As I’m often asked for book recommendations on various subjects, I decided to put together an online list of my top ten books in various categories. Basically, if I was only allowed 10 books in my library on that subject, these are the ten I would choose. Previous posts include:

Now, I can’t say that I’ve ever been asked for my “Top 10 Books on Sin” (not exactly a list of bestsellers), but as we’ve been looking at the subject of sin the last few days I thought I’d highlight the books that I and others have found most helpful. We’ll start today with the Top 10 Puritan Books on Sin and next week I’ll post Top 10 Modern Books on Sin.

If you know of other good Puritan books on this topic in general or dealing with specific sins, please leave your suggestion in the comments and I’ll add them under “Reader Suggestions.”

1. Overcoming Sin and Temptation: Three Classic Works by John Owen

Overcoming Sin and Temptation includes three of Owen’s classic works: “Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers,” “Of Temptation: The Nature and Power of It,” and “Indwelling Sin.” The editors have updated the language and added other features to make Owen’s writing much more accessible.

2. The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin by Kris Lundgaard

This book is also based upon two of Owen’s classic books on sin, but Lundgraard offers lots of his own insight, encouragement, and counsel too. To give you an idea of the level it’s pitched at our church youth group went through this book last Spring.

3. Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks

A balanced look at spiritual warfare. A deeply spiritual book that is especially good for those in the heat of the battle.

4. The Evil of Evils: The Exceeding Sinfulness of Sin (Puritan Writings) by Jeremiah Burroughs

The Evil of Evils contains sixty-seven short chapters that will sensitize your conscience and make you want to choose affliction rather than sin. Difficult to find a copy of this today but you can download a pdf here.

5. Keeping the Heart: How to maintain your love for God by John Flavel

A timeless book on maintaining union and fellowship with God as the ultimate bulwark against sin.

6. The Mischief of Sin by Thomas Watson

Watson: “My design in this small treatise is to give check to sinners and sound a pious retreat in their ears, to make them return from hot pursuit of their impieties.”

7. Sinfulness of Sin by Ralph Venning

First published in the aftermath of the Great Plague of London and entitled Sin, The Plague of Plagues, this book gives a crystal-clear explanation of what sin is, why it is so serious, and what we need to do about it. Here is reliable medicine for a fatal epidemic.

8. Sin The Greatest Evil by Samuel Bolton 

Three titles in this book, each of them looking at how a sinner is converted. (1) Sin: The Greatest Evil, (2) The Conversion of a Sinner, (3) The One Thing Necessary.

9. The Jerusalem Sinner Saved; or, Good News for the Vilest of Men by John Bunyan

A hope-filled book for sinners as the title says, “Good News for the Vilest of Men.”

10. The Anatomy of Secret Sins by Obadiah Sedgwick

Reader Suggestions

Any other Puritan works you’d recommend on this subject? Leave a note in the comments and I’ll add them here.

The Mystery of Selfedeceiving; Or, a Discourse and Discovery of the Deceitfulnesse of Mansheart by Daniel Dyke.

Instructions About Heart-work, and a Companion for Prayer by Richard Alleine

A Treatise on Satan’s Temptations by Richard Gilpin.



  • Daniel S.

    Dr. Murray, I wasn’t able to download the PDF for the Evil of Evils on the link you provided. Have you successfully downloaded it? Thanks, Daniel.

  • Changolote

    Preached a series based off what I gleaned from Brooks’ “Precious Remedies…” I don’t know about the congregation, but it did me a lot of good.

  • Jeff Downs

    A few more titles: The Anatomy of Secret Sins, Obadiah Sedgwick; A Treatise on Satan’s Temptations. Richard Gilpin; The Mystery of Self-Deceiving. Daniel Dyke; Instructions about Heartwork. Richard Alleine.

    • David Murray

      Thanks Jeff. I’ll add these to the list under Reader suggestions.


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  • Susan Keuning

    Greetings Dr. Murray, it’s really too bad that all recommended books are being referred to Amazon, when there are two struggling Reformed book stores, namely Reformed Heritage Books in the USA and Reformed Book Services in Canada that are certainly more worthy of business than Amazon. Is there any possibility of your blog mentioning these book stores as a reference for books? Your kind consideration of this is highly valued. Susan

    • David Murray

      Hi Susan. I think this is the first time I’ve ever heard from you regarding my blog. I hope it does some good as well.

      I do regularly link to RHB. I never thought of Reformed Book Services, but I will try to remember to link there more regularly. The main reasons I link to Amazon are:

      1. Ease of searching for and finding books.
      2. Kindle deals exclusive to Amazon.
      3. I receive a small percentage of any sales which helps towards the significant costs of running my blog and paying for past and future film projects.