Sometimes a short question can lead to a profoundly life-changing answer.
Take the question, “What is God?” I can’t think of a more important question to ask.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism gives a succinct but rich answer: “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.” It’s one of those answers that almost anyone can understand, but we’ll spend eternity learning the truths contained in this short, simple sentence.
In Understanding and Trusting Our Great God, Tim Challies helps us consider the character of God as outlined by the Catechism. “To know God is to love him, and to love him is to have our hearts thrilled by him,” he writes. Challies has collected a series of quotes from a variety of writers, preachers, songwriters, and poets. Jules Koblun has created graphics, similar to those found at SquareQuotes. As you work through the book, you get to enjoy the graphics and read a brief meditation on each quote.
I’ve done enough writing to realize how much work is done in finding and arranging quotes on a subject, and then writing a meditation on each one. Designing graphics can also be challenging. This is the kind of book that looks deceptively simple, but there’s a lot more there than you may realize at first.
This is probably not the kind of book that you’ll read cover-to-cover. It’s the kind of book you’d leave on the coffee table to flip through and enjoy.
Here’s what I like about this book.
- It’s beautiful. I grew up when not many Christian books were beautiful, which makes me appreciate beautiful books like this one even more. You’ll want to read this book just because it looks so good.
- It’s bite-sized. You don’t have to read a whole chapter. You don’t even have to read Tim’s reflections on the quote if you don’t want to at that moment. You can just read the quote contained in the graphic if you’d like.
- It’s profound. The truths contained in this book are powerful. No fluff. Lots of substance. Each page gives you enough to think on — meditate — for some time.
J.I. Packer wrote his classic book Knowing God. I recommend you read it. It’s an accessible book, but it will take a bit of work. It’s worth it. You will be richly rewarded.
Challies has written Understanding and Trusting Our Great God. It’s also a book with great thoughts about God, but it’s packaged differently. That packaging just may help people pick up this book more regularly.
Get it. Put it on your desk or beside your couch. Flip through it in idle moments. Give it as a gift. If you want to know, love, and be thrilled by God, this book will help you, and you’ll enjoy it too.
(See also my review of their earlier book Knowing and Enjoying God, which is also worth getting.)