Where to start with the Puritans?

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Jash Comstock

Puritan Board Freshman
I am looking to begin reading the Puritans more, but I do not know where to start. What are your favorite Puritan works?


Puritan Board Junior
Mortification of Sin in the Believer by John Owen but I've only read parts of it.

I've also benefitted from reading sermons from Thomas Watson as well as John Owen. Starting with their sermons helped me "dip my toes in the water".


Staff member
Might be beneficial to get the work "Meet the Puritans" and then choose who you would like to read first after learning about many of the authors and their works.

Rev. Todd Ruddell

Puritan Board Junior
Thomas Watson is a good suggestion. I often tell folks to read Matthew Henry's commentary along with their daily Bible reading for some good Puritan thought. Also there is a book in the Puritan paperback series called, "The Golden Treasury of Puritan Quotations", by IDE Thomas. Reading through that you will get a good sampling, and then you might pick one of them out and get the larger work. Enjoy!


Puritan Board Freshman
Might be beneficial to get the work "Meet the Puritans" and then choose who you would like to read first after learning about many of the authors and their works.

I agree, this would be a great place to start. "Meet the Puritans" by Joel Beeke. He gives brief introductions, a mini-biography and a list of printed works to about 200 published puritan writers.
Another great book from Beeke, is "Puritan Reformed Spirituality".

As well, as others have suggested, Thomas Watson is a favorite. And John Owen.
Richard Baxter has written wonderfully about family worship and leading in your home.

If you are totally lost and want to start at square one, (and haven't read it a million times already like many of us) reach for John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. (I love that book).


Puritan Board Senior
The Genius of Puritanism by Peter Lewis is just a great intro and also tells the hows and wherefores of puritanism. I read it quite often to review.


Tempus faciendi, Domine.
How about chronologically, more or less?
In other words, read some of the early Puritans first--Perkins and Sibbes come to mind.

And for secondary sources, J.I. Packer's Quest for Godliness is not to be missed.


Staff member
I agree with Rev. Ruddell. Watson is a great place to start. I also wish the first book I had read would have been Gospel Worship by Jeremiah Burroughs. Gospel Worship is probably one of my most favorite.

J.I. Packer's Quest for Godliness was a book that was very influential in introducing the Puritans around here.

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
I'll concur with everyone on Watson. He's among the easiest to read, his style is very direct, and his use of word-picture imagery is excellent.

Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
I like to read Mathew Poole's commentaries. I hope he is considered a Puritan? My ignorance may be showing.


Puritan Board Junior
I'd like to suggest Banner of Truth's Puritan Paperback series. Looks like Monergism has them all for sale in a bundle here ---> Puritan Paperback Bundle (45 Volumes) :: Puritan Paperbacks :: Classic Authors :: Monergism Books :: Reformed Books - Discount Prices - Free Shipping
Or you can check them out separately.

Some suggestions:
- The Mortification of Sin by John Owen
- The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by J. Burroughs
- The Godly Man’s Picture by Thomas Watson
- The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes
- The Christian’s Great Interest by William Guthrie

You can also compare prices at:
CVBBS - Christian Books, Reformed Books, Bibles, and Christian Literature - Cumberland Valley Bible Book Service
Reformation Heritage Books
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Puritan Board Junior
Joel Beeke recommends starting with Thomas Watson. "Meet the Puritans" is an excellent book, but should come with a wealth warning - every time I open it another book gets added to my wanted list. Sibbes "Bruised Reed" is a work which seems to be mentioned on this site regularly.


Puritan Board Graduate
Precious Remedies for Satan's Devices by Thomas Brooks will bless even new believers.


Puritan Board Freshman
My Thoughts

Personally I would recommend starting with some of the main works of Thomas Watson or Jeremiah Burroughs or Sibbes Brused Reed or Owen's Mortification.


Puritan Board Sophomore
Thomas Watson and John Flavel are probably going to be the easiest to work through at first. I wouldn't start with Brooks, or Owen, as they tend to be a more difficult read.

JP Wallace

Puritan Board Sophomore
Watson - great, couldn't agree more, don't discount Brooks, almost as easy to read, and excellent selection of material.

Don Kistler

Puritan Board Sophomore
I'd recommend any and all of these titles as good places to start:

1. The Art of Divine Contentment, by Thomas Watson

2. Heaven Taken by Storm, by Thomas Watson

3. Grace, by Christopher Love

4. The True Christian's Love to the Unseen Christ, by Thomas Vincent

5. Gospel Worship, by Jeremiah Burroughs

6. Altogether Lovely, by Jonathan Edwards


Puritan Board Graduate
I started with The Pilgrim's Progress by John Buyan. Then I found William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour. After them I fell in love with the writings of the Puritans. They say so much and are practical.
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