Systematic Theologies

 “Sanctify them through thy Truth: thy Word is Truth.”

John 17:17

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all… thy mind.”

Mt. 22:37

“The Bible stands in the same relation to systematic theology as nature to science, and systematic theology does for the Bible what natural science does for nature.”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan




Systematic Theology
Systematic Theologies:

Every Reformed Systematic Online in English
Reformed in Latin  (English titles & tables of contents)
Reformed Baptist
General  (Evangelical, Anglican, Arminian, Liberal)



Order of Contents

Beginner  4
Intermediate  6
Advanced  4

Children  3
Poetry  2




Alexander, Archibald – A Brief Compend of Bible Truth  Buy  (1846)  224 pp.  ToC

Originally published for the blind, a winsome and easy to read summary of Bible truth.  Great for beginners and young people.

Berkhof, Louis

A Summary of Christian Doctrine  Buy  (Banner of Truth, 2005)  175 pp.  ToC

One of the best, easy to read introductions to the Christian faith at the beginner level.

Manual of Christian Doctrine  Buy  (Eerdmans, 1933)  372 pp.  ToC

A concise and easy to read, medium length abridgment of his Systematic Theology.

Hodge, Charles – The Way of Life  Buy  (London: Religious Tract Soceity, 1842)  328 pp.  ToC

Popular treatments of the practical teachings of Christianity aimed to produce holiness




Watson, Thomas – A Body of Practical Divinity  Buy  (d. 1686; NY: Robert Carter, 1855)  790 pp.  Lectures on the Shorter Catechism

Bavinck, Herman – Our Reasonable Faith  Buy  (Eerdmans, 1956)  576 pp.  ToC  The work has also been published with the title, The Wonderful Works of God.

This is a one volume popular digest of his four volume Reformed Dogmatics.

“I wish to give a simple explanation of the Christian faith in a book of modest scope, as confessed by the Reformed churches…” – Bavinck

Berkhof, Louis – Systematic Theology  Buy  (Eerdmans, 1996)  990 pp.  ToC 1, 2  This edition includes Introduction to the Study of Systematic Theology which was previously a separate work but intended to be read with his Systematic Theology.  It also includes a Preface by Richard Muller.

Berkhof (1873-1957).  This is a classic, brief, one volume systematic theology.  It was originally intended to be an abbreviated summary of the thought of Bavinck’s four volume Reformed Dogmatics.  Berkhof excels in giving a balanced, historical and biblical treatment of each issue, though he tends to be a bit dry, lacking devotional fervor.  To remedy this, read Calvin.  See also:

Berkhof, Louis – Textual Aid to Systematic Theology: a Practical Handbook to Professor Berkhof’s Systematic Theology, with all the essential proof texts…  printed in full…  (Eerdmans, 1942)  115 pp.  ToC

John Calvin – Institutes of the Christian Religion, vols. 1, 2, 3  trans. Henry Beveridge  Buy  (1559)  Other translations are available.

One of the best systematic theologies ever written.  Systematic theology as it should be: charged with a devotional fervor of living before the face of God.  See also the standard scholarly edition, which has improved past translations, though is not without its own peculiar translations and errors:

Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion, vol. 12  ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles  in The Library of Christian Classics, vols. 20-21  (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960)  ToC

Dabney, Robert – Syllabus & Notes of the Course of Systematic & Polemical Theology taught in Union Theological Seminary, Virginia  2nd ed.  Buy  (St. Louis: Presbyterian Publishing Co. of St. Louis, 1878)  915 pp.  ToC  Index

A standard systematic theology.  One of the few by a southern presbyterian.

Hodge, Charles – Conference Papers  (NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1879)  408 pp.  ToC

Familiar Lord’s Day afternoon addresses to Princeton students, arranged in topical fashion.




