If asked, “Who is God?” how would you respond? It seems that every person has an opinion about who God is (or is not), yet few can put those conceptions into words. Many people think that they know who God is, but when putting it into words their descriptions often fall flat. This is because most people’s descriptions border on the mystical and lack any real content or definition. These lack of descriptions underscore the necessity for solid theological underpinnings in the development of our faith. More so, they shine a light on the need for doctrinal teaching that is concise and understandable without minimizing the importance and integrity of the doctrine of God.
As both a pastor at Faith Vancouver Church (British Columbia) and lecturer at various seminaries, Dr. Mark Jones is well-equipped to both teach and write. His position as a reacher associate ensures that his treatment of a topic is thorough. Therefore, with the release of his book God Is, readers expect a book that is clear both in content and communication and Jones delivers. While many books exist on the doctrine of God, their sheer size acts as a sufficient deterrent for many people, despite the treasury of Scripture interpretation they may contain. Therefore, Dr. Mark Jones has attempted to put together a book that is brief, simple, and clear with the hopes that readers will be inclined to read a shorter work in order to know their God more intimately. However, he does not hope to give information about God but takes it further by desiring to apply God’s attributes to everyday life.
The author’s layout says much about the nature of the book. Each of the 26 chapters deals with an individual attribute of God, but each of those chapters has the same format. First, Jones lays out the doctrine explaining the nuances of the particular attribute being addressed and how it is manifested by God. The second area is unique in that Jones then looks at the doctrine with a Christological lens, demonstrating the how, the why, and the necessity of each specific character by seeing it revealed through the Lord Jesus Christ. Following this unique analysis is a section that addresses the practical aspects of each doctrine with a simple annotation of how the doctrine impacts the Christian life. As a result of this layout, the author does something that is both integral to Christian growth but is often overlooked by pastors and teachers alike: he bridges the gap between doctrine and duty, showing that not only does doctrine matter, but it has a great impact upon how Christians behave, react, and live on a daily basis.
Dr. Jones does not avoid the difficult attributes addressing concepts such as God’s anger and judgment. However, he also brings forth His love and grace so that readers can see how the Lord’s attributes are not independent of one another, but rather are complicit to work together. Therefore, with the author’s easy-to-read style, heavy application, and ability to bring in other notable voices, readers will find a book that is enthralling and moving.
Not wanting to take away from the extraordinary work that Mark Jones has put forth God Is, the inclusion of two additional parts would prove beneficial. The first is that each chapter would benefit from a listing of cross-references that readers could consult and utilize in their personal study. The second is perhaps some thought-provoking questions, not as a study-guide for group study, but for personal reflection, so that readers would be compelled to look more deeply at the importance of the information provided. It does not detract from the book to not have these additional aspects, however, future editions may benefit from their inclusion.
Dr. Mark Jones has provided a book for Christians to dwell upon, learn from, and live from. While impossible to include every detail about who God is, he has done well at being comprehensive while being concise in such a way to move each reader more towards holiness. He elevates God in such a way that he is real and knowable. Therefore, God Is is a worthwhile read for believers.
To purchase a copy of God Is by Dr. Mark Jones, click here.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book at no charge from the publisher for the purposes of review. However, my review was not influenced in any way by the publisher, the author, or any others associated with this book. Instead, it is the result and response of my own reading of the book.