Annotated Bibliography on Reformed Piety

Annotated Bibliography on Reformed Piety
General Reading in Reformed Piety and Biblical Godliness
  • A’Brakel, Wilhemus. The Christian’s Reasonable Service (book, ebook). Edited by Joel R. Beeke. Translated by Bartel Elshout. 4 vols. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2012.
  • Alexander, Archibald. Thoughts on Religious Experience: To Which Is Added an Appendix, Containing “Letters to the Aged.” Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1844.
  • Bayly, Lewis. The Practice of Piety, Etc. [the Epistle Dedicatory Signed: Lewes Baily.]. London: Printed for Philip Chetwind, 1665.
  • Beeke, Joel R. Puritan Reformed Spirituality. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2004.
  • ———. The Beauty and Glory of Christian Living (book, ebook), 2014.
  • Bolton, Robert. The Carnall Professor. Discovering the Wofull Slavery of a Man Guided by the Flesh. Distinguishing a True Spiritual Christian That Walkes Close with God, from All Formalists in Religion, Rotten Hearted Hypocrites, and Empty Powerlesse Professors Whatsoever. London: Printed for R. Dawlman, 1634.
  • Bolton, Samuel, and John Cameron. The True Bounds of Christian Freedome. or a Treatise Wherein the Rights of the Law Are Vindicated, the Liberties of Grace Maintained, and Severall Late Opinions Against the Law Are Examined and Confuted. London,: Printed, for P.S. and are to be sold by A. Kemb, and are to be sold at his shop neer the Talbot-gate in Southwark, 1656.
  • Lane, Belden C. Ravished by Beauty: The Surprising Legacy of Reformed Spirituality. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • Owen, John. Phronema Tou Pneumatou, Or, the Grace and Duty of Being Spiritually-Minded Declared and Practically Improved. London: Printed by J.G. for Nathaniel Ponder ..., 1681.
  • Palmer, B. M. Selected Writings of Benjamin Morgan Palmer: Articles Written for The Southwestern Presbyterian in the Years 1869-70. Edited by C. N. Willborn. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2014.
  • Pipa, Joseph A., and J. Andrew. Wortman. Reformed Spirituality: Communing with Our Glorious God. Taylors, SC: Southern Presbyterian Press, 2003.
  • Reuver, A. de. Sweet Communion: Trajectories of Spirituality from the Middle Ages Through the Further Reformation. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007.
  • Ryken, Leland. Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Academie Books, 1986.
  • Scudder, Henry. The Christian’s Daily Walk, in Holy Security and Peace. Harrisonburg, Va.: Sprinkle Publications, 1984.
  • Swinnock, George. The Christian-Man’s Calling, Or, a Treatise of Making Religion Ones Business Wherein the Nature and Necessity of It Is Discovered: As Also the Christian Directed How He May Perform It in [brace] Religious Duties, Natural Actions, His Particular Vocation, His Family-Directions, and His Own Recreations. London: Printed by J.B. for Thomas Parkhurst ..., 1662.
  • Walker, Jeremy. Life in Christ: Becoming and Being a Disciple of the Lord Jesus (book, ebook). Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2013.
  • Watson, Thomas. The Godly Mans Picture Drawn with a Scripture-Pensil, Or, Some Characteristical Notes of a Man That Shall Go to Heaven. London: Printed for Thomas Parkhurst, 1666.
What is a Christian?
  • Martin, Albert N. What Is a Biblical Christian?. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1985.
  • Plumer, William S. The Christian. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1878.
This is one of the few works that directly addresses the nature of the Christian in its title. Plumer is wonderfully devotional and so simple that he is accessible to any audience.
  • Ryan M. McGraw. What Is a Christian? (book, ebook) Cultivating Biblical Godliness. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2014.
Trinitarian Piety
  • Ferguson, Sinclair B. The Trinitarian Devotion of John Owen (book, audio). A Long Line of Godly Men Profiles. Orlando: Reformation Trust, 2014.
This book is more of a guided conversation through Owen’s work on Communion with God than it is a study of Owen’s theology. That being said, this is one of the best introductions to the practical use of the doctrine of the Trinity.
Goodwin’s books on communion with the Father and the Son, as well as his Christological treatises and his treatment of the Spirit’s work in rengereation prensent a full-orbed devotional Trinitarianism. His sermosn on Epheisans 1-2 are of interest in this regard as well.
  • Hoornbeeck, Johannes. Theologia Practica Pars 1. 2 vols. Francofurti & Lipsiae: Bailliar, 1698 

