When it comes to preaching the gospel to oneself we need more not less help. To preach the gospel to ourselves is to apply the truth of the Bible to ourselves by the grace of God. This is an important discipline, one that I’ve found to be vital to my own Christian life and growth. Joe Thorn’s last book Note to Self, helped me tremendously in this regard, and so when I heard his new book Experiencing the Trinity was coming out, I was equally excited.
Joe’s writing is marked by his personal experience with the subject of the Trinity. He writes as a pastor-theologian. His book was borne out of a time when he was struggling in his life. The struggle as it turned out was from a lack of rest (16). The cure for Joe was the help of godly counselors and helpful doctors.
Experiencing the Trinity is a collection he says of, “fifty daily readings that reflect on God and the gospel and how they overcome our fear, failure, pain and unbelief” (18). To this end the book has three parts all aimed at experiential Trinitarian theology. Part one looks at God the Father. Part two considers God the Son, and part three God the Holy Spirit. Each chapter is only a few pages long so you could read this book as a devotional or read straight through it. I don’t recommend reading this book straight-through. I also don’t recommend reading more than five chapters a day. Take it slow through this book and you’ll find that Joe’s biblical and experiential theology will provide you with the solid footing you need to preach the gospel to yourself.
William Farley in his most recent book Hidden in the Gospel: Truths You Forgot To Tell Yourself Every Day on preaching the gospel to yourself noted that in order to preach the gospel to ourselves, our theology needs to be developed and to be deepening from the Word of God. This is the spirit in which Joe’s book is written and his focus is on helping those facing real issues in life. As Joe states at the opening of his book, “What I have written here, I have primarily written for and to myself” (13). The truth we most want others to hear is the truth we also need to hear. As with Joe’s other book Note to Self, Experiencing the Trinity is an excellent treatment on the doctrine of the Trinity with a view to apply this doctrine to his own life and to the people of God.
Maybe you’ve read a pile full of systematic theology books like I have, or perhaps not. Either way, this book will help you. First, it will help you to understand in short easy to digest chapters the doctrine of the Trinity and why it’s important to our lives today. Second, this book will help feed your soul with the Word of God. This book will be a boon to those who are struggling with burnout and other associated issues like anxiety, fear, and so on.
As I read this book, I was helped tremendously by Joe’s emphasis on God and His work in our lives. For example he notes when writing about the holiness of God, “The less you are gripped with God’s holiness, the less awe you will experience in your faith. A truer sight of his holiness will give you a truer sight of your corruptions. And it is only as you see both of these realities that you will find his mercy extended toward you in Jesus Christ to be soul-satisfying and worship-inspiring. Awe of God process from knowing and experience his holiness—his otherness” (24). Furthermore, he aptly comments, “The holiness of God lifts the soul in worship, for holiness is the sum of all he is” (24).
Experiencing the Trinity is an excellent and helpful book. The best practical theology is done out of the furnace of affliction and struggle. Joe models for Christians how to biblically communicate their struggles with a view to faithfulness with the Word of God. I highly recommend this book and pray the Lord would powerfully use it to help those struggling with fear, anxiety, and many other issues.