A Book Review from Books At a Glance
by Kristin Stiles
In the preface to his classic book, The Attributes of God, A.W. Pink says, “An unknown God can neither be trusted, served, nor worshipped.” This is not only true for adults but for children as well. The writings of Pink would go way over the heads of most pre-adolescents, but thankfully, Jill Nelson has provided a book with the same goal: to define the attributes of God and to explain why they are so important to us at any age.
Nelson explores 24 attributes of God. These include describing God as incomprehensible, eternal, glorious, sovereign, self-sufficient, omniscient, righteous, wrathful, merciful, holy, and worthy. Each chapter covers four pages and follows a specific pattern. Nelson begins by presenting an aspect of everyday life–birthdays, contests, travel, chores—and asks, “have you ever. . .?” This immediately brings to mind experiences that a child has faced or at least considered. She then presents God’s perspective and how He relates to that experience or situation based on His character. This is always accompanied by scripture that speaks directly to the attribute being highlighted. At this point, Nelson formally introduces the term for the attribute with a simple definition and further clarification. Next, in most of the chapters, she will take a familiar Biblical account where this attribute was on display and briefly share that. Finally, she provides a section called “Learning to Trust God” which consists of two points of discussion/application and one hands-on activity.
Each chapter contains many questions for the parent to engage the child. This book is not intended to be just read to the child, but instead, it is to be a springboard for discussion. In the introduction, Nelson exhorts the parents to go through the lessons slowly and deliberately – perhaps only covering one chapter per week. While the text is written at an upper elementary reading level, Nelson acknowledges that parents may still need to explain vocabulary and concepts to a child who might need help with comprehending the text. She recommends that the children memorize some of the verses that are provided and that they complete the application activities. She also stresses the importance of prayer. All the theological teaching in the world is in vain if the Holy Spirit does not use it to save and grow the child.
This is an excellent resource for families and also for Sunday School and homeschool teachers. I appreciate the wide variety of attributes that are covered, and I think they are presented in a way that is very accessible to children and will truly help them to know God better.
Kristin Stiles is a home-school mom, a Sunday School teacher, and helps lead the “Young, Reading, & Reformed” children’s ministry at Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA.