Some Basic Reformed Books

I have been asked by Juan about some books on the Reformed faith. So here is a fairly short, affordable list of books that would get one started on the Reformed faith.

The first book has to be Sinclair Ferguson’s book The Christian Life. This book is a gem, since it ties together very closely what we believe, and what ought to be the concrete result in our lives of that belief. Also, it is short and inexpensive. The best place to start, in my opinion.

For a more thorough approach, one should read Calvin’s Institutes. Yes, they seem long (two volumes). However, Calvin has a gift for getting to the heart of the matter. These books were written for lay-people, not primarily scholars. This is essential reading for any Christian, in my opinion.

Finally, after Calvin, one should read Wilhelmus a’Brakel’s four-volume set entitled The Christian’s Reasonable Service. This set is amazing. It is readable (recent translation), practical, doctrinal, exegetical, and altogether admirable (except for his views on eschatology, which is only a minor blemish). This does what Ferguson’s book (mentioned above) does, but on a far vaster scale. This set was also written for laymen. So, in terms of reading order in systematic theology, read Ferguson, then Calvin, then a’Brakel.

And then, one will need books on the Bible. I think that Goldsworthy is a great place to start. This will give you an overview of the Bible, especially focusing on how to read the Bible. After Goldsworthy, I would recommend Dever’s two-volume set The Message of the Old Testament, and The Message of the New Testament. This will give you one sermon on each book of the Bible. Dever does a great job of explaining each book, and how we see Christ in every book of the Bible. After that, one will want an introduction to the OT, and an introduction to the NT. This gives you very helpful background information on every book of the Bible. It is essential to have good reference works that will help you get information in different ways. The best alphabetical helps are this Bible dictionary, and this Bible encyclopedia. And then, one will need canonical helps. I would start with a good study Bible. The best one is the Reformation Study Bible. Then, one should get a good Bible commentary. Matthew Henry is the best one-stop resource commentary, available for sale here. Even though he is older, I would still recommend him highly. He is still read avidly by believers today. This ought to be enough to start off anyone in the Reformed faith. Ask me if there are more specific issues/books you would like me to address.