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Books On Theology: Focus Faith in Truth & Love

Books On Theology: Focus Faith in Truth & Love

There are too many books on theology. Lanier Theological Library has 120,000 in Houston, TX. There must be 10’s of millions worldwide. Where to start? Some guidance is necessary.

All these books deal with theology in a way that builds faith, stands for truth, and activates love. Most are well-known, but some may be unfamiliar.

All have blessed me at some point in my life and continuing walk with Jesus. I pray they bless you too!

Books on theology before 500 AD

1. The Holy Bible was written over 1500 years, 1500 BC to 70 AD. It is foundational and essential. - 1250 pages Every Christian needs to read it every day.

2. The Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles, (40-62 AD) is at once an easy read, travel journal, and historically reliable narrative of Jesus*' life, the beginning of the church, and the foundation of the first churches. – 99 pages

3. The Didache (80-120) is the first full statement of Christian theology. It contains a short catechism, general instructions for worship, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, as well as some guidelines on church government and organization. Short and easy to read. – 16 pages

4. The Nicene Creed (365) is the shortest of the books on theology listed here. Every Christian needs to know it. It is recited every week in Anglican churches and many others as well. It is the one document here every Christian agrees with. – 1 page

5. Gregory’s Life of Moses* (381) was the first biography of Christian history, but it is much more than that. St. Gregory retells the story of Moses’ life and ministry from Exodus and Numbers as a spiritual/mystical journey. He views it as: a pattern of the progress of the soul through the temptations of the world to a vision of God.

A notable emphasis of Gregory’s teaching is that the spiritual life is not one of static perfection but of constant progress. The Life of Moses is a great read and a good devotional book to meditate on. I have been very blessed by it. -224 pages

(* following a name shows that person is in my book SPIRITUAL LIVES)

6. Confessions of Augustine*: (397-400) lays out some of the basic doctrines of our faith, that God is all-powerful, that we have sinned against Him, and that we are saved by grace through faith.

Confessions is the first literary effort to present the necessity of salvation, of conversion, of being cleansed of our sins by the blood of Jesus Christ*, and of becoming members of His church. It is the first masterpiece of philosophy, theology, and literature with a good narrative and interesting characters that is easy to read. I first read it in my high school English class. -352 pages

Books on theology in the Middle Ages, 501 – 1500

7. The Consolation of Philosophy (523) by Boethius*.

It has been described as the single most important and influential work in the West on Medieval and early Renaissance Christianity, as well as the last great Western work of the Classical Period. It introduced the Great Chain of Being into Christianity, which became the center of theological thought for a thousand years. -155 pages

8. Ecclesiastical History of the English People (731) by Bede* who was the first to use “A.D.” date in his sixty books on the Bible and English history. He wrote in Anglo-Saxon, the language of the people. – 400 pages

9. Summa Theologica (1274) by Thomas Aquinas*. This work summarizes the theological knowledge available to this brilliant scholar. It contains 3125 articles on theological subjects and constitutes the foundational doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. – 5 volumes – 3,020 pages

Books on theology in the Reformation

10. Book of Common Prayer (1549) by Thomas Cranmer*, the first prayerbook in English. The most important book ever published next to the Bible. It is beautifully written and designed around the scriptures, with texts and prayers for every day of the year. Designed for worship and personal devotions. The 39 articles are the best statement of Protestant theology. 1100 pages, 39 Articles – 6 pages

11. Institutes of the Christian Religion (1560), John Calvin*. The greatest theological treatise of all time. I was introduced to it in a French Literature course in my college days. It is the definitive theology of reformed Christianity. Wikipedia calls it the “seminal work of systematic theology.” By far the most influential works of Protestant theology, -930 pages

12. The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) was listed as one of seven of the best books of theology for beginners. While I take a few exceptions (i.e., I don’t agree with everything in it), few books are more enriching than The Confession. The book is both meaty and edifying, two things that don’t always go together -56 pages

13. Pilgrim’s Progress (1678), by John Bunyan*. Gospel theology is brilliantly told as an exciting trip by Christian from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. Captivating to young and old, the most popular Christian book ever published. – 236 pages

14. A Short and Very Easy Method of Prayer: (1685) By Madame Guyon*. Simple, practical teaching on how to pray. This woman knew Jesus and you will too. I have used this for 50 years and love it still. 99 pages

Books on theology in the 18th century

15. Tale of a Tub, (1704) by Jonathan Swift. A brilliant satire deftly displaying the differences between the Catholic, Lutheran and Calvinist Churches. Great English literature but good theology too. Highly recommended. – 118 pages

16. Hymns and Spiritual Songs: (1711) by Isaac Watts. Watts was a minister, theologian, logician, and hymn writer. His 750 hymns are the theological backbone of our worship even today. They include “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross“, “Joy to the World“, and “O God, Our Help in Ages Past“. Singing his words has been one of the greatest blessings of my life, drawing me closer to God in worship than any book save the Bible. -130 pages.

