A good friend asked me a few days ago to give him a recommended list of books on the Holy Spirit. I had to confess that my reading has been somewhat sparse. It seems that most books that would be filed under Pneumatology (the study of the Spirit) deal more with controversy than actually positively addressing the Spirit. To really get books like that you have to go back about a hundred years before the Pentecostal-type excesses.
I figure that my friend isn’t the only one that would benefit from such a list. So I’ve tweaked it for your benefit. I will organize it by older books on the Spirit, newer books on the Spirit, and finally controversial issues related to the Spirit. Note: some of these books I have skimmed, some I’ve read thoroughly, others I’m only recommending based upon others I trust.
The Works of John Owen Volume 3 by John Owen. There is a Puritan Paperback called The Holy Spirit that is really beneficial as well. But why not try to snag a copy of Volume 3 from his works and get everything he has written on the topic. Be aware that while this is perhaps the best work on the Spirit it is from John Owen, who can be a bear to read.
The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit by George Smeaton. I’ve never read Smeaton but this one comes highly recommended from people that I trust.
The Work of the Holy Spirit by Abraham Kuyper. I haven’t read this particular book by Kuyper but what I have read of him I have found balanced and helpful. I assume (and other’s have noted) that this is a good book on the Spirit.
The Works of Thomas Goodwin Volume 6 by Thomas Goodwin. Again, I haven’t read this particular volume but Goodwin is one of my favorite Puritans. I have this book in my wishlist (with Goodwin’s other works) and hope to purchase it soon.
The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit by B.B. Warfield. Warfield is a theological stud. His works are impressive. This will read more like a text book but it is beneficial nonetheless.
If you have Calvin’s Institutes he has some pretty good stuff in there. Just scan the index for the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit by Sinclair Ferguson. A great summary of the doctrine of the Spirit. It is weighty but also very accessible.
The Forgotten God by Francis Chan. Many people raved about Chan’s book on the Spirit. Personally I thought it seemed like a really awesome looking plane that made a great amount of noise but never really got off the ground. But that’s just me. You might like it. Reading this book will probably make you consult a list like this. It makes you want to know the Spirit more but it doesn’t deliver in doing such.
The Mystery of the Holy Spirit by R.C. Sproul. I have not read this but need to. Sproul is a great teacher. I’d assume this book wouldn’t be any different than his other excellent resources.
Anointed with the Spirit and Power: The Holy Spirit’s Empowering Presence by John D. Harvey. This is one of THE things that is the work of the Spirit. Yet, sadly many books on the topic are concerned with other issues. John Harvey is helpful in this regard.
Issues Related to the Spirit:
Keep in Step with the Spirit by J.I. Packer. This could easily have been in the second list, but I put it here for his section outlining the dangers of Keswick theology’s view of the Spirit and sanctification.
Showing the Spirit by D.A. Carson. This is Carson’s exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14 and it is a must-have piece on the role of spiritual gifts in the life of the church.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit by James DG Dunn. Dunn is a quality scholar. This book is written on a more scholarly level but it’s a must-read for issues related to baptism of the Spirit. (Also check out Stott’s book on Baptism and Fullness of the Spirit for a less ivory tower approach).
Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? 4 Views by Grudem, Gaffin Jr., Saucy, Storms. I love these 4 views books. I haven’t read this one but I have read the positions of Grudem and Storms and I think this would be a great introductory book for issues related to the miraculous gifts.
What if I can only get one book: Get Ferguson.
There are many more that I could have listed. Any major books I left off the list that you would recommend?