I’ve got a lot of reference books on the bookshelf near my computer desk. Some I haven’t opened for years but keep around just in case, others I can’t go a week without opening. Bible Doctrine by Wayne Grudem is one of the ones I refer to all the time. I have given this book away so many times now I have forgotten how many, for me it is just one of those books. It is my favourite reference book and probably the only reference books I could read cover to cover on an ongoing basis if I had the time.
I first came upon Wayne Grudem by accident because I accidently purchased his book Systematic Theology instead of another book I was looking for with the same title. As a relatively new Christian at the time I was impressed with the understandable style that that book explained Christian doctrines. Wayne Grudem has a core belief that doctrine should be biblical, practical and understandable. He always writes and teaches in a way that embodies this belief. As a busy young person with little time I was delighted when I found out that Systematic Theology had been abridged.
Bible Doctrine is a more condense version of Systematic Theology, making it more accessible which is good for people too busy to wade through the textbook style. Despite its condenseness it maintains its depth and thoroughness. It sets out to introduce and cover essential teachings of the Christian faith for people to study once they have decided to become a Christian. Grudem’s style of writing is a nice balance between clear understandable language and complete coverage of the important stuff. He does not compromise depth for clarity but finds a way to manage both.
When I was in youth ministry I would often use this book to “check” my doctrine as I prepared bible studies or messages. I would use the application questions and review questions and adapt for use in the group studies I ran, and I memorised the memory passages at the end of each chapter. I honestly believe I could give this book to my pastor or to high school students and they could both benefit from it.
It is clear that Grudem ascribes to a reformed position of theological issues, although he is not shy to challenge things like infant baptism. Although he does offer various perspectives on issues that have caused divide within Christendom, he is willing to state with authority his own conclusions on the matter. He is able to do this because he teaches from the Bible, using it as his primary source, a radical and refreshing decision for a modern Bible teacher to make.
I love this book. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone but especially to Christians looking for clear communication of core doctrines in a practical but reverent way. As I have mentioned I have given it away countless times, and the price makes it easy to do that. I would suggest getting this book and reading it cover to cover as a study guide and using it as a reference after that. Having correct doctrine is important and Wayne Grudem gives you a passion to study and learn more about the Bible.
Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem – The unabridged version (1264 pages). A serious reference book for teachers and preachers, and laypeople who want to go deep deep deep.
Bible Doctrine by Wayne Grudem- Abridged version of Systematic Theology (528 pages). A great reference book for teachers and preachers, and laypeople of all ages and backgrounds. Great for giving away to serious people who are passionate about learning more about doctrine. Very recommended and probably one of my favourite books.
Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know by Wayne and Elliot Grudem- very concise, backpocket version abridged from Bible Doctrine (160 little pages). Great for giving away to anyone, and anyone should be able to read it in one sitting or as twenty short daily devotions. I have given away lots of these.
PS – While I am talking about Wayne Grudem, and plugging him really, I might as well mention he has a free teaching podcast where he teaches through the Systematic Theology book. You can find that on iTunes HERE.