The best way to sum this book up is with a photo I saw Joe Thorn post on Instagram. It was a picture of his own book, Experiencing the Trinity, on his desk. Some guys have a motivation for putting up such posts because they’re trying to sell books. But that’s not what I saw here, and it’s definitely not what I read in the book. Instead, I saw and read a book that was written first and foremost as a help to Joe Thorn that he couldn’t bear to not share.
I can see why he felt so urged to share it, too, because the content of Experiencing the Trinity is so God-glorifying, so theologically-refreshing, and so simple, it cannot go unnoticed. What a great harm it would do for us believers to lose sight of these rich promises. What a travesty it would be if lost people never heard this truth proclaimed. Thorn’s hand was nearly forced into writing such a book, because it’s what he needed for himself, and it’s what millions of others in and out of church need all the same.
No one is beyond the need of powerful gospel reminders.
To place anyone in a category with Charles Haddon Spurgeon isn’t right or fair, so I won’t do that here, yet Thorn’s book reads a lot like the Spurgeon classic Morning and Evening. In many places it is simply rejoicing in the words of Scripture. A typical entry format is one verse, a few observations, a few implications, and a few applications. These mini-sermons are power-packed with helpful exhortation throughout. Most are a couple pages, which makes the material so dense. This is a good thing for those trying to get solid doctrinal teaching without plowing through extensive and thorough books.
The best part about Experiencing the Trinity is its simplicity. Many who exegete Scripture are privy to flaunting their intellect and prowess, or try to use creative phrasing and “tweetable” one-liners to gain endorsement. That’s part of the reason I’m not going to include flashy excerpts in this review. I don’t want you to assume that was what the goal was in this book, because it definitely wasn’t. What makes Joe Thorn a great author and a wise teacher is not PhD insight or advanced language lessons, but how genuine he is. Just like you and me, he’s got his own struggles. He needs reminders of God’s presence, love, sovereignty, and justice day to day. And just like you and me, he rests his normal self on the powerful and radical grace of Jesus. You could almost call him “average Joe.” I’m sure he wouldn’t mind, because an average Joe that rests on an Almighty God has much to praise.
I will say, there are a couple precautions I have for reading this book. You should not read any entry without praying before and after. You shouldn’t read a bunch of entries at once. It’s our tendency many times, especially with such a short book like this, to blitz instead of marinate, but this books lends itself to truly thinking upon the Lord, and subsequently ingesting and digesting the material with prayer. Thorn averts your eyes from his words and points you toward His goodness, so I caution readers, read this book (and all things while you’re at it) with firm intention of meditation and prayer.
Thank you Joe for thinking enough of us averages Joes out in the world just like you who need the same reminders you did and do. These succinct and sweet dwellings on God’s Word are so helpful to the broken, the lost, the proud, the long-suffering, the tired, the misguided, the depressed, and everything in between.
My only complaint? It’s not longer.
That’s how you know you’ve got a great book on your hands. I’m not finding myself thirsting for more Joe Thorn, but more Jesus, That’s a book worth having and sharing. That’s why the book was written. That’s why even Joe Thorn reads this book.
I was provided this book via Crossway in exchange for my review.