The church I serve in has begun a ten-week sermon series called “Knowing God.” We will look at the nature, attributes, and character of the Triune God. I promised the congregation that I would write a blog suggesting some good books to read on this series. I thought I would share my list with you too.
An Aside for Theology Nerds
Usually, I preach through books of the Bible, or large chunks of the Bible, going verse-by-verse through the text. If you want to be a theological nerd, then the type of preaching which we mainly do at Messiah is called “expository preaching.”
However, in this new series, the preaching will be verse-with-verse or “topical.” It is possible to do an expository sermon on “The Trinity.” But I think that to be able to understand the doctrine, it is more helpful to look at several verses in different parts of the Bible. The nature, attributes, and character of God is a perfect example of when a verse-with-verse method is helpful.
How I Chose My List
An Annotated List
In no particular order:
1. Michael Reeves, “Delighting in the Trinity.” This book is simple in the good way that writers like C.S. Lewis wrote in a simple manner. The book is winsome, has wit, and if you like underlining a good passage to think about some more, you will have lots of underlined passages.
2. J. I. Packer, “Knowing God” and “Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God.” If you only have the time and energy to read one or two of the books on my list, then I would recommend these two. “Knowing God” was first written in 1973 and has come out in many new editions ever since. It is not unusual to meet someone who re-reads this book every year – in fact I did this for about the first 5 or 6 years after I first read it, and I still re-read it every couple of years. The other book, “Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God,” was first written in 1961, and has been reprinted many times. This book helps you think about God’s sovereignty and related ideas like “predestination” and “election” in a way that makes you want to worship Him and to share the gospel!
3. Fred Sanders, “The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything.” The first two authors are Anglicans. This author is with the “Evangelical Free Church.” A good, solid, interesting and helpful book.
4. Michael Horton, “Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines For Christian Disciples.” This book is a simpler version of his magisterial book on systematic theology, “The Christian Faith.” A book on systematic theology will of course explain the nature, character, and attributes of God, but will also show you how those doctrines connect to a wide range of other doctrines like soteriology (how to think about salvation), ecclesiology (how to think about the church) and many other “ologies.” The author is from a conservative (orthodox) Presbyterian denomination in the U.S..
5. Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, “Handbook of Christian Apologetics.” As the title indicates, this is a book about apologetics, not theology or “christian living.” However, apologetics both explains the Christian faith and then defends the faith from its detractors. So this is a book to read about the Christian understanding of God in light of the classic errors made and the classic attacks launched against the faith. The authors are both Roman Catholics. They provide a great, concise book on historic apologetics issues from a “mere christianity” perspective.