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loveI am devoting most of my non-fiction reading in 2017 to the subject of God’s love and its implications. It is something my heart has been hungry for lately, at least more consciously so. We’re all in desperate need of experiencing the love of God every millisecond of our lives, of course, even if we don’t feel we are. But as I thought about how I wanted to add some direction to some of my 2017 studies, I couldn’t think of a more spiritually edifying and personally necessary subject than the love that 1 John 4:8 says God himself is.

I’ve broken the titles down into mainly three categories: devotional, theological, inspirational/practical (“Christian living”). There is some overlap, obviously, and I didn’t have an equal number in each category, but that’s generally how I’m going about the list.

I assume only a few of my readers may be interested in this, but here is the list I’m starting out with, in the order I plan to read them:

All Loves Excelling by John Bunyan (devotional)
The Love of God: A Canonical Model by John Peckham (theological)
A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships by Paul Miller (inspirational)
Charity and Its Fruits by Jonathan Edwards (devotional)
Testaments of Love by Leon Morris (theological)
God’s Love by R. C. Sproul (inspirational)
Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen (devotional)
You Are What You Love by James K. A. Smith (theological)
His Love Endures Forever by Garry Williams (inspirational)
The Love of God by Oswald Chambers (devotional)
Nothing Greater, Nothing Better: Theological Essays on the Love of God edited by Kevin Vanhoozer (theological)
The God Who Loves You by Peter Kreeft (inspirational)
The Love of Christ by Richard Sibbes (devotional)
The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God by D. A. Carson* (theological)
Love in Hard Places by D. A. Carson* (theological)
A Different Kind of Happiness: Discovering the Joy That Comes from Sacrificial Love by Larry Crabb (inspirational)
Heaven: A World of Love by Jonathan Edwards* (devotional)
Works of Love by Soren Kierkegaard* (theological)
Leading with Love by Alexander Strauch (inspirational)
God Loves You by Charles Spurgeon (devotional)
The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis (theological)
The God Who Loves by John MacArthur (inspirational)

In addition, I’ll be reading all along the way Gerald Bray’s systematic theology, God Is Love.

My prayer through this expedition is that God may grant me to be further strengthened with power through his Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell more richly in my heart and that I may be more greatly strengthened to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that I might be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:16-19).

Anything you think I’m missing and should add to the list?

* Denotes books I have read before and will be revisiting.

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8 thoughts on “A Literary Journey into God’s Love”

  1. Matt says:

    For some older sources, consider Augustine (Confessions>/i> and On Christian Doctrine, both of which have more to say about the love of God than you might expect) and Bernard of Clairvaux (On Loving God and Sermons on the Song of Songs).

  2. Jonathan Leeman says:

    Other books of varying helpfulness: Jon Levenson, The Love of God; David Wells, God in the Whirlwind: How the Holy Love of God Reorients Our World; Mark Galli, A Great and Terrible Love; Pope Benedict, God is Love; Neil Tolsma, This Is Love; an extremely helpful compendium is Christian Love, Bernard Brady (which will include crucial passages in Augustine and Bernard); and finally, chapters 1 to 3 of my Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love.

  3. gk says:

    Authenticity: A Biblical Theology of Discernment, by Thomas Dubay

  4. Renee Byrd says:

    The Scars That Have Shaped Me? Because an incorrect theology of suffering leads to people disbelieving God is love, or maybe I’m the only one with that issue.

  5. Tim says:

    Thank you for sharing this rich list! I can’t wait to be blessed by the fruit that will come out of this! One book I never would have thought to buy on my own (it was a gift) is “God Loves You” by David Jeremiah. I was profoundly blessed by 2 of the chapters as I was preparing a series of sermons in Romans 8. Especially if you are ready for some stories mixed in with the biblical content, but stories that illustrate well.

  6. Roland Finkbeiner says:

    I’m surprised that neither of Philip Rykens books were mentioned Loving the Way Jesus Loves, or Loving Jesus More

  7. Michelle says:

    Looks like a great list. Any value reading some novels that set forth the love of God?

  8. Rebecca says:

    I ‘m going to join you. I heard the book The Relentless Tendrness of Jesus by Brennan Manning is a great book. :)

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Jared C. Wilson

Jared C. Wilson is the Director of Content Strategy for Midwestern Seminary, managing editor of For The Church, director of The Pastoral Training Center at Liberty Baptist Church, and author of more than ten books, including Gospel Wakefulness, The Pastor’s Justification, and The Prodigal Church. You can follow him on Twitter.

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