Bavinck, Herman – Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 1 (Prolegomena), 2 (God, Creation), 3 (Sin, Salvation in Christ), 4 (Holy Spirit, Church, New Creation)  Buy  (Baker Academic, 2008)  3,024 pp.  ToC 1, 2, 3, 4

A major contribution to systematic theology from a Dutch reformed Neo-Calvinist, emphasizing historical theology.

Heppe, Heinrich – Reformed Dogmatics  Buy  729 pp.

This is an invaluable anthology of reformed writings from the 1500′s and 1600′s, organized by subject in systematic-theological fashion.  Most of these primary documents are unavailable to the English reader in any other form.  Here is a helpful blog review of the book with the table of contents to the first three chapters.

Hodge, Charles – Systematic Theology, vol. 1 (Prolegomena, God, Decrees, Creation, Providence, Miracles, Angels), 2 (Anthropology, Soteriology), 3 (Ordo Salutis, Sacraments, Eschatology)  Buy  (1871; NY: 1877)  ToC 1, 2, 3  Index  Scripture Index

Hodge’s systematic is a classic and has rightly earned him a place as one of America’s preeminent theologians. Below are some helpful accessories to his systematic:

Systematic Theology: a Series of Questions Upon the Lectures Delivered  (1865)  150 pp.  by Charles Hodge

Questions on the Text of the Systematic Theology of Dr. Charles Hodge: Together with an Exhibition of Various Schemes Illustrating the Principles of Theological Construction  (1885)  196 pp.  by A.A. Hodge, his son and successor at Princeton

A Review of Hodge’s Systematic Theology  (1890), p. 229 ff., 52 pp.  by Robert L. Dabney, a southern presbyterian

Hodge’s Systematic is a classic and has rightly earned him a place as one of America’s preeminent theologians.  Hodge, though, is not right about everything.  As always, read with discernment.  Hodge expected his seminary readers to be able to read Latin, German and French.  Hence, unfortunately, sometimes the apex of the argument has been left untranslated.

The Church & its Polity  (London, 1879)  535 pp.  ToC

This volume completes Hodge’s systematic theology.  While the volume is very helpful for its detailed discussions and references of the finer points of Church government, yet do note that Hodge lived in a time in which the finer points of Church government were changing from the older classical model (from the Church of Scotland), which changes are not usually recommended.

Turretin, Francis – Institutes of Elenctic Theology, 3 vols.  ed. James Dennison Jr.  Buy  (1679–1685)

Turretin was the professor at Geneva after Beza.  He represents the height of reformed orthodoxy.  While Turretin will give you nothing but what is considered classic reformed doctrine, the reading is quite dense and often metaphysical.



For Children


Plumer, William – Short Sermons to Little Children  Buy  (Philadelphia: American Sunday-School Union, 1848)  125 pp.  ToC

This is laid out to cover most of the Christian faith for little hearts.

Fletcher, Alexander, et al. – The Child’s Preacher: a Series of Sermons on Systematic Theology for the Young  Buy  (NY: Carlton & Porter, 1857)  465 pp.  ToC

“Every family should have a copy of this marvelous volume…  intended for the instruction of the heart and mind of children within the household and the church.” – Reformation Heritage Books



Beeke, James W.

Bible Doctrine for Younger Children  Buy

Bible Doctrine for Older Children  Buy

Bible Doctrine for Teens & Young Adults  Buy



In Poetry

Erskine, Ralph – Works, vol. 10  (d. 1752; Glasgow: William Smith, 1778)

This volume is volume 7 in the 7 volume series of Erskine’s Works that is more commonly available for sale.  The Free Presbyterians recently reprinted the first 6 volumes, but not the seventh.  There is much left out of this last volume in the ‘Gospel Sonnets’ paperback reprint by SGCB.

Keach, Benjamin – Spiritual Melody, containing Near Three Hundred Sacred Hymns  Buy PoD  (London: John Hancock, 1691)  384 pp.  ToC




Related Pages

Suggested Reading


Historical Theology

Preparation for Ministry

Personal Godliness