This is the first of many Study Bursts I hope to share. Study Bursts provide lists of resources for those who may wish to do further research on topics I’ve written about on my site. They are collections based on some of the resources I used when I researched a topic relating to marriage, apologetics, or any area of the Christian faith. The name, Study Burst, is a jocular tribute to my practice of researching topics with a burst of browser tabs, opening one after the other till half of the internet is sitting on my screen! It is my hope that sharing these lists aids my sisters in Christ who might wish to do similar studies. Also, they will be here for me too when I need them again.
The Doctrine of Justification
I recently posted Reformation Day and the Doctrine of Justification and Studying the Doctrine of Justification. Though I had studied justification in-depth in the past, I did some fresh research while writing these posts. Some of the resources I used are below along with others that can come in handy for this type of work. This burst will hopefully help you quickly find some relevant sources if you plan on studying justification. Google, of course, could provide many more.
Studying the Bible is the best way to learn about justification. I am persuaded that the Bible and the work of the Holy Spirit are all one needs to learn the truth about this glorious doctrine.
Please use a good word-for-word translation like the NASB, ESV, or KJV. Bibles that do not consistently translate the Greek word for justification and its variants with appropriate English words will make it hard if not impossible to study justification well. One version that is guilty of this and that I do not recommend is The Message. Please see Analysis of the Message Bible: Justification and Sanctification for more information on why this version should be avoided.
Please see Studying the Doctrine of Justification for suggestions on how to employ the Bible for this work.
Protestant and Catholic Sources
Below are some of the additional sources I utilized recently (and in the past) while writing the above posts on Reformation Day and the doctrine of justification. Sources other than the Bible can be helpful for many reasons, but please only consult them if you are well prepared to test them by the Bible. Pray for discernment and work carefully.
If you are Protestant or a non-denominational Christian that has the same belief that justification is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, the Protestant sources below can help you understand your faith better. There are many other good books and articles on this topic. Below is just a very small sampling.
While I ascribe to the Protestant/Evangelical view of justification, I have included links to Catholic sources as well. I’ve included them because I’ve learned that studying an opposing view can be a great way to learn more and sharpen your own beliefs. Additionally, studying them will help demonstrate why the Reformation happened and why we must still maintain a respectful degree of separation. Lastly, it can also help to prepare us to give a defense for the hope that is in us. (1 Peter 3:15)
I believe firmly in going to the source. Let each side define their own position. This way you can understand it correctly and spot any misrepresentation of beliefs given by either side. It does happen sometimes. Consulting official Catholic Church sources directly is the best way to minimize misunderstanding about what the Church teaches. Additionally, it can help identify incomplete or erroneous information from lay Catholic sources.
Be careful to look at the whole picture when it comes to the teaching of justification. While some portions of the Catholic view might seem similar to the Protestant view, taking all that the Catholic Church teaches about salvation into consideration including justification, baptism, penance, purgatory, and more reveals the differences. Also, pay close attention to the meaning of words like grace and faith given by each to see if it is the same.
Imputed righteousness Theopedia
Justification: Infused or Imputed Righteousness? (In Honor of the 496th Reformation Day) Reformed Baptist Daily
Justification by Faith Grace to You
Justification by Faith Alone: Martin Luther and Romans 1:17 Ligonier Ministries
By Grace Alone Through Faith Alone Ligonier Ministries
What is justification? What does it mean to be justified? Got Questions Ministries
Why is justification by faith such an important doctrine? Got Questions Ministries
The Roman Catholic Teaching on Salvation and Justification Christian Resources
The Roman Catholic view on justification Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry
Justification By Faith: Catholic and Protestant Views UK Apologetics
Justification Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Dictionary
Justification, Theology of Catholic Dictionary, CatholicCulture.org
Justification The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent
Article 2: Grace and Justification Catechism of the Catholic Church, vatican.va
United States Catholic Catechism for Adults: Grace and Justification United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Council of Trent Session VI thecounciloftrent.com
Justification: Process or One-Time Deal? Catholic Answers
From “Sola Fide” to “Plena Fides”: Justification and the Catholic Faith The Coming Home Network
Desire, Justification, and Salvation at the Council of Trent Catholicism.org
This is a very short list of some of the books that I have found helpful for this work. A quick Google search will provide you with many more.
Studies in the Atonement Dr. Robert A. Morey
Systematic Theology, Vol 3 Charles Hodge
The Gospel According to Rome James G. McCarthy
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic David Currie
John Calvin’s Commentaries
Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible
John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
The MacArthur Bible Commentary