Hoornbeeck’s treatment of the practical uses of the doctrine of the Trinity in this volume are outstanding. The entire thrust of his work was to develop theology as it related to cultivating godliness.

  • Mastricht, Peter van. Theoretico-Practica Theologia. Qua, Per Singula Capita Theologica, Pars Exegetica, Dogmatica, Elenchtica & Practica, Perpetua Successione Conjugantur. Trajecti ad Rhenum, & Amstelodami: Sumptibus Societatis, 1715 

Mastricht’s theology is self-consciously trinitarian throughout every theological locus. Since he aims at the application and practical use of theology in every section, his entire work becomes an exemplary model of Trinitarian piety. This work is being translated into English by Todd Rester for the Dutch Reformed Translation Society.

  • McGraw, Ryan M. “A Heavenly Directory:” Trinitarian Piety, Public Worship, and a Reassessment of John Owen’s Theology. Reformed Historical Theology. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2014.
  • ———. The Foundation of Communion with God: The Trinitarian Piety of John Owen (book, ebook). Profiles in Reformed Spirituality. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2014.

This volume consists primarily of readings from various portions of Owen’s works. The readings trace Trinitarian piety throughout the various theological themes in Owen’s writings, with a special emphasis on public worship. Since these were Owen’s emphases, this small book serves as an introduction to his Works and thought as a whole. However, the chapters are presented in a devotional format in which readers will learn how to cultivate fellowship with all three divine persons.

This is the best treatment of communion with all three persons in the Trinity. Other than Latin works, such as Mastricht’s Theoretico-Practica Theologia, it is virtually unique in Enlgish literature on Trinitarian piety. It is a must read and should be the first on any list of reading on this subject.

This work is practical in its aim, but imprecise in its theology. It is a good attempt at making the doctrine of the Trinity both popular and personal, but the writers sacrifice accuracy in a way that Owen, Goodwin, Mastricht, and others do not.

  • Voetius, Gijsbert. Selectarum Disputationum Theologicarum Pars Prima (Quinta. Accedunt Dissertatio Epistolica De Termino Vitæ. Exercitatio De Prognosticis Cometarum. Antehac Seorsim Editæ). 5 vols. Ultrajecti, 1648 

Voeitius’ sections on the Trinity in volume 1 specifically address whether or not the Trinity is necessary and practical. The Arminians were his primary targets, since they denied both of these points. He argues that the Trinity is the foundation of all fundamental doctrines and the most eminently practical dogma of the entire Christian faith. Voetius is outstanding for his devotional quality, but his Scotist methodology often makes reading him a complex affair.

Word and Spirit
  • Owen, John. Two Discourses Concerning the Holy Spirit, and His Work the One, of the Spirit as a Comforter, the Other, as He Is the Author of Spiritual Gifts. London: Printed for William Marshall, 1693 
Both of these works by Owen treat the interrelation between Word and Spirit in Reformed piety. The first in connection to spiritual comfort and the second in relation to spiritual gifts. The sufficiency of Scripture is the key in both cases. Everything that Owen wrote is worth reading and noteworthy.
Mortifying Sin
Bible Reading
  • Beeke, Joel R. How Should Teens Read the Bible? Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2014.
  • McGraw, Ryan M. “Retaining Scripture in Our Minds and Hearts.” Puritan Reformed Journal 3, no. 2 (July 2011): 351–360.

