Advice on Small Library

Not open for further replies.


Puritan Board Junior
Hello all,

I'm considering which books would be wise choices for building a small, but thorough library. Here were my ideas so far...

The Bible

Dictionary (Bible and English)

Matthew Henry's commentary
Matthew Poole's commentary

Westminster Standards
London Confessions (1644 and 1689)
Midland Confession (1655)
Belgic Confession
Heidelberg Catechism

The Godly Man's Picture - Thomas Watson
Holiness - J.C. Ryle
Thoughts for Young Men - J.C. Ryle

How To Be A Man - Harvey Newcomb
How To Be A Lady - Harvey Newcomb
The Family At Home - Gorham Abbott

Everlasting Righteousness - Horatius Bonar
All of Grace - C.H. Spurgeon
Bruised Reed - Richard Sibbes
A Lifting Up For The Downcast - William Bridge
Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan


I'm trying to consider a few really good works that I will use time and time again, rather than a lot of mediocre works. I would appreciate any advice on any additions?

As far as a systematic theology book, what about Calvin's Institutes or Ames' "Marrow of Theology"

Grace and Peace in Christ Jesus


Puritanboard Librarian
Well, Calvin's Institutes is a must, and William Ames' Marrow is also definitely worth having.

Some valuable works that I wish everyone could have include the following:

1650 Scottish Metrical Psalter
Directory of Family Worship
William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour
Willem Teellinck, The Path of True Godliness
Henry Scudder, The Christian's Daily Walk
Lewis Bayly, The Practice of Piety
Lewis Stuckley, A Gospel Glass
Robert Bolton, General Directions for a Comfortable Walking With God
Wilhelmus a'Brakel, The Christian's Reasonable Service

Also, you may wish to review the following links:

Richard Baxter's Recommended Pastoral Library
Thomas Murphy's Recommended Pastoral Library
Tony Reinke's Strategy For Building a Puritan Library
Suggested Reading
Suggested Library


Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
I would suggest William Guthrie, The Christian's Great Interest, Walter Marshall The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification and a standard systematic that you could refer to. John Brown or Louis Berkhof would be good choices there.


Puritan Board Freshman
I would highly recommend adding to your list, Louis Berkhof's Systematic Theology. This will be a very helpful reference, and is now available at CBD for an astonishingly low price!

To get the best price possible, go to - Shop for Christian Books, Bibles, Music, Homeschool Products, Gifts & more and put the following text into the search box GK38200

It will allow you to purchase Berkhof for only $9.99!!!!!! I actually purchased 10 copies to give to people who take my courses at the church.


Puritan Board Freshman
books - classics, et al

Here are some I think need to be in everyones library. (some of the following assume a knowledge of Greek and Hebrew - if you have not begun to study these I recommend you do - oh yea, Aramaic, Latin, and German would not hurt either)

1. The Works of Aristotle (I have the Oxford edition, 2 vls)
2. Thomas Aquinas Summa - this can no be gotten in 6 beautiful volumes translated by the Benedictine brothers.
3. H. Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics, 3 vols (the 4th is due out this month)
4. Good, single volumes commentaries - stay away from sets, as they are hint-or-miss.
5. Of course, Greek and Hebrew lexicons and Grammar
6. A reliable Latin dictionary
7. Paradise Lost by Milton - Norton's edition is excellent with great footnotes - it is amazing how this epic poem has shaped mush of western thought concerning the Enemy, a must read
8. A Good Bible Dictionary - The Anchor 6 vol. set is the standard today. This can be acquired on ebay usually for 20% off retail.
9. Several English translations: I recommend NASB, NRSV, NJKV (this is especially nice for OT poetry; I would stay away from the NIV; the ESV has not stood the test of time - in my opinion. I do have one with dust on it.
10. Oh yea, Plato's works.
11. A Reliable translation of Josephus.
12. If you are working in the OT, I would have a set of Targums - Collegeville press is putting out some really nice editions - these are important for hermeneutical reasons - it's always nice to see how the ancients read the text.
13. Serveal different systematic theologies along with Bavinck (so our thinking does not become to narrow and we think we have the pulse on the truth) - maybe a copy of the following: G. Ladd; W. Grudem's systematic theology (you can get this in the large [full] edition or the student edition);
14. Biblical Theology: Vos; B. Childs; OT Theology (2 vols): von rad.
15. A good text on textual criticism - OT/NT

I am convinced (probably obvious from the above list) we need more classic literature/theology that has stood the test of time; we are better off knowing how to think and read then letting someone else do it for us.

Ad Fontes

Not open for further replies.