Last month, I started Tim Challies 2019 Christian Reading Challenge. I am currently five books in and chronicling my journey here at The Reformed Millennial. If you want to join me, follow this link to get the reading list, then let me know on Twitter that you’re doing the challenge!
Category: A book about Christian living
Title: Experiencing the Trinity: The Grace of God for the People of God
Author: Joe Thorn
First off, I need to give a little shoutout to Joe Thorn, because he is the podcast wife to Jimmy Fowler on Doctrine and Devotion, which is my favorite podcast exploring Christian faith and practice from a Reformed Baptist perspective. Seriously, give them a listen. They’re hilarious and they are currently working through the 1689 Confession every Monday. They also put out blog posts and video content (when available).
Now, Joe Thorn’s book is a collection of devotionals that focuses in on the three persons of the Trinity. It’s divided into three sections - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. In each one, Joe takes a truth from Scripture about one of the persons of the Trinity and meditates on it, drawing out doctrine and application along the way. It’s uniquely written, in that Thorn is writing directly to the reader.
I mentioned above that this book is unique because Thorn is writing directly to the reader. This adds an intimate touch that helps bring home some of the truths Thorn is writing about. Along with that, Thorn shares very transparently about some of his own struggles in the faith. He doesn’t sugar coat them, but explains how they lead him to a deeper relationship with our Triune God. He does this in the introduction, so don’t skip over this. Knowing that the insights in this book were drawn out of real life experiences helped them resonate on a much deeper level.
It’s deeply theological
Although this book is a devotional, it isn’t shallow or corny. Each chapter deals with a deep truth about God. For example, chapter 14 is on the discipline of the Father. Can you remember the last time you read a devotional about God’s chastening? I can’t, because I don’t think I ever have. But Thorn takes that topic and draws out comforting truths from it.
It’s incredibly encouraging
Thorn strikes a nice balance in this work by not compromising on either theological depth or practical truth. I found myself encouraged by each chapter as Thorn talked about the provision of the Father, the love of the Son, and the comfort of the Spirit. If you’re going through a rough season, this book will help you slow down and meditate on the glory of our God.
In the chapter on God’s holiness, Thorn says this: “The holiness of God lifts the soul in worship, for holiness is the sum of all he is.” I’m not a huge fan of that last statement, because it can lead to the idea that holiness is an attribute of God that is elevated above all his other attributes. This would jeopardize the doctrine of divine simplicity. However, I don’t want to be too harsh on this point, because from what I know of Thorn, he upholds the doctrine of divine simplicity. So I might be reading too much into his statement. T
This isn’t a dislike that is Thorn’s fault, but due to the nature of the book, it doesn’t lend well to reading straight through. If I hadn’t been reading this for the reading challenge, I would have taken it much slower. in fact, if you want to read this book (and I hope you do), I would recommend reading a chapter or two each day alongside your daily Bible reading. That will give you more time to digest the content.
“Take this to heart: you are weak, but your God is not.” (page 24)
“There is never a moment of your day when God is inactive. He is there and he is involved.” (page 33)
“He is in fact so slow to anger that you have never once faced his divine justice for even one of your sins.” (page 40)
“The same Spirit that empowered Jesus when he was tempted empowers you. He is present and powerful in you.” (page 112)
Go buy this book and add it to your daily routine. The chapters are short, so you can knock them out in a couple minutes. Work through it slowly and use it to better understand the God that we worship. And add Doctrine and Devotion to your podcast list - you won’t regret it. Joe Thorn is an awesome dude who loves the Lord and loves to talk about theology with Jimmy Fowler.
As always, I’d love to hear from you! If you have any comments or questions, let me know in the comment section below, or hit me up on Twitter @1689millennial! I just started book #6 for the challenge - a book with at least 400 pages. I’m reading Reformed Preaching by Joel Beeke. Look for the review in about two weeks! Until then, hit that subscribe button below to get these updates delivered right to your inbox!