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Is the Bible reliable, authoritative, or even necessary? DeYoung tackles these questions and more as he builds a compelling case for trusting and relying on Scripture as the Word of God for all of life.
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About the Author
Kevin DeYoung (MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He serves as a council member at the Gospel Coalition and blogs at DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed. He is assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte) and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. He is the author of several books, including Just Do Something; Crazy Busy; and The Biggest Story. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Knowable, Necessary, and Enough I’ve heard it many times and from the most unexpected sources: “I try to read the Bible, but . . . it doesn’t seem to say anything to me. I don’t understand what I’m reading. It doesn’t help me, so I end up quitting . . “ Set this response beside David’s from Psalm 119: 129 Your testimonies are wonderful; Therefore my soul keeps them. 130 The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple. 131 I opened my mouth and panted, For I longed for Your commandments. The question Kevin DeYoung poses (and rigorously answers) in Taking God at His Word is this: How does one go from Ho Hum (response #1) to Whole Hearted (response #2)? If the goal of life is Psalm 119-zeal, what are the pre-requisites for getting there? The truth is that, without exception, every woman I have heard confessing her lackluster response to the Word of God would pass any test for orthodoxy. She would affirm that the Word of God is true, that what it demands of us is good, and that what it provides is also good. It’s the feeling and the doing components that are missing in their lives. There’s no delight: “My soul keeps Your testimonies, and I love them exceedingly,” (Psalm 110:167). There’s no desire: “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law,” (Psalm 119:18). There’s no dependency: “I cling to Your testimonies!” (Psalm 119:31). It is Kevin DeYoung’s goal to bring belief, feeling, and action together – not with a checklist (heaven, help us!), but with Truth. What does the Bible say about itself that will convince the reluctant and indifferent reader to dig in and spend time in the Word? For starters, we need a foundation of trust. “You will not find anything more sure” than the written Word of God. Then, using the memorable acronym, S-C-A-N, Taking God at His Word sets forth the attributes of Scripture that demonstrate why it’s worth your mind’s attention and your heart’s affection: Sufficiency I struggled off and on for years with the high-handed notion that I would rather hear from God through more personal and direct communication than I find in His written Word. Hebrews 1 reveals that God has spoken to us through the Old Testament and, then, gloriously, through His Son, who is His final Word and Revelation. J.I. Packer elaborates: “While this kind of ‘immediate’ revelation has ceased, we should allow for ‘mediate’ revelation whereby God gives us new insights and applications — sometimes in surprising ways — but always through Scripture.” This is HUGE in relation to relevance, because the times when I question the relevance of a book which claims to provide all that I need “for life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3) are the times when my life is . . . not exactly focused on godliness. “The doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture invites us to open our Bibles to hear the voice of God.” Clarity God has spoken truth in story, in poetry, in apocalyptic style, and even in didactic correspondence. Before Scripture was available as it is today, Moses was reminding Israel that God bends over backwards to communicate with His people. While some portions of the Bible are clearer than others (anyone read Ezekiel lately?), the main teaching points for knowledge, belief, and action are spelled out transparently. Furthermore, if a topic is hazy in one context, it is made plain elsewhere. So, a PhD in theology is a nice thing to have, but certainly not necessary in orde
Kevin DeYoung, in Taking God At His Word, does what he is very good at: helping make important topics understandable for almost any reader. The subtitle of Taking God At His Word, “Why the Bible is knowable, necessary, and enough, and what that means for you and me,” hits at exactly what this 124-page book is focused on. Then, helpfully, for those who are further interested in this topic, the appendix includes a list of thirty books that he considers “The Best Books on the Good Book.” Chapter Titles (in order) include: Believing, Feeling, Doing; Something More Sure; God’s Word Is Enough; God’s Word Is Clear; God’s Word Is Final; God’s Word Is Necessary; Christ’s Unbreakable Bible; and Stick With the Scriptures. Essentially, DeYoung seeks to back up the titles, helping the Christian reader to see why and how all of these are true. Pleasantly, DeYoung opens the book with scripture itself. In chapter 1, DeYoung begins with the conclusion of the book. He looks at Psalm 119 and concludes that there are “at least three essential, irreducible characteristics we should believe about God’s word” (17). They are as follows: “God’s word says what is true,” “God’s word demands what is right,” and “God’s word provides what is good.” Yet DeYoung, rightly, includes that the psalmist not only believes that the word of God is the above three things, but that we are to delight in it, desire it, and depend on it. Then, not only are Christians to believe it and feel a certain way about it, but they are also to do certain things with it. Psalm 119, DeYoung deducts, illustrates many different ways of using scripture: Singing it, speaking it, studying it, storing it up, obeying it, praising God for it, and praying that God would act according to it. Closing the book, DeYoung says, “Ultimately we can believe the Bible because we believe in the power and wisdom and goodness and truthfulness of the God whose authority and veracity cannot be separated from the Bible. We trust the Bible because it is God’s Bible. And God being God, we have every reason to take him at his word” (124).
Taking God At His Word, by Michigan Presbyterian pastor, Kevin DeYoung, is a good, well rounded and above all pastoral approach to explaining, teaching and encouraging others with the doctrines regarding the Bible. This is a short work, and in eight chapters, DeYoung can only hope to overview his subject and its challenges and applications in contemporary Christian life. As an teaching, this work should be particularly challenging for those having come through mainline or even neo-orthodox teaching. DeYoung clearly expounds on the classical Protestant teaching of the sufficiency and clarity of the Bible. For Christians who come from more evangelical and conservative backgrounds, particularly on an individual level, DeYoung speaks in a way that is pastoral and points to how the doctrines of Scripture apply to everyday life. He is particularly keen to show that the Bible is Sufficient, Clear, Authoritative and Necessary in ways that are out of the abstract and have real meaning in the life of the Christian. In this sense, he works to create an accessible book that can be read in a few sittings, or even devotionally, or for group study. For many Christians looking for good teaching about the use and application of the Bible, and the confidence they can have in it, this should be a great resource.