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

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Subsections

Every Reformed Systematic Theology Online in English

Reformed Systematic Theologies in Latin  (the titles and many of the tables of contents are in English)

Reformed Baptist Systematic Theologies

Lutheran Systematic Theologies

Roman Catholic Systematic Theologies (here for reference)

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Order of Contents

Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced
For Children
In Poetry

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Beginner

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

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

Berkhof, Louis

Summary of Christian Doctrine  Buy  166 pp.

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

Manual of Christian Doctrine  Buy  372 pp.

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

Hodge, Charles – The Way of Life  Buy  1842  328 pp.

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

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Intermediate

Watson, Thomas – A Body of Practical Divinity  Buy  d. 1686  790 pp.  Lectures on the Shorter Catechism

Bavinck, Herman – Our Reasonable Faith  Buy  1956, 576 pp.  a one volume popular digest of his four volume Reformed Dogmatics

Berkhof, Louis – Systematic Theology  Buy  784 pp.  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.  Also includes a Preface by the excellent reformed historian Richard Muller.

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.

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

The best systematic theology ever written.  Systematic theology as it should be: charged with a devotional fervor of living before the face of God.

Dabney, Robert – Systematic Theology  Buy  1878  924 pp.

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

Hodge, Charles – Conference Papers  1879  408 pp.

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

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Advanced

Bavinck, Herman – Reformed Dogmatics, 4 vols.  Buy  3,024 pp.

A major contribution to systematic theology from the Dutch church.  Bavinck is always careful, balanced and historical in his treatment of Biblical doctrines.  You won’t go wrong with him.  Put down your modern systematic theologies and read a real theologian.

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  Buy  1871

vol. 1 – Theology  625 pp.

vol. 2 – Anthropology, vol. 2  695 pp.

vol. 3 – Soteriology and Eschatology  800 pp.

Index  120 pp.

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, 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.

Turretin, Francis – Institutes of Elenctic Theology, 3 vols.  Buy  1679–1685 translated by James Dennison Jr. 

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 overly metaphysical.

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For Children

1800’s

Plumer, William – Short Sermons to Little Children  Buy  1848

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  1857  465 pp.

“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

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Contemporary

Beeke, James W.

Bible Doctrine for Younger Children  Buy

Bible Doctrine for Older Children  Buy

Bible Doctrine for Teens and Young Adults  Buy

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In Poetry

Erskine, Ralph – Works, vol. 10  d. 1752

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  1691

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Related Pages

Suggested Reading

Hermeneutics

Historical Theology

Preparation for Ministry

Personal Godliness