This is a list of resources on the Westminster Standards.
It is what I studied to prepare for teaching the Westminster Standards.
They are not necessarily in order of quality. Links are included so you can go directly to them. An asterisk (*) indicates a free resource.
I have also written a small review of several. Hopefully, this bibliography is helpful.
The Westminster Standards (Westminster Confession of Faith, Larger and Shorter Catechisms)*
The best creeds ever written.
Reformed Confessions Harmonized edited by Joel Beeke & Sinclair Ferguson
A really helpful resource. The introductory material is excellent. I highly recommend having this on hand.
Textbook #1. To my knowledge, this is the only book currently available that expounds the Standards in harmony. It’s an excellent book, and one reason is because it is the only one. I have to say, it is my opinion that the fact this book has gone out of print and isn’t being published today is evidence that Presbyterians are unwilling (for myriad reasons, no doubt) to do the very thing Beattie does: expound the all the Standards. That’s a shame. Many of the seminary classes out there only study the Confession of Faith. At worst, the Shorter Catechism. But the simple fact is that we don’t have just one document, we have three, and they compliment each other. Beattie shows us how.
The second textbook. This book is a gem. This is the first commentary on the Confession of Faith, written just three years after the Confession itself. It’s a confessional apologetic. And all those heresies and errors? We are still fighting them today. This book will never get old. I’m glad it’s recognized, still being published by Banner of Truth in a very nice edition. Chapters 1-22 can be read here.
The Westminster Confession of Faith: For Study Classes (2nd Edition) by G.I. Williamson
A wonderful commentary. If you love his study guide on the Shorter Catechism, you’ll love this. Great applications, all over. Easy read. Definitely a first resource for the Confession.
The Westminster Larger Catechism: A Commentary by Johannes Geerhardus Vos (ed. G.I. Williamson)
I loved this so much. I love the Larger Catechism, and it is truly a neglected treasure of a neglected part of Presbyterian heritage. However old Vos is, his brief commentary still packs relevance. A new edition of this would certainly be of great benefit to the church. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read, about anything. Read a sample.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism: For Study Classes by G.I. Williamson
The classic! This was my introduction to the Westminster Standards. Our community group used it, and now I use it for high school and Sunday school. The sections on the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer are especially good. The illustrations (figures) could use updating, though. I also think they should update the cover art to match his commentary on the Confession and Vos’ commentary on the Larger Catechism.
The Westminster Confession: A Commentary by A.A. Hodge*
A classic commentary on the Confession. I enjoyed this one.
I think I enjoyed this more than Hodge. Much more of this was helpful.
This trilogy is all of Thomas Watson’s sermons following the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Has has such a way with words. The first offers an excellent introduction to the Christian faith. The second volume is my favorite of the three. However, as Puritans had a tendency to do, his further extending and dividing could drag on. There’s definitely more here than was needed.
Both good background on the Westminster Standards. It will probably give you a greater appreciation of the Divines.
The Creedal Imperative by Carl R. Trueman
A must read in this anti-creedal time. Evangelicals tend to be hostile to history and creeds in general, and correction is needed. While this book doesn’t exclusively focus on the Standards themselves, it all still applies. This helps you know the opposition to creeds and confessions.
By Good and Necessary Consequence by Ryan McGraw
An extremely important exposition of one part of the Confession of Faith. This is vital to understand, in order to interpret Scripture correctly, and to understand the doctrines we believe. This part of the Confession of Faith happens to be one of the places that the particular Baptists revised for their London Confession of Faith, by the way.
Broader than just the Westminster Standards. More helpful historical context to understand what has been passed down to us throughout church history.
A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life by Joel Beeke & Mark Jones
The Puritans wrote the Westminster Standards. This work is helpful in understanding the doctrine, ethics, and practice that is contained in the Standards, from Calvin to the Westminster Assembly. This work is a true treasure, and belongs on the shelf (or in the cloud) of any serious Reformed student.
These two classes are background and context for the Standards.
The Westminster Standards (14 lectures), Sinclair Ferguson, Westminster Theological Seminary
I was disappointed with this one, simply because the title of the class does not reflect the content. I saw this and thought it would be what I wanted to teach: the Westminster Standards. So I was excited. After giving an excellent overview of the historical context, Ferguson then provides a very good “gloss” of the Confession of Faith only. Not as advertised! This class should be titled “The Westminster Confession.” Besides that, his gloss of the Confession was very helpful.
The Westminster Confession of Faith (22 lectures), Dr. David Calhoun, Covenant Theological Seminary
My least favorite of these classes, easily. The pace was painfully slow. I literally listened to it at 3x speed. Because of that, the commentary on the Confession was really disproportioned. Dragging the beginning of the Confession, and rushing the rest. That latter parts of the Confession had to be swept over really quickly because time had run out. Yet, there were some helpful tidbits. Much ado about “exceptions” that would need to be figured out, prior to ordination. Ordination and subscription to the Confession were always in view, which I appreciated.
The Westminster Confession of Faith (24 lectures), Dr. John Gerstner, Ligonier
The best teaching on the Confession on this list. He’s the best teacher, no doubt. This was immediately my favorite class on the Westminster Confession, before I had even finished it. He was such a great teacher, and it was obvious that he loved what he was teaching, and that was contagious. His way of explaining was so clear. This class was a delight. I wish I had watched it years ago when I first got it.
These two conferences were excellent. Scholarly level addresses on aspects of the Westminster Standards, reminding everyone that they are not out of date, but applicable as ever. Truly helpful for a closer analysis of particulars in the Standards. I have listed the lectures that I found to be most helpful, with some explanation, here.
Biblical Doctrine Series: Westminster Confession (60 hours!), Francis Schaeffer, L’Abri Fellowship
This podcast is easily as helpful as any course I’ve listened to on the Westminster Confession of Faith. More than most of them, to be honest. Notes are hit in this podcast that none of the commentaries touch. It is extremely helpful and practical. Anyone who wants to study the Confession, go here first. It’s the easiest way to learn so much.