Summary of Christian Doctrine

Louis Berkhof, a former president of Calvin Theological Seminary, published this overview of systematic theology in 1938. He wrote it for high school students.

It is actually a summary of a summary. His first set of books was Reformed Dogmatics which he later updated and published as his exhaustive Systematic Theology.

He then summarized that first work into A Manual of Reformed Theology (available as PDF). Some friends asked him if he would shrink that down for students, so he produced this little work. It’s one of the best summaries of Christian theology from a Reformed perspective.

You can either access the Summary of Christian Doctrine as a PDF or you can read it on this site. The chapters are linked below:


  1. Religion
  2. Revelation
  3. Scripture

The Doctrine of God and Creation

  1. The Essential Nature of God
  2. The Names of God
  3. The Attributes of God
  4. The Trinity
  5. The Divine Decrees
  6. Creation
  7. Providence

The Doctrine of Man in Relation to God

  1. Man in His Original State
  2. Man in the State of Sin
  3. Man in the Covenant of Grace

The Doctrine of the Person and Work of Christ

  1. The Names and Nature of Christ
  2. The States of Christ
  3. The Offices of Christ
  4. The Atonement Through Christ

The Doctrine of the Application of the Work of Redemption

  1. The Common Operation of the Holy Spirit: Common Grace
  2. Calling and Regeneration
  3. Conversion: Repentance and Faith
  4. Justification
  5. Sanctification and Perseverance

The Doctrine of the Church and the Means of Grace

  1. Nature Of The Church
  2. The Government And Power Of The Church
  3. The Word Of God And The Sacraments In General
  4. Christian Baptism
  5. The Lord’s Supper

The Doctrine Of The Last Things

  1. Physical Death And The Intermediate State
  2. The Second Coming Of Christ
  3. The Resurrection, The Last Judgment And The Final State