This is the best systematic treatment of the theological grounds for and description of biblical prayer that I have read. It is not as full-orbed in its practical orientation as authors such as Watts and Henry, but it treats theological issues related to prayer in a profound manner. This volume has the advantage of including Palmer’s treatment of communion with all three persons in the Trinity.

  • Phelps, Austin. The Still Hour: Communion with God in Prayer. Birmingham: Solid Ground Christian Books, 2005.
  • Scudder, Henry. A Key of Heaven: The Lord’s Prayer Opened and so Applied, That a Christian May Learn How to Pray, and to Procure All Things Which May Make for the Glory of God, and the Good of Himself and of His Neighbor; Containing Likewise Such Doctrines of Faith and Godliness, as May Be Very Useful to All That Desire to Live Godly in Christ Jesus. London, 1633.
  • Watts, Isaac. A Guide to Prayer. Edinburgh; Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth, 2001.
  • Westminster Assembly. A Directory for the Publique Worship of God Throughout the Three Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland Together with an Ordinance of Parliament for the Taking Away of the Book of Common-Prayer: And for Establishing and Observing of This Present Directory Throughout the Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales ... London: Printed by M.B. and A.M. for the Company of Stationers, 1646.
  • Witsius, Herman. Sacred Dissertations on the Lord’s Prayer. Edited by Joel R Beeke. Translated by William Pringle. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2010.
  • Henry, Matthew. A Discourse [on 1 Pet. Iii. 4] Concerning Meekness and Quietness of Spirit. to Which Is Added a Sermon on Acts 28. 22. [with a Preface by J. Howe.]. London, 1699 

While this text treats female piety, Henry draws general principles from it aimed to inclucate humility in all readers. Henry is always useful at promoting experimental religion.

The Fruit of the Spirit
Fesko’s work is most valuable for its biblical theology and in rooting the fruit of the Spirit in the Old Testament and in the person and offices of Christ.
Pipa’s commentary itself reads like an exegetically robust devotional work, reminsscent of sermons. His section on the fruit of the Spirit is superb.
Time Management
  • DeYoung, Kevin. Crazy Busy: A (mercifully) Short Book About a (really) Big Problem. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013.
  • McGraw, Ryan M. Do I Really Have Time for This? Cultivating Biblical Godliness. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, forthcoming 2016.
  • Perman, Matt. What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014.
  • Pollard, Jeff. Christian Modesty and the Public Undressing of America. San Antonio: Vision Forum, 2002.
  • Hyde, Daniel R. Why Should I Fast? (book, ebook) Cultivating Biblical Godliness. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2015.
  • Strauch, Alexander. The Hospitality Commands: Building Loving Christian Community: Building Bridges and Neighbors. Littleton, CO: Lewis and Roth Publishers, 1993.
  • Manton, Thomas. A Third Volume of Sermons Preached by the Late Reverend and Learned Thomas Manton, D.d. in Two Parts: The First Containing Lxvi Sermons on the Eleventh Chapter the of Hebrews, with a Treatise on the Life of Faith: Part the Second, a Treatise of Self-Denial, with Several Sermons on the Sacrament of the Lord’s-Supper, and Other Special Occasions: With an Alphabetical Table to the Whole. London: Printed by J.D. for Thomas Parkhurst, and Jonathan Robinson, 1985.
  • McGraw, Ryan M. Why Should I Deny Myself? (book, ebook) Cultivating Biblical Godliness. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2015.
  • Swinnock, George. The Fading of the Flesh, and Flourishing of Faith; Or, One Cast for Eternity, with the Only Way to Throw It Well (book, ebook). London: printed for Tho. Parkhurst, 1662.
Public Worship and Listening to Sermons
  • Beeke, Joel R. The Family at Church: Listening to Sermons and Attending Prayer Meetings (book, ebook). Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2008.

This book contains guidance on two important areas of family life. First, it explains how we should prepare our families for public worship. Second, it addresses the subject of prayer meetings, their importance and the scriptural warrant for them. --from publisher description.

