Book Review – GodStories (Andrew Wilson)

After thoroughly enjoying Andrew Wilson’s previous book, Incomparable, I was very much looking forward to getting my hands on this one. In many ways, the format is very similar. There are lots of short three or four page chapters, each of which can be read standalone as a daily devotion. Interspersed throughout the book are “coffee breaks” which encourage you to reflect a while on what you have been learning.

The subject of GodStories is the gospel. The book presents the gospel as one big story, broken into lots of little stories. At first I thought this meant it would be a metanarrative type book, similar to Vaughan Robert’s God’s Big Picture, but although Wilson moves through the Bible in a roughly chronological manner, each of the little chapters is self-contained, and often draws out the New Testament fulfilment of the Old Testament stories immediately.

As with Incomparable, the book is written in a way that will be very accessible to teens and twenties, with plenty of illustrations drawn from contemporary films and culture. The book is broken up into five “acts” (a nod to Tom Wright?), which are:

  1. Creation and Fall
  2. Israel and History
  3. Poets and Prophets
  4. Jesus and Rescue
  5. Restoration and Hope

As well as taking you through some of the main storyline of the Old Testament (creation, fall, flood, Abraham, tabernacle etc), he dips into the prophets, again making some of the big themes from these difficult biblical books very easy to grasp. A number of chapters echoed the emphases of Chris Wright in his superb “Mission of God” book. Also there are shades of Tom Wright as he highlights similarities in the rhetoric used by the Roman empire to describe the emperor to those used by Luke and other New Testament writers.

The longest Act, “Jesus and Rescue” features several chapters dealing with various aspects of the atonement. There is some excellent material here, and Wilson is not afraid to tackle some theological hot potatoes such as penal substitution and the New Perspective on Paul. Whilst the majority of this book is theologically non-controversial, he’s not afraid to let his distinctives show from time to time.

One of his greatest strengths is to take deep theological truths and present them in a very straightforward manner, yet without dumbing them down. Some of his illustrations are brilliant, and I certainly plan to make use of a few of them for in my own teaching. Overall, this is a great follow-up to Incomparable, and I look forward to seeing what comes next from him.

2 thoughts on “Book Review – GodStories (Andrew Wilson)

  1. If you enjoyed “God’s Big Picture”, Mark, a more substantial and academic-level work on biblical theology is Chris Wright’s “The Mission of God” (IVP). I haven’t got round to reading it yet, but Philip Greenslade (author of “A Passion for God’s Story”, pub. Paternoster) has recommended it to me.
    Picking up your comment about you reading ‘opposing’ views about the gifting of women for an elder’s work, have you ever read “Christian Theology: An Introduction” by Prof. Alister McGrath? I have found it very helpful for broadening my knowledge and understanding, including historical development, sources, methods and of course doctrine. It aims to be unbiased. A broader understanding can take us beyond polemics by introducing new perspectives and aspects. I think, if you’ve mainly read books on Calvinism and charismatic theology and commentaries, it would be a worthwhile investment for you. There’s also a reader, taking you back to the source documents. You can have a listen to some podcast lectures for free at:

  2. I’m half-way through Mission of God. It really is outstanding, and I’m expecting to post a lot about it here at some point (I’ve created four draft blog entries already).

    I’ve read a couple of books by Alister McGrath, but not that one. A friend is reading it at the moment, and maybe I’ll get round to having a look myself some time in the future.

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