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The Wonderful Works of God

4.77  ·  Rating details ·  175 ratings  ·  52 reviews
110 years after its original publication, The Wonderful Works of God remains one of the finest single-volume systematic theologies ever written. Adapting the magisterial systematic theology found in his four-volume Reformed Dogmatics, this is perhaps Bavinck’s most eminently practical work – a single, accessible volume for the college classroom and the family bookshelf. Pr ...more
Hardcover, 695 pages
Published December 2019 by Westminster Seminary Press (first published January 1st 1956)
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Samuel Kassing
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is vintage Bavinck. Reformed catholic systematics in conversation with history and the biblical storyline. Brilliant, clear, and Christ-centered. I'd highly recommend this resource to anyone. ...more
Zach Barnhart
Jul 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
He's the best. Just read everything he wrote. ...more
Christian Barrett
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book that illustrates the beauty of the God of the Bible and how He works. This book is essentially a systematic theology that is to be used as a devotional piece. Bavinck is a brilliant writer that goes the extra mile to articulate in the most precise ways his thoughts about God. This book isn’t like the intense theological work of Calvin or Frame, but presents key theological doctrines and walks through them biblically and expounds on how they apply to the readers life. Often ...more
Samuel James
Aug 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
My first entree into Bavinck, and I can’t believe I didn’t read him sooner. Magisterial theology with a poetic accent. Worshipful, philosophical, and biblical.
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Bavinck was a big thinker. So big that I began jotting down Bavinck’s Big Idea of the Day each time I picked it up. The book is filled with mind-stretching concepts and yet remains highly readable. No jargon. No nonsense. Just a good bit of mental exercise.

Apr 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Intended to be a more approachable treatment of the material set forth in Bavinck's massive (and magisterial!) Reformed Dogmatics, this book's greatest accomplishment is bringing Bavinck's deep sense of holy fear and reverent, awe-filled joy to a broader audience. While Bavinck's style can feel wooden and dense at times, he always repays the persistent reader. The chapters on the Trinity and upon Creation and Providence are among my favorite treatments of these subjects anywhere. ...more
Ryan Handermann
May 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology-proper
What theology is supposed to be. The best of Bavinck.
Eddie Mercado
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Masterful. I went from reading the first 300 pages in a month, to finishing the book slowly over the last 8. Recommend the latter. Highly devotional. Excited to read the Bavinck bio now.
Bob O'bannon
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Honestly I think that if, alongside the Bible, you have Bavinck’s “The Wonderful Works of God,” and J.C. Ryle’s “Practical Religion,” you probably have all you need to live a full, mature and impactful Christian life in this world. This introductory systematic theology was written for “ordinary members of the congregation ” (p.xxxiii), but honestly, it might seem a little heavy for today’s ordinary Christian. Nevertheless, I cannot recommend this book highly enough, and believe that with a littl ...more
Eric Yap
Mar 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shelved, favorites
10/10. If you only ever read one theology book, this is it, seek no more. Since I've written a succinct review on another platform, I will just share my favourite out of all my favourite parts of Bavinck's Magnalia Dei, which that other review is also based on:

"When Jesus speaks in this connection of the knowledge of God, He has in mind a knowledge which is similar in kind to the knowledge which He Himself possesses. He was not a theologian by profession, nor was He a doctor or professor in divi
Jordan Carl
Dec 16, 2021 rated it liked it
Pretty good. As a single volume ST, I would put it up there with Berkhof; less technical and more doxological. Bavinck takes all the most salient points from his dogmatics and shares them here as elegant and glorious prose pointing us to the Triune God.
Jason Garwood
May 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
May 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was my first systematic theology, so I do not have a comparison, but this definitely set a high bar for any future reads! Bavinck writes beautifully, often poetically, in addition to being systematic and clear. I went through the book with others, which helped so much in processing and understanding even more of it, I would not have gotten nearly as much out of it without the contribution of others. Pretty much every page has passages underlined, and I will return to this as a reference in ...more
Dec 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
In this age of specialization, it is good to keep the big picture in view, while not neglecting the details. Herman Bavinck’s The Wonderful Works of God gives us that big picture and also points out key principles by which to pursue the details. Bavinck’s work shows a comprehensive knowledge of competing philosophies, religions, and other branches of Christian theology, while clearly presenting the Reformed faith as the way for us to arrive at “Man’s Highest Good” (the title of the first chapter ...more
Jan 09, 2022 marked it as to-read
I was assigned to read various chapters of this beautiful book for my Union with Christ course with Dr Sinclair Ferguson as part of my Masters of Arts in Counselling degree through WTS -- namely, chapters 19 (The Gift of the Holy Spirit), 20 (The Christian Calling), 21 (Justification), and 22 (Sanctification). Technically, this would be a systematic theology book, and written by this Reformed theologian, I would also call it "theological prose", of a most exquisite sort. The chapters I read were ...more
Kieran Grubb
Sep 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wow. What a read!! This is a long book, (even though it's the condensed version of four volumes) and yet it captivates you from start to finish.

