The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy with this request…

“When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.” (2 Timothy 4:13)

This is an amazing request. Even though Paul is in prison awaiting execution, he still desires to read and study so that he can continue to work for the sake of the gospel!

Paul’s example is a major rebuke to all with an unteachable spirit. No one, regardless of their knowledge and experience, is beyond the need to learn (e.g., Paul had been preaching for 30 years, he had been caught up to heaven, he had personally seen Jesus and wrote the majority of the New Testament!).

Paul’s request also challenges all who give a myriad of excuses for why they don’t read. John Calvin commenting on Paul’s request to Timothy writes…

“It is evident from this, that the Apostle Paul had not given over reading, though he was already preparing for death. Where are those who think that they have made so great progress that they do not need any more exercise? Which of them will dare to compare himself with Paul? Still more does this expression refute the madness of those men who- despising books, and condemning all reading-boast of nothing but their own divine inspirations. But let us know that this passage gives to all believers a recommendation of constant reading, that they may profit by it.” (Calvin’s Commentaries, Vol. XXI, 2 Timothy, p. 266)

When asked about the importance of reading good books, Charles Spurgeon answered…

“As the apostle says to Timothy, so also he says to every-one, ‘Give yourself to reading.’ …He who will not use the thoughts of other men's brains proves that he has no brains of his own… You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers, and expositions of the Bible… the best way for you to spend your leisure is to be either reading or praying.”

Paul’s request highlights the important role the reading of sound books play in the believer’s spiritual growth and effectiveness in gospel ministry. Every believer should be seeking to build a personal theological library.

To help you get started, below is a brief list of recommended books we believe will help you grow in your understanding and practice of the Christian faith and life.

Christian Life
Doctrine & Theology
Creeds & Confessions
Apologetics & Ethics

Christian Life

Study Bibles

The Reformation Study Bible, Ligonier Ministries


To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism, ed. J.I. Packer, Joel Scandrett, Anglican Church in North America

Christian Living & Sanctification

Hope and Holiness: How the Gospel Enables and Empowers Sexual Purity, Dr. John Fonville

The Gospel for Real Life, Jerry Bridges

The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification, Walter Marshall

Christ the Lord: The Reformation and Lordship Salvation, ed. Michael Horton

The Discipline of Grace, Jerry Bridges

Unstuck: A nine-step journey to change that lasts, Tim Lane

The Bookends of the Christian Life, Jerry Bridges & Bob Bevington

The Mortification of Sin, John Owen

Good News for Anxious Christians: 10 Practical Things You Don't Have To Do, Phillip Cary

Keep in Step With the Spirit, J.I. Packer

Sex, Dating and Relationships, Gerald Hiestand and Jay Thomas

How People Change, Timothy S. Lane & Paul David Tripp

Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, J.I. Packer and Gary A. Parrett

You Can Change, Tim Chester

Holiness by Grace, Bryan Chapell

The Holiness of God, R.C. Sproul

The Christian Life, Sinclair Ferguson

Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan

The Gospel-Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World, Michael Horton

Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church, Michael Horton

Doctrine & Theology

Systematic Theology

The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims On the Way, Michael Horton

Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines For Christian Disciples, Michael Horton

Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin

Sacred Bond: Covenant Theology Explored, Michael Brown & Zach Keele

For Calvinism, Michael Horton

Thomas Cranmer's Doctrine of Repentance: Renewing the Power to Love, Ashley Null

A Body of Divinity, Thomas Watson

Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, R.C. Sproul

Basic Christianity, John Stott

18 Words: The Most Important Words You Will Ever Know, J.I. Packer

Biblical Theology

Gospel & Kingdom, Graeme Goldsworthy

According to Plan, Graeme Goldsworthy

Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture, Graeme Goldsworthy

God's Big Picture, Vaughan Roberts

Walking With Jesus Through His Word: Discovering Christ in All the Scriptures, Dennis E. Johnson

Journeys With Jesus: Every Path In The Bible Leads Us To Christ, Dennis E. Johnson

