Only read the best!
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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)
Leigh, Edward – pp. 50-65 of Body of Divinity (1662), Book 1, ‘Of the Scriptures’, chs. 3, ‘The Books of Scripture’ & 4. ‘Of the New Testament’
There are recommendations on Bible commentaries amongst his other analytical comments on the Biblical books.
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.
Barlow (c.1608-1691) was a reformed Anglican who was a teacher of John Owen.
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.
Murray, J.O., C.W. Hodge, William H. Green, McCosh, Patton & G.P. Fisher – III – ‘How to Form a Minister’s Library’ in The Homiletic Review, vol. 19 (Funk & Wagnalls, 1890), January, pp. 12-19 Includes recommended advice and a list of 100 titles. Warfield’s piece below is a supplement to this list.
Murray was the Dean of Princeton College at the time. Most or all of those who contributed to this list were professors at Princeton College or Seminary, or associated with such at some time.
Warfield, B.B. – VII. ‘A Minister’s Library: Professor Warfield’s List’ in The Homiletic Review, vol. 19 (Funk & Wagnalls, June, 1890), pp. 518-9 This is a supplement to J.O. Murray’s piece above.
Gessner, Conrad – Theological Partitions, the Last Book of the Universal Almanacs [Pandectarum] (Zurich, 1549)
Gessner (1516-1565) was reformed and was a Swiss physician, naturalist, bibliographer, philologist and encyclopedist. This was the 21st and last volume of his encyclopedia of general knowledge. This volume is a massive theological bibliography.
“…a vast prospectus of materials for the study of theology, replete with citations of Aristotle, Lombard, the fathers and late medieval doctors–all cited under the topics of a theological system–was prepared fairly early in the development of Protestant theology by the Zurich encyclopedist, Conrad Gessner. The influence of this work is difficult to assess, but the tendency Gessner documents is clear: as the Reformation succeeded in establishing churches and the era of confessional orthodoxy dawned, Protestants were drawn more and more to root their theology in tradition.” – R. Muller, PRRD, 2nd ed., p. 215
A Deliberation on the Study of Theology that I may be Blessed appended to A Synopsis of Theology, vol. 2 (Amsterdam, 1699), pp. 653 ff.
Burman (1628-79). Gives recommendations for fields ancillary to theology. For a survey of Burman’s recommendations in these three chapters in English, see R. Muller, PRRD, 2nd ed., vol. 1, pp. 212-216.
Gives recommendations on systematic theology and numerous of its loci.
Includes recommendations on commentaries, preaching, etc.
Voet, Gisbert – chs. 5-8, ‘Of a Course of Piety in General and of the Piety of Students’, pp. 36-79 of Book 1 of Exercises and Library for the Student of Theology (Utrecht, 1644) The rest of the volume is a massive bibliographic guide to the other ancillary disciplines; see the table of contents.