Bavinck's mix of rhetoric and exposition truly work in tandem. If you want to dive deeper with God and wrestle with some harder concepts then this is for you.
Joshua Sunderland
Nov 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is a wonderful systematic for regular people who want to dive deeper into theology. As someone who's skimmed parts of other systematic theologies, I wish the sections within chapters were labelled so it was easier to find parts, but the indexes at the back that are new to this edition make topical searches a breeze.

I hope to reread this some day in the near future
Andy Dollahite
Dec 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Given Bavinck's target audience, this hits a sweet spot for a one volume hybrid systematic/historical/bibical theology. Several men from our local PCA churches read 1-2 chapters a month, which is more material than can truly be discussed in detail in one 2-3 hour sitting, but offered plenty to chew on individually. ...more
J Anthony
Aug 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An incredible Reformed Theology handbook! This single volume , consisting of 551 pages, is Bavinck’s own condensed version of his widely respected four volume systematic theology, Reformed Dogmatics. Many great chapters in this book beginning with Man’s Highest Good and ending with Eternal Life. I especially enjoyed his chapter on Sanctification.
One of the very best books I've ever read. Absolutely wonderful. ...more
Kevin Fulton
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
This book is excellent.
Joshua Schwisow
Jan 13, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is now my favorite shorter treatment of Systematic Theology. Bavinck combines biblical thoroughness, depth of insight, poetic prose, and devotional insights all in one. This is theology that is stated beautifully befitting the subject treated: the Triune God and His wonderful works! This book has tremendous value for every Christian.
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Nowadays, one-volume systematics would have neat little headings, clear-cut divisions between topics, and bolded or underlined key theological terms. This book has none of that. What Bavinck opts to do instead, is to give a systematic treatise that feels a lot more organic, than structured. Sure, he still starts with Prolegomena-type topics and ends with eternal life, and as a general rule he goes through topics in the customary order. However, once you start reading it, you realize that it is n ...more
Rick Bourque
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My main 2020 read, digested slowly: Bavinck is a refreshing combination of insights and worship. His insights so sensible and well-reasoned but surprisingly undiscovered and unfamiliar. He's like a tour guide in a national park you've been to so many times but missed so much. He's walked the park much slower than the rest of us, so slow he can see more than small details, he sees profound connections. A few examples:

[God's gift of Eve to Adam] "Then when man could not find the thing he sought,
Sep 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021-reads
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
I must be insane for even trying this one...what can I possibly say about this? But it's been over a month since I finished this, and I've got to pull the trigger on this now before I overthink it any more than I already have.

Thus the confession of the trinity is the sum of the Christian religion. Without it neither the creation nor the redemption nor the sanctification can be purely maintained. Every departure from this confession leads to
Noah McMillen
Sep 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Wonderful Works of God is not like many systematic theologies you would pick up today. Bavinck wrote this book for the layman, and each chapter reads almost like a story, unfolding the focused theme throughout Scripture and history, rather than the textbook-style writing of many of today’s systematics (which I also thoroughly enjoy). His writing is soul-nourishing and quotable. Here is just one example:

“Pascal so profoundly pointed out […] the greatness and the miserableness of man. He long
Zachary Leach
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Truly exceptional and far more holistic than most one-volume systematics. Bavink will expand your mind greatly if you devote time to read him. One of the greatest delights is finding turns of phrase he has for things that are familiar to you, but refresh and thrill your heart.

For instance on Christ fulling revealing God to us:
'He was with God in the beginning, lay in His bosom, and saw Him face to face. He Himself was God, the brightness of God's glory and the express image of his His person, t
Ian Hall
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Most instructive, irenic and straight forward presentation of Bavinck’s denser four volume (Reformed) systematic theology. There is no ‘fluff’ here whatsoever. Each sentence is there with purpose. Especially instructive and stirring is his presentation of Christ Jesus as the Christian’s (and Church’s) Mediator evident through His offices of Prophet, Priest, and King. If there was any cause for frustration it comes in all the preliminary pages of ‘Endorsements’, ‘Forewards’, etc. before reaching ...more
Joey Lyle
Jan 04, 2022 rated it liked it
Would love to visit this book again. However, I found the language to be a bit lofty and difficult to understand. I am a theology novice, so I imagine that a more seasoned theologian may have a easier time understanding the content. I found that for the ideas I knew, I wasn’t educated much more. For the ideas that I didn’t know, it wasn’t very accessible.

I understand that Bavinck is a theological juggernaut and I would love to revisit this later. However, right now, I would not recommend for new
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent, approachable, worshipful, one-volume systematic theology. It is not, as might be assumed, a condensed version of his magisterial four-volume systematic; that was a work intended for seminary students, pastors, and professors. This work was intended for the church; Bavink’s intention with this work was to give the church an approachable, accessible systematic theology. He succeeded. I enjoyed it cover to cover. Biblical. Pastoral. Worshipful. Rich. Edifying. God-glorifying.
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Herman Bavinck (1854-1921) succeeded Abraham Kuyper as professor of systematic theology at the Free University of Amsterdam in 1902.

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