A review copy of this book came in the mail a few weeks back: God’s Attributes by Jill Nelson. It very recently hit the shelves on the P&R Publishing website (and other online stores). God’s Attributes is a family devotional aimed at younger kids around eight years old (give or take). There are twenty-six short chapters that cover various attributes of God including wisdom, love, omniscience, mercy, sovereignty, and so on.
The book is just over 100 pages long and it has around one illustration per chapter. Each chapter is roughly three pages. Every chapter has a definition of the attribute being discussed. For example, in the chapter on the jealousy of God, the definition is this: “God is JEALOUS – he will not share his glory or the honor and praise he deserves” (p. 80). For God’s patience, the definition is “He is slow to anger and slow to punish” (p. 92). At the end of each chapter there are a few questions and an activity such as take sermon notes or sing a certain hymn. The chapters are very understandable and most kids should be able to get the gist.
I have two mild critiques of this book. First, the chapters seem a little wordy. Some of the chapters could’ve have been more effective if they were shorter. Second, some of the definitions of God’s attributes aren’t as solid as I had hoped. For example, for “God is Wise” the definition is “He causes everything to work out perfectly.” That seems more of a definition of God’s providence or his eternal decree. For “God is love” the definition is “He gives of himself for the joy of others.” I suppose the phrase sounds good, but it’s quite vague and not clearly biblical. Most of the definitions in this book are fine but others are lacking theological depth.
Anyway, all in all this is a pretty decent devotional for children – although it’s not on my top ten list for the above reasons. And yes, as a confessional Presbyterian I’m partial to the Westminster Shorter Catechism for training kids. In my view God’s Attributes would’ve been better if it had built on some tried and true theological/doctrinal resources for training kids in the faith.
Hammond, WI, 54015