aids to a Theological Library Buy 1977
“Written as a guide for theological libraries, intends to stress the bibliographical, reference and book-buying resources that a theological library should have. Classed arrangement, but no table of contents or index. Earlier editions included a listing of scholarly periodicals in religion.” – Muether & Kepple
Gorman & Gorman – Theological and Religious Reference Materials, vol. 1, General Resources and Church History, vol. 2, Systematic Theology and Church History & vol. 3, Practical Theology Buy 1984/5
This set includes everything and is not limited to conservative works.
“This is the best recent guide for the literature of church history and historical theology, but the second volume in the series must be used in conjunction with the first, since there is much material on church history in the first volume. These two volumes provide detailed annotations for most reference works in church history, but the organization is poor. Standard denomination bibliographies are dispersed throughout the volumes, but can be located through the indices.” – Richard Muller & James Bradley
Muether, John & Robert Kepple – Reference Works for Theological Research: an Annotated Selective Bibliographical Guide Buy 3rd ed. 1991 250 pp.
“The authors are to be congratulated for the improvements introduced in this edition. Within its scope this volume represents the best available guide to the basic sources of Western scholarship on traditional Christianity. It is highly recommended for seminary and theological college libraries.” — Richard Muller
Bibliographies of Bibliographies 3
Smith, Wilbur – A List of Bibliographies of Theological and Biblical Literature Published in Great Britain and America, 1595-1931: with Critical, Biographical and Bibliographical Notes 1931
“Note limits of coverage: ‘theology’ in strict ‘systematic theology’ sense; does not include church history or practical theology. Lists only separately published materials. Includes brief annotations and biographical information on the author of each bibliography. Well done, but hard to use since entries are arranged by date. Author index.” – Muether & Kepple
Barrow, John – A Bibliography of Bibliographies in Religion Buy 1955
“Lists about 4,000 separately published bibliographies… Covers up to about 1952, fairly complete to 1950. Dated but not superseded. Classified arrangement, (but no section for Systematic Theology) — use the detailed table of contents for specific subjects. Title and author index. Includes fairly good critical annotations and some information on the location of copies.” – Muether & Kepple
ed. Walsh, Michael – Religious Bibliographies in Serial Literature: a Guide Buy 1981
“Lists 178 bibliographical tools which are published regularly… Arranged alphabetically by title with subject and title indexes. Includes lengthy annotations as to each item’s characteristics and usefulness.” – R. Kepple & J. Muether
Bibliographies of Particular Authors 1
Arranged topically, with links where available. This is the largest bibliography of Muller’s writings on the net, though not quite exhaustive. For something exhaustive up through 2013, see:
ed. Ballor, Sytsma, Zuidema, Church and School in Early Modern Protestantism: Studies in Honor of Richard A. Muller on the Maturation of a Theological Tradition Buy 2013 800 pp.
Libraries of Reformed Theologians (in chronological order) 6
Wigglesworth was a New England puritan, known for his poem on the Day of Judgment.
Smyth (1808-1873) was a southern presbyterian elder and theologian in Charleston, SC at Second Presbyterian Church, alongside James H. Thornwell, John L. Girardeau and John Adger. He had a renowned library; one of the largest personal libraries in America at the time.
Fleming (1849-1931) was one of the preeminent historians of the Scottish Church.