May 12, 2014

Taking God At His Word - A Book Review

I've been on an unplanned hiatus from my blog for a few months while I was wrapping up doctoral work.  Now that it's over, I have had more time to pick up some books I was wanting to read.  Recently, I received an advanced digital copy of Kevin DeYoung's newest book, Taking God At His Word: Why the Bible is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough and What that Means for You and Me.  I was excited to get an advanced copy of the book since DeYoung is one of my favorite new authors.  I have read most of his books so far and found each of them to be solid theologically and exegetically and very practical for the average Christian to read.  DeYoung does a good job mixing in current cultural events, humor, and practical advice into his books.  I recently heard DeYoung speak at Together for the Gospel '14 and his talk was basically out of a couple of chapters of the book.

DeYoung's book is a very important work in an area that is widely overlooked in evangelicalism right now.  The lingering question in the culture and still creeping into the church is "Is the Bible really God's word and does it have any practical relevancy to today's times?"  In my own denomination, the fight for the authority, inerrancy, and sufficiency of Scripture was fought many years ago.  While this question was answered on a national level in the denomination, I don't think the practical implications of it have filtered down into the pews.  While we were busy for many years touting the "inerrancy of Scripture", we were not doing a good job equipping our people on how to better know, understand, and do God's word.

DeYoung's book is a helpful step in that direction.  He does a great job showing that if the Bible is the written record of the words of Almighty God, then how should that affect the way we think, feel, and do what it says.  He also shows with an acrostic the most important attributes of God's word - Sufficiency, Clarity, Authority, and Necessity (SCAN).  DeYoung shows how Jesus not only believed that the Old Testament was the authoritative word of God, but that the words He spoke were also the words of God and these words were tied into his person and plan.  We have a superior word and a superior Savior whose authority backs those words.  Look at this quote from the book:
"Scripture is enough because the work of Christ is enough. They stand or fall together. The Son's redemption and the Son's revelation must both be sufficient. As as such, there is nothing more to be done and nothing more to be known for our salvation and for our Christian walk than what we see and know about Christ and through Christ in his Spirit's book." 
DeYoung takes care in each chapter of the book to bring giant theological truths about God's word down to not only see the doctrines clearer, but also to see the practical implications that these doctrines have on our walk with God, our trust in Scripture, our faithfulness to the gospel, and much more.  The final chapter of the book is a fitting end as it calls the reader to consider the power of God's word in their own personal life as well as it's ability to conform us to Christlikeness and it's practicality for everyday matters.

DeYoung's book is a helpful addition to a subject that has been assumed but not advanced properly in evangelicalism.  We need to recover a beautiful trust and devotion to God's word.  We need to separate it as "the" Word amidst a sea of words that we look to every day.  Most of us have multiple copies of God's word not only on our bookshelves, but on our laptops, tablets, and smartphones.  While we have so many copies of God's word, we have so little conformity to Christ's character.  We must develop a trust and urgency to love God's word again.  Get this book and fall in love with your Bible.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Crossway Books for review and publication on this blog. I was not required to write a positive review of the book or its author.