Sunday, January 4, 2009

What is Your Favorite Book (Besides the Bible)?

If you had to pick one book, besides the Bible, as your favorite, what would it be? Here are some examples given by others in history.

J.I. Packer said of Richard Baxter's A Christian Directory that next to the Bible it was:

...the greatest Christian book ever written.

Jonathan Edwards said of Petrus van Mastricht's Theoretico-Practica Theologia that it was:

...much better than Turretine or any other book in the world, excepting the Bible, in my opinion.

Thomas Hooker and Increase Mather said that William Ames' The Marrow of Theology was:

...the most important book beyond the Bible for making a sound theologian.

Charles Spurgeon said of Matthew Poole's English commentary:

If I must have only one commentary, and had read Matthew Henry as I have, I do not know but what I should choose Poole.

Samuel Rogers said of his father Daniel Rogers' Treatise on the Two Sacraments that he

could misse any booke lesse except [the] bible.

Samuel Johnson, a student at Harvard, once said of Johannes Wollebius's The Abridgement of Christian Divinitie that at Harvard it was

considered with equal or greater veneration than the Bible itself.

R.C. Sproul said:

Pelagianism has a death grip on the modern church. Perhaps the most important refutation of this distinctive is [Jonathan] Edwards' Freedom of the Will. I believe this is the most important theological book ever published in America.

James Hervey said of Walter Marshall's The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification that if he were banished to a desert island and could take only a Bible and two other books, Marshall's classic would be among them.

According to Philip Schaff:

The moderate and judicious Richard Baxter esteemed the Westminster Confession and Catechisms the best books in his library next to the Bible...

In response to the question, "If you were stranded on a desert island, and could only have one book with beside the Bible, which book would you choose?" Dr. Joel Beeke said:

Without a doubt, Wilhelmus a Brakel's The Christian's Reasonable Service -- and not just because I would be getting four volumes for one!

Martin Luther said of Philip Melanchthon's Loci Communes Theologici:

Next to Holy Scripture, there is no better book.

John Newton:

If I might read only one book beside the Bible, I would choose [William Gurnall's] The Christian in Complete Armour.


  1. You have included some inestimable books already! Gurnall, Baxter, Edwards! Edwards is among my all time favorites! I have had the joy of teaching a little of him in literature classes.

    But if I had only one book to take with me besides the Bible, it would be fiction. As much as I love The PILGRIM'S PROGRESS, I would either take Lewis's TILL WE HAVE FACES, or Waugh's BRIDESHEAD REVISITED.

    These two, especially taken together, give a very large understanding of how God is at work draw a large number of people to himself.

    Very interesting question! I'll pop back to see other people's answers.

  2. Thank you very much for your feedback. Blessings!

  3. In fairness to Turretin, the full quotation is:

    "Turretine is on Polemical divinity; on the 5 Points, & all other Controversial Points; & is much larger in these than Mastrict; & is better for one that desires only to be thoroughly versed in Controversies. But take Mastrict for divinity in general, doctrine Practice & Controversie; or as an universal system of divinity; & it is much better than Turretine, or any other Book in the world, excepting the Bible, in my opinion." (source)


  4. Thank you very much for this full quote!

  5. Where did Dr. Beeke say that?

  6. Dr. Beeke's statement comes from the February 2007 issue of Tolle Lege from Reformation Heritage Books.