Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Book Review - Taking God at His Word

Kevin DeYoung wants to convince you with his latest book, Taking God At His Word.
I want to convince you (and make sure I'm convinced myself) that the Bible makes no mistakes, can be understood, cannot be overturned, and is the most important word in your life, the most relevant thing you can read each day.
In eight chapters and under 150 pages, DeYoung presents an introduction to the doctrine of God's word. After an introductory chapter, he deals with God's word as revelation, its sufficiency, its clarity, its authority, and its necessity. He spends a chapter examining what Jesus believed about Scripture, and then closes with an exhortation from II Timothy 3:16-17 to continue in the Word. This is a book about what God's word says about itself. DeYoung's presupposition is that God exists and this word is his revelation to us.

This is not an overly technical book, but neither is it simplistic. The explanations are clear and concise without being cumbersome or dry. It would be manageable enough for a student to read, and excellent for a group to study. Crossway has a downloadable study guide here.

I hesitate to throw around the phrase, "must read," but this book is one I would dare to give such a label. In addition to laying a solid foundation for the doctrine of the Scripture, it includes a list of resources, both classic and contemporary, for further study. There is lots packed into this brief volume. And to make my cup runneth over, he uses footnotes as opposed to end notes.

Perhaps it seems unnecessary to study the doctrine of Scripture. Don't all Christians have similar beliefs regarding God's word? Absolutely not. Sad to say, some would tell you that it doesn't matter what you believe about the Bible, all we must do is love Jesus; only his words must be considered. It is that issue which DeYoung addresses in Chapter 7. He makes it quite clear that if we really love Jesus, we will share his beliefs regarding Scripture:
Jesus believed in the inspiration of Scripture - all of it. He accepted chronology, the miracles, and the authorial ascriptions as giving the straightforward facts of history. He believed in keeping the spirit of the law without ever minimizing the letter of the law. he affirmed the human authorship of Scripture while at the same time bearing witness to the ultimate divine authorship of the Scriptures. He treated the Bible as a necessary word, a sufficient word, a clear word, and the final word. It was never acceptable in his mind to contradict Scripture or stand above Scripture.
I thought Chapter 7 was one of the best. I have seen others attempt to pit Jesus against the Bible writers, as if they were saying two different things. Perhaps it sounds more spiritual to say, "I just follow Jesus." Well, if you say that but don't recognize the importance of Scripture, you just might not know Jesus as well as you think you do.

I realize that I was biased before I read this book. I did not really need convincing. But there are those who do need it. This little book is a good tool to help that process along. Questioning the Scripture or doubting the Scripture has gained a lot of popularity in recent days. This book flies in the face of that notion, because it capably demonstrates that we can indeed take God at his word.

1 comment:

  1. I think I’ll order this for the church library — and read it myself, too, of course.