Recommended Reading

Quite often I’m asked to recommend books on the doctrine of the Trinity. Rather than continually repeat myself I’ve decided to catalog my recommendations here. This page will also allow me to update my recommendations as I read new books on the Trinity. The present list as of Nov. 12, 2013 looks quite a  bit different than the original list posted in July 9, 2010.

I have also included links to all of my reviews of books on the Trinity. There may be books that I wouldn’t personally recommend that others might find useful nonetheless, so you’re welcome to read my reviews and see if that proves to be the case.

Recommendations

  • Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine by Michael Reeves. I have yet to come across a book that does as good of a job at introducing complex subject matter in the most accessible way possible as this book. Reeves’ treatment of the Trinity is really an exposition of 1 John 4:8, which states that “God is love,” and it’s a fine one at that. I’d love to get this into the hands of every person interested in the Trinity.
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  • The Tripersonal God: Understanding and Interpreting the Trinity by Gerald O’Collins. This is a great book that will serve as a good introduction for anyone, as it is very engaging and easy to read. O’Collins covers the Scriptural roots of the doctrine before describing its historical developments, and finally contemporary thinking on the subject.
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  • The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything by Fred Sanders. Sanders’ book is one of the finest treatments, if not the finest treatment, of Trinitarian epistemology in print. With unmatched wit and insight Sanders is able to show the reader how they’ve probably believed more about the Trinity than they’ve ever realized and just why that matters. He also introduces unsuspecting readers to Evangelicalism’s rich Trinitarian heritage, which is often eclipsed by other Evangelical emphases.
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  • The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship by Robert Letham. This book is as comprehensive as you can get in 500 pages. Letham covers just about everything you can hope for in his examination of the Trinity. From the Scriptures to the Church fathers to modern theologians, almost no stone is left unturned. Letham tackles everything O’Collins does but in greater detail and from a Reformed perspective with leanings toward Orthodoxy. I always recommend this one for intermediate readers. Hands down my favorite book on the subject. I find myself returning to this one more than any other.
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  • Which Trinity? Whose Monotheism? by Thomas H. McCall. There are very interesting things being said about the Trinity among analytic theologians (i.e., philosophers of religion in the analytic tradition) but the things they’re saying seem alien to those accustomed to the conversations being had among systematic theologians. McCall expertly helps to introduce readers to what’s being said on all sides and navigate them through some of the more important debates being had.
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  • Early Christian Doctrines by J.N.D. Kelly. Kelly is one of the finest historians on the early Church fathers that I have ever read. If you can’t read the fathers for yourself, then read Kelly. This volume lays out what the most important early thinkers thought about God and Christ in vivid detail without seeming overwrought.
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  • A Brief History of the Doctrine of the Trinity in the Early Church by Franz Dünzl. This is definitely one of my favorite historical books on the development of Trinitarian doctrine. Dünzl’s survey is brief but focused. It’s probably the best introduction one can get their hands on (at least that I have read) concerning the history of the doctrine in the fourth century.
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  • The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318-381 by R.P.C. Hanson is a must. Hands down this is the most comprehensive study of the time period that led up to the formal creedal affirmation of the Trinity. Although written well before Dünzl’s volume, this is a great place to pick up where Dünzl left off, as Hanson looks at the history of the doctrine in painstaking detail and isn’t afraid to challenge a few traditional beliefs about the events along the way.
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  • .Nicaea and Its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology by Lewis Ayres. Ayres is part of a new school of patristic scholars that is seeking to retell the story of the development of Trinitarian doctrine via careful inductive studies of primary patristic texts. Not content to simply regurgitate the common narrative, Ayres challenges much of the scholarship that has come before him.

Reviews

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