Public Prayer and Prayer Meetings
Sabbath Keeping

This book presents the Sabbath in light of its biblical theological development.

  • Chantry, Walter J. Call the Sabbath a Delight. Edinburgh; Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth Trust, 1991.
  • Dennison, James T. The Market Day of the Soul: The Puritan Doctrine of the Sabbath in England, 1532-1700. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1983.
  • McGraw, Ryan M. “Five Reasons Why the Sabbath Was Designed for Worship.” Puritan Reformed Journal 1, no. 2 (July 2009): 218–225.
  • ———. “Principles of Sabbath Keeping: Jesus and Westminster.” Puritan Reformed Journal 3, no. 1 (January 2011): 316–327.
  • ———. The Day of Worship: Reassessing the Christian Life in Light of the Sabbath (book, ebook). Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2011.
  • Owen, John. Exercitations Concerning the Name, Original, Nature, Use and Continuance of a Day of Sacred Rest. Wherein the Original of the Sabbath from the Foundation of the World, the Morality of the Fourth Commandment, with the Change of the Seventh Day Are Enquired Into. Together with an Assertion of the Divine Institution of the Lord’s Day, and Practical Directions for Its Due Observation. by John Owen, D.D. London: printed by R[obert]. W[hite]. for Nath. Ponder, at the Peacock in Chancery Lane near Fleetstreet, 1671.
  • Pipa, Joseph A. The Lord’s Day. Fearn: Christian Focus, 1997.
The unique aspect of this book is its treatment of friendship in marriage. The section on friendship is designed to place the section on sexual intimacy in its proper context. This short book is filled with pastoral wisdom and the author’s counsel will go a long way to build a strong bond between husbands and wives.
God designed marriage to be a relationship of deep unity. The strength and beauty of that biblical norm are reflected in far too few marriages today. Divorce rates soar, even among Christians, and couples who do not go their separate ways resign themselves far too often to mere coexistence. The result is that many are tempted to view deep marital unity as an impossible ideal. Wayne Mack recognizes the challenges involved in building a strong marriage. He also knows that Scripture provides the method and means for meeting those challenges with growing success. In this volume Dr. Mack has gathered a wealth of practical information on marital roles, communication, finances, sex, child raising, and family religion. This valuable counseling aid for pastors can also be used with great benefit by couples on their own. - Back cover.
  • Wilson, Douglas. Reforming Marriage. Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 1995.
Though I have some reservations with some of Wilson’s theological writings, in my opinion, this is still the best introduction to biblical marriage. Wilson is comprehensive but brief, doctrinal yet practical. He gives more practical examples than most other books on marriage, making his counsel concrete and more likely to produce lasting change in people.
Family Worship

This has become the classic textbook on the theology and practice of family worship. It is filled both with Scriptural material, illustrations, and practical examples.

  • Beeke, Joel R. Family Worship (ebook). Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2009.

This is one of the best places to begin to study the practice of family worship. Beeke is brief, bibliical, and helpful. This book is ideal for study groups as well.

This book contains some helpful pointers and it is useful in getting families to practice family worship. However, its overly prescribed and overly complex suggested liturgy for family worship requires prayerful creative thinking and editing by the thoughtful head of household.

  • Palmer, B. M, and James W Alexander. The Family in Its Civil and Churchly Aspects: An Essay in Two Parts. Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1981.

Palmer’s book on the family is the best treatment of developing the theology of the family from Scripture and in connection to the fifth commandment. The Sprinkle volume has the advantage of being bound together with Alexander’s famous book on Family Worship.

Training Children
  • Beeke, Joel R. Bringing the Gospel to Covenant Children (book, ebook). Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2010.

This book teaches parents how to evangelize their children without presuming that they are either regenerate or unregenerate. Since evangelism must flow from a godly life.

