Book Review: Understanding the Trinity by Alister McGrath


“Understanding the Trinity” by Alister McGrath could be divided into 3 sections the first being more apologetic in nature, the second offering certain models and ways to think about God and finally the last four (of 10) chapter are devoted to the actual doctrine of the trinity.

I have to say I was not totally impressed with the book, despite my love for Alister McGrath. While the book itself is not so bad, the title could be rather misleading as so little time is actually devoted to the doctrine of the trinity. McGrath presents an orthodox understanding of the trinity, yet devotes over half the book to apologetics and insights into God as shepherd, parent, and person, spending the most time to the latter. Though his insights are always pleasant and the book I am certain will be of use to some believer (or other) who seeks to understand the trinity and instead receives thought-provoking insight and a solid defense, it is still not the most impressive book on the mystery of the trinity.

In truth, I take no issue with this book, aside from minor differences in doctrine, except its title. I’m sure a defence could be made that “Understanding the Trinity” encapsulates thinking of the God who exists in Trinity and believing first in his existence, however I do not believe so much time ought to have been devoted to the task in such a small book.

I do not warn readers against this book, but were someone to ask I may recommend instead James White’s “The Forgotten Trinity”

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