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Reading Theology Wisely
A Practical Introduction
Kent Eilers
Art by Chris Koelle

PAPERBACK; Published: 5/24/2022
ISBN: 978-0-8028-8178-6
Price: $ 18.00
229 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 5.5 x 8.5
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“Could reading theology turn you toward God in astonished worship? Could it enliven your reading of Scripture? Could it move you toward your true self in Christ? Could it turn you toward your neighbors in self-giving love? Could it unmask your prejudices? Could it dethrone your idols? Should we hope for anything less?” 

In this illuminating introduction, Kent Eilers invites Christians of all backgrounds into the practice of reading theology. With a classroom-tested approach, Eilers shows how theology can form the imagination and enhance “the human capacity for perceiving reality beyond the surface of things”—allowing Christians to see and experience God in the everyday. He then guides readers through the essential facets of theology so that it can begin to feel familiar and accessible, even (and especially) to beginners with no prior experience. 

Written conversationally and illustrated beautifully with art by Chris Koelle, Reading Theology Wisely is welcoming and engaging in every respect. Eilers takes a well-rounded approach to his subject, utilizing Scripture and the wisdom of past thinkers as well as references to film and the arts—including a special emphasis on architecture as part of an ongoing metaphor of “inhabiting texts” as we do physical spaces. Each chapter ends with a prayer and questions for reflection and discussion, followed by a “theology lab” in which readers can put the content of the preceding chapter into practice.

Table of Contents

1. Imagination for Reading
2. Vision for Theology
3. Reading as Inhabitation
4. Settings of Theology: Behind the Page
5. Sources of Theology: Of the Page
6. Architectures of Theology: Of the Page
7. Invitations of Theology: In Front of the Page


Christianity Today Book Award in Theology (popular) Finalist (2023)

PubWest Bronze Book Design Award in Academic/Non-Trade (2022)

“Character formation reveals one’s theology more than one’s confession of faith. Yet, as many students of theology will be the first to raise a question, it is a sad reality that too much theology is intellectual abstraction that operates far from the world of what some today call ‘lived theology.’ In Eilers’s Reading Theology Wisely students are given a companion volume to accompany their theological studies so that character formation can advance in step with intellectual growth. When I was a theology student the book that did this for me was called A Little Exercise for Young Theologians. This can be that book for the next generation.”
— Scot McKnight
Northern Seminary
“We need all kinds of invitations to theology, and in this book Kent Eilers extends a unique kind of welcome. Come in here, he beckons: unpack your bags, look around, and make yourself at home in the household of theological reading.”
— Fred Sanders
Torrey Honors College, Biola University
“This beautiful book expresses what I long for all of my students to realize: that by the Holy Spirit, reading theology is above all about learning to know, love, and worship God more deeply, and to see everything in the light of God, so that we may live more fully in love of God and neighbor. Drawing on Scripture, a range of theological sisters and brothers across time and space, and also art, story, film, architecture, and more, Eilers invites us into a generous space for reading theology well, with prayers, reflection questions, and suggested practices to help us along the way. This is a wonderful book not only for students and anyone interested in beginning to read theology, but also for those of us who are theological guides—pastors, professors, and others—to remind us again of what we are called to do, and how, and why.”
— Suzanne McDonald
Western Theological Seminary
“I can think of few more important disciplines for pastors and Christian leaders than to know how to read theology wisely. Dr. Kent Eilers has done us a marvelous service in providing us a practical yet profound guide to informed and imaginative reading that enlivens living faith. Artfully written and beautifully illustrated, this is a book sure to expand your mind, illuminate your imagination, and stir your heart. Take and read!”
— Todd Wilson
cofounder and president of the Center for Pastor Theologians
“Kent Eilers deeply loves the risen Christ and his students. These two loves shine through this winsome primer, which is full of creative energy, pedagogical skill, and spiritual wisdom.”
— Daniel J. Treier
Wheaton College
“This is an incredibly important guide to the theological task that invites students—in kindness, gentleness, and love—into a world of theology that feels foreign and, perhaps, overwhelming. With the discernment and insight of a master teacher, Eilers shepherds students into the task of reading theology in wisdom. Building on years of experience in the classroom, Eilers understands the struggles students have with theological texts and the difficulty of helping them navigate these struggles well. Worshipful, prayerful, and full of insight, this book will captivate the imagination and cast a vision of a truly living encounter with the holy God.”
— Kyle Strobel
Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
“Here is an opportunity to read theology wisely done. Enriched with art and prayer, and enlivened with questions and theology ‘labs,’ Reading Theology Wisely provides insightful and practical guidance for reading theology in ways that don’t end with the reading. Kent Eilers leads his readers to connect theology with life and to be connected with God and others. Wise, indeed.”
— W. David Buschart
Denver Seminary
The Englewood Review of Books
“The book is not merely a practical introduction to reading theology wisely, but also an index of works of theology written in the spirit of wisdom.”