Beeke’s book teaches parents how to apply biblical prinicples by faith to every area of the parent-child relationship. This book is deeply encouraging. It imparts hope to parents while giving them solid practical direction. The audio for the Sunday school course on which this book is based is also available at

  • James, John Angell. The Christian Father’s Present to His Children. Boston; New York: Leonard W. Kimball ; John P. Haven, 1831.

This book consists of letters from a godly Christian Father teaching his children how to resist temptation and to live godly in Christ. The practical counsel he offers is very helpful, though he is somewhat lacking on emphasizing union with Christ in the Christian life.

  • Koelman, Jacobus. The Duties of Parents. Edited by M. Eugene Osterhaven. Translated by John Vriend. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003.

This is one of the best manuals on the day to day how-to’s of parenting. While Koelman sometimes borders being overly strict, he represents some of the best pastoral wisdom on parenting from the Dutch Second Reformation.

  • Mather, Cotton. A Family Well-Ordered, Or, an Essay to Render Parents and Children Happy in One Another Handling Two Very Important Cases: I. What Are the Duties to Be Done by Pious Parents, for the Promoting of Piety in Their Children, Ii. What Are the Duties That Must Be Paid by Children to Their Parents, That They May Obtain the Blessings of the Dutiful. Boston [Mass.]: Printed by B. Green & J. Allen, for Michael Perry & Benjamin Eliot, 1699 

This is one of the best introductions to Puritan child-rearing. Mather’s work addresses the relation between parents and children excellently.

  • Wilson, Douglas. Standing on the Promises: A Handbook of Biblical Childrearing. Moscow, Idaho: Canon Press, 1997.

While I do not agree with Wilson presumptive regeneration view of covenant children, this book is highly valuable. It roots parenting in faith in God’s promises and obedience to his command. The result is that Wilson cultivates piety in parents primarily as they seek to rear their children in the Lord. This book brings encouragement, hope, and concrete practical counsel to parents.

The Piety of Ministerial Students

The title to this book is misleading. Martin treats the spiritual state and practices of the minister in relation to the causes of ministerial burnout. The result is a full manual on how to live a balanced and godly life to the glory of God. He also treats widely neglected issues related to the ministry, such as glutony, diet, and exercise.

  • Owen, John. Theologoumena Pantodapa, Sive, De Natura, Ortu Progressu, Et Studio Veræ Theologiæ, Libri Sex Quibus Etiam Origines & Processus Veri & Falsi Cultus Religiosi, Casus & Instaurationes Ecclesiæ Illustiores Ab Ipsis Rerum Primordiis, Enarrantur. Oxoniæ: Excudebat Hen. Hall, impensis Tho. Robinson, 1661 

This volume consists of Owen’s Latin lectures on the nature and study of theology from his tenure at Oxford. Its primary aim is to address the effects of sin and grace on true theology and theological studies in light of the teaching of the whole bible. It is available in a mediocre English “interpretation” under the unfortunate title of Biblical Theology, which will likely mislead readers from the true purpose of the work.

  • Vitringa, Campegius. Typus Theologiae Practicae, Sive De Vita Spirituali, Eiusque Affectionibus, 1717 

This book aims to cultivate the spiritual life of theological students, with special emphasis on the affections. He primarily treats the nature of the spiritual life in union with Christ, though he includes two chapters (out of eighteen) addressing several means of grace.

  • Voetius, Gisbertus. Exercitia Et Bibliotheca Studiosi Theologiæ. Rheno-Trajecti: Apud Wilhelmum Strick, 1644 

Voetius wrote this book in order to direct theological students in personal holiness, study habits, and reading assignments. It is a large volume with staggering bibliographical recommendations. His primary concern was to develop the character and personal discipline of theological students.

  • Witsius, Herman. On the Character of a True Theologian. Greenville, S.C.: Reformed Academic Press, 1994 

I cannot recommend this work highly enough. This was Witisius’ innagural lecture as professor of theology. If the Lord granted us the kind of professors that wrote mateiral like this, coupled with the kind of students Witsius aimed to cultivate, we would already be a long way towards the revival of the church.