As one who works in book publishing, I know that some books succeed and other books don’t succeed. And then there are books who do both—they succeed at being excellent expositions but they may not sell well.
I have no idea how many copies were sold of David Clotfelter’s book, Sinners in the Hands of a Good God: Reconciling Divine Judgment and Mercy (Moody, 2004). As far as I can see, it’s the only book he’s published, and I have rarely heard people mention the book. But it may be one of the best books you’ve never heard of.
For those struggling with the doctrine of hell, it would be, I think, my first recommendation—in part because it’s not a book on hell. It is, but it’s much more than that. It’s a book on God’s justice. And God’s mercy. It’s a book on salvation and judgment, heaven and hell, election and choice. It answers why Jesus had to die and why he didn’t save everyone. Clotfelter rightly sees that you can’t answer any of these questions in isolation from the whole storyline of Scripture and the whole tapestry of faith.
It’s also written with a winsome, pastoral spirit, even including prayers at the end of each chapter. I remember being quite affected by it when I read it several years ago.
Here were two blurbs written for the book:
“Sinners in the Hands of a Good God is a wonderfully clear, readable, understandable study of the sovereignty of God and the problem of evil. David Clotfelter powerfully expounds the biblical doctrines of sin and grace—something desperately needed in a generation when both concepts have become terribly vague and confused in most people’s minds.”—John MacArthur
“One of the most winsome, discerning and compelling presentations of the seriousness of sin and the grace of God. It is among the few potentially life-changing books—to believe it and live a careless Christian life should be an impossibility.”—Iain H. Murray
I just checked at Amazon and at time of writing they have the book marked as a “bargain price” at 67% off, so you can get it for $6.32 (67% off).