There are certain theological topics that can be stated as being of foremost importance. Among those which should fall into that category are studies on the Godhead, the Church, and events that will precede and encompass the final days of humanity on earth as it exists today. Subsumed within those “big ideas” are a number of other discussion points which on their own right deserve a great deal of attention. When it comes to matters of doctrine, the Godhead, the Church, and events of the last days are right up at the top.
Recognizing this, noted pastor Martyn Lloyd-Jones delivered a series of lectures on matters of doctrine. These lectures served as the basis for what would become the three volume series written by Jones aptly called Great Doctrines of the Bible. Crossway Books has thankfully encapsulated all three volumes into one handy volume, thus providing a compendium and comprehensive tool for readers to engage when studying the aforementioned issues of the faith.
This is quite a collection and given together these three volumes run just short of 1000 pages, it will make for many hours of enjoyable reading. I have longed enjoyed the overall style of how Lloyd-Jones approaches Scripture as he is an excellent combination of theological acuity and practical application, both born out of the heart of a pastor for his flock.
Lloyd-Jones saliently begins his discussion of these great doctrines by rightly noting, “The Bible is a book which has a very definite objective. All its teaching is designed to a certain end; it is concerned with putting before us its doctrines, the particular truths which it wants to emphasize and to impress upon the minds of all of us.” These truths weave their way throughout Scripture and being able to recognize how they tie the entirety of Scripture into a coherent and consistent message that focuses on the gospel is of utmost importance. Lloyd-Jones contribution found in these three volumes is a marvelous and necessary guide to help believers root themselves and to understand these vital truths.
His theological methodology is founded in a love for and in the authority of the Bible. He does recognize that at times a variety of theological opinions exist on matters of doctrine. This is especially true when it comes to eschatology (doctrine of last things). With that said, he correctly avers “there must be no disputing about the person of Christ, about the miraculous and the supernatural, about the substitutionary death upon the cross and about the literal, physical resurrection. There is no argument there. This is final; this is absolute.” To that I shout a hearty amen.
Lloyd-Jones covers a great deal of doctrinal ground in these three volumes such as the existence and being of God, the moral attributes of God, good angels and the devil and his fallen angels, creation, the fall, sin, redemption, the Godhead, atonement, and matters of eschatology. He discusses all these issues in great detail utilizing as noted earlier a style that is both scholarly and accessible.
I greatly appreciated his discussion on a number of matters, but to note a few specifics, he rightly notes in relation to the topic of sanctification that when the Apostle Paul speaks of us being dead to the law, it does not mean God’s law is no longer important for us today. Conversely, “The law cannot touch you. Christ has died, He is the end of the law once and forever for sin. So the law has nothing more to say to me by way of condemnation.” He also states that the law continues to define sin and outlines how we are to live in obedience to Christ. Lloyd-Jones wonderfully declares, “We are married to Christ and we ought to bring forth the fruit of a good and a sanctified life.”
There is much to appreciate in this collection of theological truth. Martyn Lloyd-Jones has provided a tremendous treasure trove of vital biblical truths, one which I will return to many times in the future. His ability to relay deep theological doctrine in a way that can be appreciated and understood by both scholar and layman is a true gift. Moreover, his underlying aim was not only to share doctrine, but also to help the reader incorporate these truths into everyday life. These volumes are dripping with that approach and thus I highly recommend this collection for all believers.