A theological tour de force. A magnum opus. A breath-taking panorama that leaves the reader in awe. These are only a few descriptions of Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth by John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue.
The book is arranged as one might expect, according to the various branches of systematic theology:
- God’s Word: Bibliology
- God the Father: Theology Proper
- God the Son: Christology
- God the Holy Spirit: Pneumatology
- Man and Sin: Anthropology and Hamartiology
- Salvation: Soteriology
- Angels: Angelology
- The Church: Ecclesiology
- The Future: Eschatology
A comprehensive glossary is included which helps beginning students with cumbersome theological language. Also included is an excellent topical and Scriptural index for instant access to this treasure trove.
Each branch of theology is carefully explained and biblically defended. Opposing views are highlighted and refuted with grace and tact. MacArthur and Mayhue never leave the reader guessing. As such, there is never a hint of ambiguity here.
Several terms characterize Biblical Doctrine. These terms will either attract or repel readers, but will nonetheless provide a helpful template for evaluating the prospect of plopping down almost $50.00 for a book!
- Biblical – This book is literally drowning in Scripture. Anyone familiar with MacArthur’s writing, in particular, will not be surprised to find a dogmatic edge. But dogmatism undergirded by humility and informed by Scripture is surely a path worth tracing out.
- Evangelical – This book is guided by a commitment to the gospel. Look elsewhere for a pragmatic approach. Readers will be blessed by the relentless pursuit of Jesus and his resplendent glory.
- Orthodox – This book is committed to historic orthodoxy, which is grounded by a literal, grammatical hermeneutic. Liberalism is soundly defeated and relegated to the ash heap.
- Reformed– This book is informed by the infrastructure of the Reformers of the sixteenth century. Weaving throughout this volume is a commitment to grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, Scripture alone, and to God alone be the glory.
John MacArthur helpfully sums up the essence of the Reformed faith:
“It is the marvel of marvels that the King of kings, whose glory is exalted above the heavens, should lift a finger to rescue even one of such vile traitors as the sons of Adam. Then to learn that this infinitely worthy King has purposed to redeem not one but countless multitudes at the cost of the life of his own dear Son bows the sinner’s heart in humble wonder.”
I cannot recommend Biblical Doctrine highly enough. It is an outstanding addition to the growing number of books committed to teaching systematic theology. Students will be challenged and stretched; spiritual growth will no doubt occur as they pour over the many pages of this tome. But most significantly, their hearts and minds will be drawn to worship and glorify the Triune God. Soli Deo Gloria!