The Temple and the Church's Mission, G.K. Beale

God Dwells Among Us: Expanding Eden to the Ends of the Earth, G.K. Beale and Mitchell Kim

Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, Beale & Carson

The Symphony of Scripture, Mark Strom

Adopted into God's Family, Trevor Burke

From Creation to New Creation, Tim Chester

Bible Overview, Steve Levy & Paul Blackham

God, Heaven and Har Magedon, Merdith Kline

Kingdom Prologue, Meredith Kline

Preaching Christ In All Of Scripture, Edmund Clowney

The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the OT, Edmund Clowney

Redemption: The Triumph of God's Great Plan, Derke Bergsma

Biblical Theology (16 Lectures, iTunes U), Dr. Edmund Clowney

The Big Picture Story Bible, Dave Helm (children)

Scripture (Bibliology)

A General Introduction to the Bible, Norman Geisler & William Nix

The Canon of Scripture, F.F. Bruce

Scripture & Truth, D.A. Carson & John Woodbridge, Ed.

The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, B.B. Warfield

Inerrancy, Norman Geisler, Ed.

Scripture Alone, R.C. Sproul

I Believe in Revelation, Leon Morris

God Has Spoken, J.I. Packer

Fundamentalism and the Word of God, J.I. Packer

God's Hammer, Gordon Clark

God (Theology Proper)

Knowing God, J.I. Packer

Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith, Michael Reeves

The Son Who Learned Obedience: A Theological Case Against the Eternal Submission of the Son, D. Glenn Butner, Jr.

The Eternal Generation of the Son: Maintaining Orthodoxy in Trinitarian Theology, Kevin Giles

The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer

The Attributes of God, A.W. Pink

The Existence & Attributes of God, Stephen Charnock

Delighting in the Trinity, Tim Chester

Jesus Christ (Christology)

The Glory of Christ, John Owen

The Person & Work of Christ, B.B. Warfield

Pierced for Our Transgression, Steve Jeffery, Michael Ovey & Andrew Sach

Christ In All The Scriptures, A.M. Hodgkin

Jesus Among Other Gods, Ravi Zacharias

The Supremacy of Christ, Ajith Fernando

Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

Rediscovering the Holy Spirit: God's Perfecting Presence in Creation, Redemption and Everyday Life, Michael Horton (Highly Recommeded)

I Believe in the Holy Spirit, Michael Green

The Holy Spirit, John Owen

The Office and Work of the Holy Spirit, James Buchanan

God's Indwelling Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Old & New Testaments, James M. Hamilton, Jr.

The Mystery of the Holy Spirit, R.C. Sproul

The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, George Smeaton

Paul, the Spirit and the People of God, Gordon Fee

God's Empowering Presence, Gordon Fee

Baptism & Fullness, John Stott

Keep in Step with the Spirit, J.I. Packer

Miraculous Gifts

Pentecost Today?, Iain Murray

Showing the Spirit, D.A. Carson

The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts, Max Turner

Empowered Evangelicals, Rich Nathan & Ken Wilson

Salvation (Soteriology)

Christ the Lord: The Reformation and Lordship Salvation, ed. Michael Horton

The Great Exchange, Jerry Bridges & Bob Bevington

Redemption Accomplished & Applied, John Murray

A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God's Love, Milton Vincent

The Cross of Christ, John Stott

The Cross of Jesus, Leon Morris

The Message of the Resurrection, Paul Beasley-Murray

Faith Alone, R.C. Sproul

The Doctrine of Justification, James Buchanan

The Doctrine of Justification, John Owen

Justification, Francis Turretin

Justification Vindicated, Robert Traill

Justified: Modern Reformation Essays on the Doctrine of Justification, Ryan Glomsrud & Michael Horton

