Gerald Bray offers the latest installment in the Short Studies in Systematic Theology Series by Crossway Books. The series is designed to introduce readers to a specific theological subject and equip the next generation of Christian leaders. The great strength of this series is brevity. Readers are able to spend a short amount of time and receive maximum benefit from the top-notch scholars in this series.
Bray’s work, The Attributes of God: An Introduction, provides an overview of God’s attributes and drills down into two attributes in particular – God’s essential attributes and God’s relational attributes. Essential attributes, what theologians like Louis Berkhof refers to as “incommunicable attributes,” include simplicity, incorporeality, invisibility, aseity, infinity, omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, impassibility, immutability, and eternity – to name a few. The author shows how these attributes are grounded in Scripture and how they are expounded in church history.
God’s relational attributes (or communicable attributes) include attributes such as righteousness, holiness, goodness, mercy, and love – to name a few. Again, Bray links these attributes to Scripture and shows how they are taught in church history.
The author wraps up his discussion with a thoughtful chapter that reveals how relevant this subject truly is. Bray adds, “The all-important distinction between God’s essential attributes and his relational ones is the key to understanding how God can understand our suffering and at the same time be able to rescue us from it. God’s eternity and his immutability are necessary for us to have assurance of our salvation.”
Readers will benefit from reading this work and the other offerings in the Short Studies in Systematic Theology Series. It will be a small step in the right direction as they seek to grow deeper in grace and build a strong edifice of knowledge for a lifetime of ministry.