Visual Theology is a simple, visual book with the purpose of leading the reader to understand the significance of what Christ did for us, and how that should impact the way we view ourselves, our priorities, and our actions. These are areas that Christians need to be reminded of, and encouraged to grow in. Throughout Visual Theology, the author guides the reader to look at the Bible, the purpose of prayer, the value of understanding and recognizing doctrine that is true versus what is not, and the importance of growing in relationships with other people and how that is similar to growing in our relationship with Christ. Just as we interact with other people and seek to know them more through conversation, we should be seeking to know Christ more through reading the Word and having conversation with Him in prayer.
The material in Visual Theology is presented in an appealing visual format. Throughout the book, there are many charts, tables, icons and full-page infographics that reinforce the text. These graphics are colorful and easy to understand, and give the reader a helpful way to remember the topics that were discussed. It is also helpful that the graphics provided in this book are available for purchase and download on visual theology.. Personally I have printed a few of the graphics and posted them on my dorm room wall. My favorite section of Visual Theology deals with identity in Christ, and I love waking up to see this graphic in my room because it reminds me who I am: I am in Christ, I am justified, I am adopted, I am secure, I am free, and I am unfinished.
Based on what I have heard from others who have read this book, I think there are mixed expectations that result in disappointment or frustration. First of all, this book is not filled with complex theological debates. If you are looking for a book that digs deeper, the book provides several resources in the end notes that may be of value for you; or if you’re looking for more of a systematic theology textbook, check out Wayne Grudem’s work. Secondly, as you might be able to assume based on the discussion of the level of theology, this book is not just a picture book. There are many graphics spread throughout Visual Theology, but it is laid out as a chapter-book with graphics that reinforce what was written in the text.
I think that if you enter into reading this book with adjusted expectations (treat it like a theology 101 crash course), you will enjoy it and find many ways that it is helpful and encouraging in your walk with Christ. I recommend Visual Theology highly, especially to those who are visual learner (or those who frequently interact with visual learners), as well as newer Christians who want to learn more of the basics of Christian theology. Certainly, the book can be helpful for many who are not visual learners or newer Christians, but I think that it would be most helpful for them. This book is written from a reformed theological position, which is the position that I personally align with, so if your theological convictions aren’t reformed, you may not get much out of this theology book.
I am confident that you will find Visual Theology it very useful in your study and application of God’s Word. If you are looking for a theology book that focuses on simple truths and sweet reminders of the work that Christ has done for us and who we are now in Him, this is a key book for you.
Challies, Tim. Visual Theology: Seeing and Understanding the Truth About God. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016. 155pp. Paperback, $17.99.
Visit the publisher’s page.
Thanks to Zondervan for the review copy!