Evangelical Repentance, John Colquhoun

Adopted Into God's Family, Trevor Burke

Heirs With Christ, Joel Beeke

Saved from What?, R.C. Sproul

The Message of Salvation, Philip Ryken

The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, Leon Morris

The Cross: The Pulpit of God's Love, Iain Murray

Law & Gospel

A Treatise On The Law and The Gospel, John Colquhoun

12 Discourses Upon the Law and the Gospel, W. Romaine

The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, C.F.W. Walther

Luther's Works, vols. 26-27 "Lectures on Galatians", Martin Luther

Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, Zacharias Ursinus

The Christian Faith, Theodore Beza

Calvin's Commentaries, vol. 20 1 & 2 Corinthians (see comments on 2 Corinthians 3-4)

The Law and Gospel, Michael Horton (an online article at The White Horse Inn)

Law and Gospel, Michael Horton (Ligonier Ministries,; Michael Horton,

Humanity & Sin (Anthropology & Hamartiology)

Human Nature in its Fourfold State, Thomas Boston

The Bondage of the Will, Martin Luther

Sinfulness of Sin, Ralph Venning

The Mischief of Sin, Thomas Watson

Indwelling Sin in Believers, John Owen

Christian View of Man, J. Gresham Machen

Biblical Doctrine of Man, Gordon Clark

Knowing Man, J.I. Packer

Created in God's Image, Anthony A. Hoekema

Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin, Cornelius Plantinga Jr.

Church (Ecclesiology)

The Church: Contours of Christian Theology, Edmund P. Clowney

People and Place: A Covenant Ecclesiology, Michael Horton

I Believe in the Church, David Watson


Word, Water and Spirit: A Reformed Perspective on Baptism, J.V. Fesko (Highly Recommended)

Given For You: Reclaiming Calvin's Doctrine of the Lord's Supper, Keith A. Mathison (Highly Recommended)

The Anglican Evangelical Doctrine of Infant Baptism, John Stott and J. Alec Motyer

Treatises on the Sacraments: Catechism of the Church of Geneva, Forms of Prayer and Confessions of Faith, translated by Henry Beveridge

The Mystery of the Lord's Supper: Sermons by Robert Bruce, ed. Thomas F. Torrance

Christian Baptism, John Murray

Jesus Loves the Little Children: Why We Baptize Children, Daniel R. Hyde

Taking Baptism Seriously, J.I. Packer

Baptism and Regeneration, J.I. Packer

Last Things (Eschatology)

A Case For Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times, Kim Riddlebarger (Highly Recommended)

The Man of Sin: Uncovering the Truth About The Antichrist, Kim Riddlebarger (Highly Recommended)

Amillennialism 101, Kim Riddlebarger (

The Lamb & the  Lion: The Gospel in Revelation, Graeme Goldsworthy

Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation, Dennis E. Johnson

The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views, Robert G. Clouse, Ed.

Revelation: 4 Views: A Parallel Commentary, Steve Gregg, Ed.

Crucial Questions About Hell, Ajith Fernando

Whatever Happened to Hell?, John Blanchard

Creeds & Confessions


The Creedal Imperative, Carl Trueman

Catholic Creeds

Creeds of Christendom, 3 vols., Philip Schaff

Affirming the Apostles' Creed, J.I. Packer

We Believe: Recovering the Essentials of the Apostles' Creed, Michael Horton

The Apostles' Creed, Herman Witsius

Ancient Christian Doctrine, 5 vols., Editedy by Gerald Bray and Thomas C. Oden

Early Christian Creeds, J.N.D. Kelly

The Apostles' Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism, Ben Myers

The History of Christian Doctrines, Louis Berkhof

Creeds, Councils and Christ: Did the Early Christians Misrepresent Jesus?, Gerald Bray

The Making of the Creeds, Frances Young


The Faith We Confess: An Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles, Gerald Bray

The Thirty-Nine Articles: Their Place and Use Today, J.I. Packer and R.T. Beckwith

On The Thirty-Nine Articles: Conversations with Tudor Christianity, Oliver O'Donovan

The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography, Alan Jacobs

Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, J.I. Packer and Gary A. Parrett

