The Prodigal GodThis book is so short (with nice double-spaced lines to pad it out even bigger) that I almost feel that if I tell you what it’s about, there’ll be nothing new to read in the book. (Except for the fact that Tim Keller writes much more persuasively and smoothly than I do, so certainly don’t stop at reading this review.)

The premise of this book is pretty straightforward, but one which many people (my wife included) have found absolutely eye-opening. It’s an expansion the parable of the prodigal son. However, Christians have traditionally focused on the prodigal son, who went off the rails and was welcomed home by his gracious Dad. However, also in the story, is the son’s older brother, who complains that his Dad shouldn’t have shown grace to someone as bad his younger brother.

The point with this, Keller makes, is that there are two ways to displease God – one is the path of open sin (like the younger son). But there’s also a way to outwardly do all the right things and tick all the right boxes – like the older son – but not have a right heart towards our gracious God.

This is the theme which is unpacked for the rest of the book. I think it addresses some important issues in the church, and by explaining the older son’s issues, Keller explains the concept of grace really well.

I didn’t find it as mind-blowing as some people, but at the same time, there’s never a bad time to be reminded again about the theology of grace that underlies Christianity. An encouraging read.

4 out of 5.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Prodigal God (Tim Keller)

  1. I’ve been meaning to read that book. I’ve read “The Reason for God” and “Counterfeit Gods” and really enjoyed them, so I’m sure this book is great as well. Thanks for sharing your review!

  2. I second Matt’s comments. Even though the material is very familiar, Keller has a way of making you think about it freshly again.

  3. Listening to Keller is just as wonderful as this short little book. Visit to download lots of (free) sermons. When in NYC, go to Redeemer on the Upper East Side. He generally preaches there for the PM service.

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