17. History of the Work of Redemption (1739) by Jonathan Edwards* covers God’s work from before the foundation of the world to its completion when Jesus comes again. Edwards explains that man, the world, and everything that exists was created for one purpose: the work of Jesus Christ to bring salvation to the world. It is a breathtaking book, inspiring and encouraging as it shows us the magnificence of the Lord Jesus and the priceless value of our souls. It's not an easy read, but it's worth the effort. -286 pages

Books on theology in the 19th century

18. The Sacrament of the Present Moment, (1861) by Jean Pierre de Chausade, (1675-1751) Taught me the importance of living every moment for God and trusting Him for all. The most powerful teaching in my adult life. -128 pages

19. The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, (1875): Hannah Whitall Smith. This is a guide to sanctification and complete surrender to the divine will that was translated into several languages and sold some two million copies worldwide. This book changed my life, helped me rest in Jesus, and trust in His love. -256 pages

20. The Master’s Indwelling (1896), by Andrew Murray; 13 meditations provide the biblical interpretation to encourage Christians throughout various stages of their spiritual walk. Including a helpful section of “Joy in the Holy Ghost.” An ongoing encouragement. -132 pages

Books on theology in the 20th century

21. Christianity and Liberalism, (1923) by J. Gresham Machen*. This classic defense of orthodox Christianity, written to counter the liberalism that arose in the early 1900s, it

establishes the importance of scriptural doctrine and contrasts the teachings of liberalism and orthodoxy on God and man, the Bible, Christ, salvation, and the church – 176 pages

22. Ever Increasing Faith (1924) by Smith Wigglesworth. This plumber-turned-evangelist was baptized in the Holy Ghost and given a tremendous healing ministry. He knew no theology but the Bible but had total confidence in the power of Christ. God changed me through this book. -128 pages

22. Christ the Healer, (1924) F.F. Bosworth. This is the best book other than the Bible on healing and divine health. Bosworth explains God’s heart and intentions for His people to be well and free of sickness and disease in a quite simple but profound way. My family grew up with this book which has helped me trust Jesus for many healings, including asthma and throat cancer, and for the healing of my children too. Jesus is our Healer! -247 pages

23. The Pilgrim Church (1931) by E H Broadbent: The Pilgrim Church records how believers met in independent local congregations from apostolic days to the present, feeding on the Word of God and trusting the Lord Jesus to take care of them. (My favorite book on church history!) -460 pages

24. Mere Christianity, (1952) by C.S. Lewis. The most important writer of the 20th century explores the common ground upon which all of those of the Christian faith stand together.

If you know nothing about Christianity, this is the place to start. – 227 pages

25. A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, (1970): W. Phillip Keller. One of the greatest blessings of my life. Makes me love the Good Shepherd more deeply. Helps me remember I am a sheep and called to follow! --128 pages

26. Whatever Happened to the Human Race? (1979) By Francis Schaeffer*. The last modern theologian. Schaeffer cried out against abortion, euthanasia, and humanism in this call to action that set my heart on fire. Must-read. -256 pages

27. Good Morning, Holy Spirit, (1990) by Benny Hinn*. Best-selling personal testimony of healing and call to ministry. Helped me see the reality of the Holy Ghost every morning! 177 pages.

28. The Resurrection of the Son of God (2003) by N.T. Wright. The Anglican bishop and theologian makes the definitive case for Jesus’ Resurrection being the culmination of His ministry and His victory over death. It is a challenging read but well worth the satisfaction of seeing this thoughtful and compelling affirmation of our faith. -850 pages

29. Systematic Theology, (2020) Second Edition: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine – by Wayne Grudem. The definitive theology for evangelical Christians today. I gave this to my son several years ago and value it highly, especially his recognition of the work and gifts of the Holy Spirit. – 1616 pages.

Are there good books on theology being written today?

I hope so, although I have not seen many. Much of what is presented as theology or Christian literature is written to make money, to challenge historical faith, or to defend what is condemned by the Bible. Here are some things to consider:

  • Is the writer a Bible-believing, born-again Christian?

  • Does the writer have “the mind of Christ”?

  • Many are deemed Christian by the world at large who deny the Bible, its truth, and our Savior.

  • Be warned, there are Christian-like cults out there offering “theology” dressed up as Christianity but denying that the Lord Jesus Christ is God.

  • Beware! Check the author’s biography and testimony as well as lifestyle. Stick with what has been affirmed and confirmed by Bible-believing Christians; all the rest is dross.

We need new books on theology that address current concerns and issues and continue to affirm the Gospel and the authority of the Bible.

I hope that this generation will stand up for Jesus and present to a needy world the truth of Christianity in a beautiful and enduring way that will bring glory to the Lord Jesus, souls into His kingdom, and sheep into His fold.

Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross;

Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss.

From victory unto victory His army shall He lead,

Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus! The trumpet call obey:

Forth to the mighty conflict, in this His glorious day;

Ye that are men now serve Him against unnumbered foes;

Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the solemn watchword hear;

If while ye sleep He suffers, away with shame and fear;

Where’er ye meet with evil, within you or without,

Charge for the God of battles, and put the foe to rout.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in His strength alone;

The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own.

Put on the Gospel armor, each piece put on with prayer;

Where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, each soldier to his post,

Close up the broken column, and shout through all the host:

Make good the loss so heavy, in those that still remain,

And prove to all around you that death itself is gain.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long;

This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song.

To those who vanquish evil a crown of life shall be;

They with the King of Glory shall reign eternally.

George Duf­field, Jr., 1858.

Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:10-13


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