The ‘Very Pure Word of God’: The Book of Common Prayer as a Model Liturgy, Peter Adam

The Rise of Moralism: The Proclamation of the Gospel from Hooker to Baxter, Allison, C. Fitzsimons

Richard Hooker and the Authority of Scripture, Tradition and Reason, Nigel Atkinson

Reformation Anglicanism: A Vision for Today’s Global Communion, Ashley Null and John W. Yates III

Reformation Anglicanism: Biblical—Generous—Beautiful, Chuck Collins

Thomas Cranmer’s Doctrine of Repentance: Renewing the Power to Love, Ashley Null

The Books of Homilies: A Critical Edition, Gerald Bray

The Book of Common Prayer, 1662

Divine Allurement: Cranmer's Comfortable Words, Ashley Null

Dearly Beloved: Buildling God's People Through Morning and Evening Prayer, Mark Burkill

Presbyterian & Reformed

Reformed Confessions Harmonized, Joel R. Beeke & Sinclair B. Ferguson

The Westminster Confession: A Commentary, AA Hodge

The Westminster Larger Catechism: A Commentary, Johannes G. Vos

Confessing The Faith: A reader's guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chad Van Dixhoorn

Truths We Confess: A Layman's Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith, R.C. Sproul

The Shorter Catechism Explaind From Scripture, Thomas Vincent

Learning in Christ's School, Ralph Venning

Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, Zacharias Ursinus

Firm Foundation: An Aid to Interpreting the Heidelberg Catechism, Caspar Olevianus

Annotation to the Heidelberg Catechism, J. Van Bruggen

Our Only Comfort: A Comprehensive Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, Fred H. Klooster

The Heidelberg Catechism, G.I. Williamson

But For the Grace of God: An Exposition of the Canons of Dort, Cornelis P. Venema

Ecumenical Creeds

The Apostles' Creed

Athanasian Creed

Nicence Creed

Reformed Confessions

The Anglican Formularies (The 39 Articles (1571); Book of Common Prayer [1662]; The Ordinal; The Books of Homilies)

Westminster Standards (Westminster Confession of Faith, The Westminster Larger Catechism, The Westminster Shorter Catechism)

Three Forms of Unity (Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, Canons of Dordt)

The Rochelle (French) Confession of Faith (1559)

The Savoy Declaration (1658)

Particular Baptist Confession

The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689


Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ From All the Scriptures, Dennis E. Johson

Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture, Graeme Goldsworthy

Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics: Foundations and Principles of Biblical Interpretation, Graeme Goldsworthy

Gospel and Wisdom, Graeme Goldsworthy

The Gospel in Revelation, Graeme Goldsworthy

Preaching Christ in All of Scripture, Edmund Clowney

Preaching Christ from the Old Testament, Sidney Greidanus

Preaching Christ from Ecclesiastes, Sidney Greidanus

Christ-Centered Preaching, Bryan Chapell

Typos: The Typological Interpretation of the Old Testament in the New, Leonhard Goppelt

Evangelism & Missions

The Gospel Commission: Recovering God's Strategy for Making Disciples, Michael Horton

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, J.I. Packer

Evangelism in the Early Church, Michael Green

Perspectives, 4th ed., Ralph Winter & Steven Hawthorne

Operation World, Patrick Johnstone

Salvation to the Ends of the Earth, Andreas Kostenberger & Peter O'Brien

From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya : A Biographical History of Christian Missions, Ruth Tucker

Autobiography of John Paton, John Paton

To The Golden Shore, Courtney Anderson

A Vision for Missions, Tom Wells

Through Gates of Splendor, Elisabeth Elliot

Our Guilty Silence, John Stott

Christian Mission, John Stott

Tell the Truth, Bruce Metzger

Telling the Truth, D.A. Carson

Apologetics & Ethics


Reforming Apologetics: Retrieving the Classic Reformed Approach to Defending the Faith, J.V. Fesko

