“It is a stupendous claim that any book written by human hands is the infallible word of God” (39). The Bible without a doubt is the most polarizing, the most significant, the most widely-read, and the most important book in all of human history. On that, we can all agree, Christian or not. But there’s much gray area we find in churches getting into when it comes to which qualities Scripture does have.
Lately, Evangelicals have felt a lot of the pressure to state their claims unashamedly on what the Bible is, and thankfully, we’ve witnessed a host of theologians and scholars make their defense for the Bible as inerrant, infallible, and authoritative. What has been missing, until A Peculiar Glory is a full-fledged exploration into what the Bible organically is, and the implications for us given what it is.
Thankfully, Dr. John Piper has written a clear, palatable yet rich look into the doctrine of Scripture. John Piper has written extensively on a whole host of topics mainly under the wings of Christian Living and Theology. This is really the first book of its kind from Piper, and the first major publishing from Piper in quite a while. Contemporaries such as D.A. Carson have lots of material on the subject, so I was glad to see Piper make his own contribution.
This main advantage of this book is that it is both aerial-level and ground-level. For example, Part 4 (Chapters 8-17) asks, “How Can We Know the Christian Scriptures Are True?” This was personally my favorite section of the book. It’s a simple and very broad question, one that many of us could ask. And yet, while it’s aerial-level, it also gets ground-level, deeply exploring ways to answer this question with an affirmative “yes.”
The origin of the name of the book (I presume at least) is from this powerful excerpt:
“The Scriptures do not just speak in broad, general terms about the glory of God. They point us to the specific glories of God’s glory. They want us to see the ‘ways’ God is glorious. They lead us to the peculiar glory of God that sets him off from all other Gods” (230).
God’s glory is not only particular and specific but is on display in the Word of God. From Genesis to Revelation, we have the self-attesting Word of God, and Piper seeks to help us see its glory. A Peculiar Glory will go on to become one of Piper’s most remembered books, in my opinion. It weaves together the tasks of apologetics, exegesis, and reflections on the Christian life that present to us an extremely helpful resource on the doctrine of Scripture, for the layperson, the pastor, and the academic alike.