5 Little Books on the Doctrine of God
Dr. Sproul discovered this at an early point in his Christian life and made it the mission of his life and ministry to make this doctrine known. In this modern classic, he presents us with the God who is worthy to be worshipped and known.
"The one concept, the central idea I kept meeting in Scripture, was the idea that God is holy. .. I am convinced that it is one of the most important ideas that a Christian can ever grapple with. It is basic to our whole understanding of God and of Christianity." - RC Sproul, The Holiness of God, p. 16.
2. The Knowledge of the Holy by AW Tozer
The subtitle of Tozer's classic work is "The Attributes of God: Their Meaning in the Christian Life." And man, does he deliver. He packs more into this little book about God than you've ever thought, imagined, or known.
He begins with why we must think rightly about God and then unpacks the Christian claims about God: His Triunity, self-existence, immutability, faithfulness, justice, mercy, and more.
Where Sproul zeroes in on the Holiness of God, Tozer provides an introduction to a full orbed discussion of God and His attributes. You will be introduced to a lot of big, theological words in a very accessible and devotional way. Nearly every sentence is quotable. And what's more, this book will bring you to God in worship.
"No man with a trace of humility would first think that he is a friend of God; but the idea did not originate with men. Abraham would never have said, 'I am God's friend,' but God Himself said that Abraham was His friend."
- AW Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, p. 106
3. Experiencing the Trinity by Joe Thorn
140 pages. Small pages.
This is the most accessible and readable little book on this list.
In three parts, mapping onto God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and 50 short chapters, Thorn unpacks knowing the God of the Bible personally.
What's fascinating is that this little book is a demonstration of how the doctrine of God as Trinity is a segue to nearly every doctrine of the Bible. Read it and see why!
"The darkness in life is often very thick. Sometimes pain, confusion, and doubt overwhelm your spirit so that you can almost feel the darkness. It seems closer to you than God. This is when you must know, really know, the character of God." - Joe Thorn, Experiencing the Trinity, p. 48
4. The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink
Pink was a solitary theologian during difficult times in Britain. His style was pointed and challenging but many devout Christians found his writings his helpful during an era when orthodox, hard-thinking doctrine was not in vogue.
This little volume is an example of his labors in expounding the doctrine of God for God's people. It is similar to Tozer's book, but different in style and approach. He takes each of the attributes of God in turn and unpacks them.
His vision of God is awe-some, massive, immense, and mighty. He pulls no punches in setting forth the supremacy and sovereignty of the God of the Bible.
"The 'god' of this Twentieth century no more resembles the supreme sovereign of holy writ then does the dim flickering of a candle the glory of the midday sun.... A "god" whose will is resisted, whose designs are frustrated, whose purpose is checkmated, possesses no title to Deity, and so far from being a fit object of worship, merits not but contempt."
- AW Pink, The Attributes of God, p. 28-29
5. Making Sense of the Trinity: Three Crucial Questions by Millard J. Erickson
This book, though short, begins to take us into deeper waters. Erickson, the author of an important systematics "big" book, tackles three questions:
Is the doctrine of the Trinity biblical?
Does the doctrine of the Trinity make sense?
Does the doctrine of the Trinity make any difference?
In these three chapters, you will see how a systematic theologian (see here and here) wrestles with theological questions and arrives at an organized answer to those questions. You'll come to understand more fully how the Christian church arrived at Trinitarian language and why that matters.
"In a sense, the question is not whether this doctrine of the Trinity is relevant to me; it Is whether I am relevant to it and to God. If God truly is almighty, then His purposes in the world will be accomplished, and it is I must decide whether I want to be apart of that. And since God is a Triune God, part of what I must decide to align myself with is His character. If, however, I decide not to, it is not God who will be the loser, but I."
- Millard Erickson, Making Sense of the Trinity, p. 72
6. The Shadow of the Almighty: Father, Son, and Spirit in Biblical Perspective by Ben Witherington III and Laura M. Ice.
What? A sixth book on a 5-book list? Yep. This is an extra and definitely a "stretch" book. This volume is the most demanding on the list but it will introduce you to a number of issues in biblical interpretation and theology. The vocabulary and conceptual level here is tougher than any of the above, however you'll get to see how biblical scholars approach, and at greater biblical depth, the questions posed by Erickson in his book above.
Ben Witherington III is one of the best New Testament scholars today, and this is a great way to get into his work. In this book, along with co-author Laura Ice, he demonstrates why we worship and know a God who is Triune, from the New Testament texts, context, and backgrounds.
This book will make you think. And you learn a lot of valuable things about the New Testament along the way.
"Neither Jesus nor the NT writers say what they do about God the Father because of what they know to be best or true about human fathers. Their discussion is grounded in a particular set of historical relationships: (1) the relationship of Jesus with God; (2) the relationships of early Christians with God made possible by Jesus and enabled by the Holy Spirit. The Father is seen through the eyes of the Son and on the basis of his teaching (both verbal and buy his life example)."
- Ben Witherington III and Laura M. Ice, The Shadow of the Almighty, p. 63-64