If you had to pick but a few essential items to have in your theological library–yes, a few bare bones essentials–then what would they be? The Puritan Richard Baxter once asked such a question: “What books, especially of theology, should one choose who for want of money or time can read but few?” He asked this in his work, A Christian Directory, in a section entitled “Ecclesiastical Cases of Conscience.” Here’s the list Baxter came up with:
* The Bible
* A concordance
* A work on the doctrines of the Gospel
* “…as many affectionate practical English writers as you can get.”
This is what Baxter called “the poorest or smallest library that is tolerable.” The aforementioned list was summarized on p. 39 of J.I. Packer’s book, A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life. So far it’s an excellent read and it’s great to find little gems like this.