- Book Reviews
Wednesday, June 2, 2021 : By Standing for Freedom Staff
Jen Wilkin is the author of In His Image, along with many other books on biblical knowledge aimed at encouraging women in their spiritual journey towards Christ. She spent time in several different denominations and holds that “knowing the Word [is] the only way to know truth from error.” She met her husband while studying at Texas A&M and together they have four children and reside in their home state of Texas. Wilkin is well respected in evangelical Christian circles and advocates Biblical literacy. She has organized and led studies for women in home, church, and parachurch contexts.
Wilkin uses In His Image to break down ten specific ways that God calls His children to reflect His character. She posits that Christians often ask, “What is God’s will for my life?” when instead we should be asking “Who should I be?” in order to better understand God’s will. She says that the Bible states we should “be like the very image of God” and goes on to describe ten of God’s communicable attributes that Christians can and should reflect in their lives in order to discern what God’s will for them should be. In learning to be holy, loving, good, just, merciful, gracious, faithful, patient, truthful, and wise, Christians will reflect the heart of God and will walk the narrow path towards righteousness.
Each chapter highlights one of the ten attributes and the subchapters therein continue to further explain what it looks like to be holy, good, loving, and so on. These sections are packed full of scripture as Wilkin continually refers back to the Bible in order to show exactly what God’s character looks like, how He acts, and how Christians should reflect His action in their daily lives. At the end of each chapter, Wilkin encourages her reader to thoughtfully and prayerfully continue to research each attribute on their own, citing verses for meditation, questions for reflection, and a call to pray. In the end, Wilkin brings her analysis full circle in that as Christians, we are to reflect God’s character because we bear God’s image.
In His Image is thoughtful and easy to read, making it a great choice for individual or group study. Her use of anecdote and metaphor are clear and concise and do not distract the reader from her larger points. Her theology, while informed by her personal experience and study, are refreshingly ecumenical, and she uses the Bible in a thoroughly referential and reverent way. It’s clear that she has studied each passage through and connects them in a fluid and engaging way that would be easy for any reader to follow. A fully colloquial book, each section is of modest length, makes its point, uses thoughtful stories to help clarify any fuzziness readers might have in trying to understand an ancient text, and leaves them with more to discuss.
It’s also helpful that Wilkins takes the time to explain the difference between God’s communicable and incommunicable attributes. To say that we should reflect God’s omniscience and omnipotence — characteristics that if we wished to have would lead to setting ourselves up as His rival — is simply impossible. Instead, she redirects her reader to think of the attributes that image bearers of God should strive for, so as to draw ourselves closer to God’s heart and not be envious of His Godhead.
Discussing 10 characteristics of an eternal and highly creative God is daunting work, but Wilkin does it with grace. She recognizes that asking mere humans to reflect God’s character is intimidating at best, but by keeping her chapters short and reflecting back to scripture, Wilkin maintains the balance needed in order to encourage rather than overwhelm her reader.