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With Christmas and the New Year fast upon us, I thought it would be fun to put together a list of the top 10 theology books you should read in 2021. I tried to include a good mix of Puritan and contemporary authors. Keep in mind, no book should keep you away from Scripture. If you’re struggling to stay in the Word of God, I would encourage you to ignore this list and instead devote yourself to the Scriptures.
#10: The 1650 Scottish Psalter (Psalms of David in Metre)
So this one is technically cheating. This book isn’t really a “theology book” per se; rather, it is a translation of the Psalms. This translation was made and approved by the Church of Scotland in the mid-17th century, and was specifically designed for family worship. All of the Psalms are translated into Common Metre, which is a tune. If you know the tune to Amazing Grace, you can sing all of the Psalms. You can get your copy here from the Trinitarian Bible Society for under $10.
#9: The Kingdom of God by Jeffrey Johnson
“The Kingdom of God” is a unique theology book. The first part is a theological treatment of the Abrahamic Covenant from a Reformed Baptist perspective. The second part outlines the work of God throughout the biblical revelation in a narrative format. If you haven’t spent much time studying Baptistic covenant theology, this is a perfect place to begin. It’s available here from Free Grace Press.
#8: The Imputation of Adam’s Sin by John Murray
This little book is a technical treatment of the nature of the imputation of Adam’s sin to the human race. If you’re looking for something at a more academic level with serious implications for how we understand the Gospel, this is a catch. You can find it on Amazon here.
#7: Jesus is Lord: The Mediatorial Reign of Christ by Ron Crisp and Daniel Chamberlin
Everyone is talking about “Lordship salvation” and everyone is saying that we need to submit to Jesus “as Lord.” But what does that actually mean according to Scripture? In this short book, Ron Crisp and Daniel Chamberlin set out a brief overview of the necessity of understanding the Lordship of Christ as essentially connected to his office as Mediator. You can find here on Free Grace Press.
#6: Covenant Theology: From Adam to Christ by Nehemiah Coxe and John Owen
I listed a recommendation for those new to Baptistic covenant theology; now it’s time for some more advanced material. Nehemiah Coxe played an essential role in the development of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. Dr. John Owen is THE doctor of the Puritan Age. With excellent introductions, this book is a goldmine. You can find it here on Amazon.
#5: The Integrity and Purity of the Hebrew and Greek Text of the Scriptures by John Owen
Okay, I couldn’t resist. I know this is a niche group and not everyone is that interested, but if you have any desire to learn what the men of old actually believed about the text of Scripture, this is a perfect place to start. Even if you don’t know Hebrew or Greek, this work will help you form a biblical doctrine of Scripture. And it’s available for free via The Digital Puritan. (Scroll down to vol. 4 to find it)
#4: The Glory of a True Church by Benjamin Keach
Benjamin Keach was another instrumental figure in the creation of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. In this little work, he discusses the biblical doctrine of the church from a Baptistic perspective. You can find it at Free Grace Press.
#3: A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith by Samuel Waldron
If you want to grow in your understanding of the 1689 Confession, Baptist theology, or biblical doctrine in general, this is a must-have. I consult this work on a regular basis. Dr. Waldron has an excellent ability to concisely and clearly explain fundamental points of doctrine. I don’t agree with everything he says, but everything he says is worth reading. You can find it here on Amazon.
#2: Baptists: Thorough Reformers by John Quincy Adams
In this fiery little book, John Adams outlines the fundamental distinctives of Baptistic theology, with the concluding thesis that Baptists are the only thorough Reformers. If you have an interest in understanding what separates Baptists from other Reformed groups, this book is definitely a must-read. You can find it on Free Grace Press.
#1: Spurgeon’s Sermons
This is another cheat item on this list, but there’s a reason C.H. Spurgeon was called the Prince of Preachers. This five-volume collection of sermons is a necessity to any library. Of all the theologians and preachers I’ve read and listened to, Spurgeon is my favorite. He has such a brilliant way to distill complex ideas into vivid, beautiful, clear language that it makes those ideas simple to understand. Simply put, if you read nothing else in 2021 (expect the Scriptures themselves, obviously), you must read these sermons. You can find them here on Amazon.