Sources for the Study of the Doctrine of God

The whole idea of a doctrinal study is to stay with the teaching of the word of God. However, that does not prevent us from having teachers that can point out and develop what the Bible teaches. This, of course, means reading and studying most teachers through their books. What follows are some of the books that are available on the subject. They all have their strong and weak points.

  1. The Existence and Attributes of God , is a two-volume work of over 1100 pages, written by the Puritan preacher Stephen Charnock (1628-1680). It is a major classic on the doctrine of God though it would be considered cumbersome by most modern readers. It contains much good thought. If you are willing to push on through the wordy prose, you will find many riches.
  2. The Doctrine of God is written by Herman Bavinck (1854-1921), a Dutch Reformed theologian. Its translation into English by William Hendriksen is a very helpful work. Bavinck sometimes spends too much effort on a discussion of different historical teachings, but usually comes back to biblical teaching.
  3. The Doctrine of God: A Theology of Lordship by John M. Frame is a book of over 800 pages. It is a very rich and readable doctrinal book on God. Unfortunately, in trying to give a fresh and somewhat original approach to the doctrine of God, Frame leans again on Reformed theology and is sometimes confusing in his organization.
  4. The First Fundamental: God , later published as The God of the Bible, is by Robert P. Lightner. This is a basic, though uninspiring, introduction to the doctrine of God.
  5. Knowing God is by J. I. Packer. This book is both doctrinal and practical. The reader learns much about God but is also encouraged to draw closer to God. This is a great first book about God and is highly recommended. Be prepared for some Calvinistic teaching; a trait of most of these books.
  6. The Knowledge of the Holy is by A. W. Tozer. This book is highly recommended as a first book on the doctrine of God. It is shorter and more simply written than the book by Packer. It is also highly practical and devotional. This is a book for every believer. Also by Tozer are The Attributes of God: Volumes One and Two and The Pursuit of God.  One warning about Tozer: he often leans heavily toward Christian mystics and seems to be greatly influenced by Roman Catholic mysticism.
  7. The God Who Is There and He is There and He is Not Silent are by Francis A. Schaeffer. These books are for those with a more philosophical bent. They are unnecessary for the person who easily believes in God. However, for those who struggle with the concept and reality of God and especially those influenced by modern philosophies, these books are an excellent introduction about how to think about God.
  8. The God You Can Know is by Dan DeHaan. This is a refreshing approach to the spiritual importance of knowing God. This book is a joy to read and has many quotable thoughts and illustrations. It was published in 1982, the same year Dan DeHaan died an accidental death. The book is highly recommended.
  9. The Trivialization of God: The Dangerous Illusion of a Manageable Deity is by Donald W. McCullough. This is an interesting and helpful exposition of what has happened to the doctrine of God in the modern churches and how this has destroyed the power of the churches. Unfortunately, McCullough leans toward liberal thought and most often quotes from liberal theologians.
  10. The Names of God is by Nathan Stone. This is a classic study in the Old Testament names of God. This book illustrates what kind of blessings can be gained from a serious study of the various names of God.
  11. The Trinity or, its earlier title, The Rock of Ages, is by Edward Henry Bickersteth. This is an earlier but excellent defense of the trinity. This book is especially valuable for the side-by-side scriptures comparing the attributes of the Father with those of the Son. It is difficult to understand how anyone claiming to believe the Bible could question the deity of Christ after carefully reading this book.
  12. Multi-volume theological works that have excellent sections on the doctrine of God include Systematic Theology by Lewis Sperry Chafer and Dogmatic Theology by William G. T. Shedd. Chafer’s work is probably the most doctrinally correct of the multi-volume theologies. Unfortunately, his style of writing is labored and dry. Shedd has some challenging thoughts, but he develops his thought far too much from human reasoning and philosophy.
  13. The Case for a Creator is by Lee Strobel. This is a recent book looking at the evidences for the Creator/God. There are many similar books that can be helpful.
  14. Creating God in the Image of Man? is by Norman L. Geisler. This is an excellent refutation of the “open view” of God. This modern teaching proposes that God is changing and does not know the future with any absolute certainty.

Of the making of books there is no end. Therefore, this is only a sampling of what is available. However, this may give some direction for those who want to go further than what is provided in this volume.

David Reagan

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 17:22

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.