This bibliography is in no way comprehensive but instead gives suggestions for books on various theological subjects to help church members begin to build a basic theological library. Even though many of these books are excellent, this does not mean that the session of Geneva OPC endorses every statement in them. People are encouraged to read discerningly.
Good introductions to the Old and New Testaments are very helpful as they give the history, characterisitics, and key themes that are found in each book of the Bible.
Every serious student of the Scriptures should invest in a set of good commentaries. When asked what set to purchase, such a question will usually elicit sighs of frustration because there is no perfect set. Each set has its strengths and weaknesses and can be uneven. If you want to build a “Frankenstein” set of your own rather than a set, then the Old and New Testament commentary surveys by Longman and Carson are an excellent resource as they rank the best commentaries available. One last note, Beale and Carson’s Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament should be on the shelf of every serious Bible student, period.
In the study of doctrine its important to have good theological works that explain the various truths of Scripture in a systematic fashion, such as the doctrines of creation, Christ, salvation, and last things. Every library should have classic works such as Calvin’s Institutes. A contemporary classic is Louis Berkhof’s Systematic Theology, which is still a standard work employed by Reformed seminaries to this day. The reader should be prepared for rigorous meditation upon the teaching of Scripture. These works are sometimes best read slowly, carefully, and with a Bible in hand following the various Scripture references.
Biblical theology is the discipline of tracing the unfolding history of God’s revelation to his people through the historic covenants. Vos’s work is a standard in the field as he is the father of contemporary Reformed biblical theology. Vos, however, is not light reading.
History of Doctrine
It is helpful to study the history of doctrine and how the church has wrestled with various heresies throughout two millennia. Both Berkof and Hägglund offer eminently brief and readable accounts of the history of doctrine.
The defense of the faith is an important aspect of Christian theology. Within Reformed circles there are largely two competing schools of thought, classical and presuppositional apologetics. A knowledge of the history of philosophy can be helpful, but is not necessarily essential to a basic knowledge of apologetics.
The Book of Church Order was greatly influenced by one of its chief authors, R. B. Kuiper, one of the early faculty members of Westminster Theological Seminary. Therefore his book on the doctrine of the church serves not only as an excellent and accessible introduction to the doctrine of the church, but it also provides much of the doctrinal rationale that underlies the OPC’s Book of Church Order. Also an excellent and important resource is Hart and Muether’s book on worship. It gives a simple introduction to Reformed worship.
In any denomination, it is important to know its history, as it is usually shaped by the events surrounding its foundation. This is true for the OPC. The following resources are an excellent way to get to know the OPC.