Books that have Helped Joel Beeke the Best
Joel Beeke, what three books have been most helpful to you as a Christian and as a minister?
The first book that comes to mind is the Letters of Samuel Rutherford, which I kept on my nightstand for decades. Whenever I was discouraged, I would sweeten my mind with a morsel of Rutherford before I went to sleep. His way of taking his afflictions to Christ to end in him is a medicine that I have needed a thousand times over. Second, Pilgrim’s Progress has had a profound effect on me since childhood, when my father used to read part of it every Sunday evening after church. After I was converted in my late teens, I would ask him numerous questions about the various characters in this amazing allegory. The many spiritual lessons that I learned from Dad’s answers, and from my later study of this justly famous book, I simply cannot put into words. Tied for third place are Thomas Goodwin’s Christ Our Mediator, which first moved me as a seventeen-year-old convert to taste more of the beauty and fulness of Christ than I had known before, and Friedrich W. Krummacher’s The Suffering Saviour, which I read for the first time as an eighteen-year-old soldier on active duty in Fayetteville, North Carolina, during a two-week summer camp. Both of these books enlarged my experiential acquaintance of what my Saviour has done for me by dying in my place for my sins.
Then three more as a minister. Wilhelmus Ã Brakel’s The Christian’s Reasonable Service (4 volumes) has provided me with great assistance in pastoral ministry. The applications at the end of each chapter are priceless. I was sorry when the six-year process of editing this invaluable set of books was complete. Second, Calvin’s Institutes and commentaries have been a constant source of instruction and edification for me. Finally, Charles Bridge’s The Christian Ministry has instructed me and moved me more than any other book on homiletics and ministry. I believe that this volume is the best one volume work ever written on the overall task of the ministry of the Word.