Dear Federal Trade Commission, I purchased this book with my own pennies. The end.
I really enjoy Tim Challies’ blog, and we have a number of his older theological posters in our hallway. Tim Challies is a pastor, speaker, and author, among other things. I was excited to learn of Visual Theology: Seeing and Understanding the Truth About God (Zondervan, 2016). The book is illustrated by Josh Byers, a pastor, artist, and speaker. Like many of the books I review for older students, Visual Theology is intended for lay adults–which makes it well-suited for middle and high school students.
I’ve been reading through Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology with my boys since they were in 5th and 6th grade. We’ve been notebooking as we go, and they’ve learned a lot (me too–I learn so much through teaching!). Learning systematic theology is a long process for us and I expect it to last the rest of our homeschooling time. I like to read through books on various topics for a few minutes each morning with the kids, and every once in a while we read a theology overview of some kind just so we don’t lose the big picture. Visual Theology seems perfect for our morning reading time, so I read the book with that purpose in mind.
Visual Theology is a solid overview of the Christian life. The 155-page book is divided into four sections with two or three chapters per section. Each chapter has several graphics (the “visual” part), and the subsections of the chapters often have little icons that coordinate with the graphics for the chapter. Overall, the book is primarily text, with some color, and interesting visuals…..
The sections and chapters were as follows:
- Section One: Grow Close to Christ
- Chapter One: Gospel
- Chapter Two: Identity
- Chapter Three: Relationship
- Section Two: Understand the Work of Christ
- Chapter Four: Drama
- Chapter Five: Doctrine
- Section Three: Become Like Christ
- Chapter Six: Putting Off
- Chapter Seven: Putting On
- Section Four: Live for Christ
- Chapter Eight: Vocation
- Chapter Nine: Relationships
- Chapter Ten: Stewardship
If your middle school and high school students have been raised in church, chapters one through four will likely all be something they’ve learned before, but it’s all good information to review frequently. You really can’t hear the gospel too frequently.
Chapters five through ten are wonderfully instructional information on how to live for Christ. I especially liked the chapter on doctrine which outlined the reasons sound doctrine is vital in the life of a health Christian and a healthy church. The chapters on Putting Off and Putting On deal with turning from sin and becoming virtuous in the place of our sin nature. These draw heavily on the work of John Owen, which I think is wonderful. Most adults will never read Owen, so to have his work simplified and explained to students is a gift. I also loved the chapter on stewardship, and I think the chapters on vocation and relationships will be really helpful for students.
I can’t wait to read Visual Theology to my boys. I hope it’s a blessing to your family as well.
You can purchase Visual Theology at
Other books for older students reviewed on Thinking Kids:
- Hammer of the Huguenots by Douglas Bond
- Grace Works: (And Ways We Think It Doesn’t) by Douglas Bond
- God’s Story: A Student’s Guide to Church History by Brian Cosby
- Water the Earth: A Student’s Guide to Missions by Aaron Little
- Rebels Rescued: A Student’s Guide to Reformed Theology by Brian Cosby
- Bitesize Theology: An ABC of Christian Faith by Peter Jeffrey
- Zachary Macaulay (Bitesize Biographies) by Faith Cook
- Questions God Asks by Israel Wayne
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- Christian Books for 4-7 Year Olds
- Christian Books for the Middle Grades
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- Christian Books for High School
- Christian Books for Kids’ Devotions
- Christian Books about Parenting
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.