The Reason for God, Tim Keller

Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy, Francis Schaeffer

Why I Am A Christian, John Stott

The Universe Next Door, James Sire

Only One Way, Hywel Jones

Only One Way, Richard Phillips

Is Jesus the Only Savior, Ronald Nash

Can Man Live Without God?, Ravi Zacharias

Compact Guide to World Religions, Dean Halverson

Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis

Darwin on Trial, Phillip E. Johnson

Christianity & Liberalism, J. Gresham Machen


Principles of Conduct, John Murray

Evangelical Ethics, John Jefferson Davis

Biblical Christian Ethics, David Clyde Jones

Christian Ethics in Plain Language, Kerby Anderson

Bioethics, Gilbert Meilaender

Marriage & Family

Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love Jesus, Elyse Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson

Each For The Other, Bryan and Kathy Chapell

Love that Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace, Gary and Betsy Ricucci

When Sinners Say "I Do": Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage, Dave Harvey

Big Truths for Little Kids, Susan & Richie Hunt

Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, Paul Tripp

Parenting by the Book, John Rosemond

Thoughts for Young Men, J.C. Ryle

The Big Picture Story Bible, Dave Helm

Music & Worship

A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of God-Centered Worship, Michael Horton

Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace, James B. Torrance

Worship by the Book, D.A. Carson, Ed.

Worship in the Early Church, Ralph P. Martin

The Worship of God, Ralph P. Martin

Worship: Reformed according to Scripture, Hughes Oliphant Old

Music Through The Eyes of Faith, Harold Best

Unceasing Worship, Harold Best

Worship in Spirit and Truth, John Frame

Exploring the Worship Spectrum: 6 Views, Paul Engle & Paul Basden, Ed.

Multi-volume Sets

Works of Ralph Erskine, 10 volumes

Works of Ebenezer Erskine, 3 volumes

Works of John Newton, 6 volumes

Works of John Bunyan, 3 volumes

Works of Richard Sibbes, 7 volumes

Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2 volumes

Works of John Owen, 16 volumes

Works of B.B. Warfield, 10 volumes

The Collected Writings of John Murray, 4 volumes

Sermons of Charles Spurgeon (5 volumes)

The Collected Shorter Writings of J.I. Packer, 4 volumes

God, Revelation, and Authority, 6 volumes, Carl F.H. Henry

The New Park Street Pulpit, 6 volumes, Charles Spurgeon

The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 57 volumes, Charles Spurgeon


Foxe's Book of Martyrs

But Now I See: The Life of John Newton, Josiah Bull

Robert Murray M'Cheyne, Andrew Bonar

Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, Roland Bainton

Martin Luther: A Guided Tour of His Life and Thought, Stephen Nichols

William Tyndale: A Biography, David Daniell

A Heart for Missions, Andrew Fuller

Vital Christianity, Murray Andrew Pura

God's Outlaw: The Story of William Tyndale and the English Bible, Brian Edwards

The Plain Mr. Knox, Elizabeth Whitley

Samuel Rutherford: A New Biography of The Man and His Ministry, Kingsley Rendell

Jonathan Edwards: A Guided Tour of his Life and Thought, Stephen Nichols

Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography, Iain Murray

Jonathan Edwards: A Life, George Marsden

Faithful Witness: The Life and Mission of William Carey, Timothy George

John Wesley: A Biography, Stephen Tomkins

George Whitfield: God's Anointed Servant in the Great Revival of the Eighteenth Century, Arnold Dallimore

George Whitefiled: The Life and Times of the great evangelist of the 18th century revival, Arnold Dallimore, vols. 1-2

William Carey and the Missionary Vision, Daniel Webber

The Autobiography of George Muller

Spiritual Secret of Hudson Taylor, Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor

To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson, Courtney Anderson

Martyn Lloyd-Jones: A Family Portrait, Christopher Catherwood

The Sacred Anointing: The Preaching of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, vols. 1-2, Iain Murray

Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers, Lewis A. Drummond

Spurgeon: A New Biography, Arnold Dallimore