The Characteristics of God

by: Mark Retzloff
November 09, 2017

Millard Erickson said this about the characteristics or attributes of God: “When we speak of the attributes of God, we are referring to those qualities of God that constitute what he is, the very characteristics of his nature.”[1] Ryrie calls God’s characteristics his perfections because all of the qualities or attributes of God are characteristics his perfections because all of the qualities or attributes of God are perfect.[2]


In this study, we will consider God’s attributes—his characteristics—his perfections.


In considering God’s characteristics, I think a good analogy is looking at a married couple. One of the great things about being married is the ability to get to know one person in an intimate way, potentially, for the rest of your life. This growing knowledge enables us to learn how to better serve and love him or her daily. Similarly, Scripture teaches that we are the bride of Christ, and we will be married to God for all eternity (cf. Eph 5:23, Rev 19:7). Since God is the Bridegroom of the Church, we must devote ourselves to knowing him intimately so that we might please him and effectively serve him in this loving union throughout this life and the next. We can only do this properly if we give ourselves to the discipline of study. We must understand his characteristics—his person, his being, what brings him pleasure, what brings him displeasure, etc. Therefore, we will study his characteristics with the hope of better serving our Heavenly Bridegroom for the rest of eternity.


[1] Millard J. Erickson. Christian Theology (2nd ed.). (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1998), 291.

[2] Charles C. Ryrie. Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), 39.


Reflection Questions

1. What are some of God’s characteristics?

2. What characteristics do we share with God and which ones do we not?

3. What other questions or thoughts do you have about the characteristics of God?

4. In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

About the Author

Greg Brown earned a Master of Arts (MA) in religion and an MA in teaching from Trinity International University, a Master of Religious Education (MRE) from Liberty University, and a PhD in theology from Louisiana Baptist University. He has served over ten years in pastoral ministry and currently serves as Chaplain and Assistant Professor at Handong Global University in South Korea, pastor at Handong International Congregation, and as a Navy Reserve chaplain. Greg married his lovely wife Tara Jayne in 2006, and they have one daughter, Saiyah Grace. He enjoys going on dates with his wife, playing with his daughter, reading, writing, studying in coffee shops, working out, and following the NBA and UFC. His pursuit in life, simply stated, is “to know God and to be found faithful by Him.”


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