For some, the thought of reading the Bible can be quite daunting. Many view the Bible as a collection of books they just cannot seem to relate to due to the strange language, events, and people it describes. In an effort to help those who fall into that category as well as people who may even feel they have a good handle on what Scripture has to say appreciate the overall message God has provide in His word, Dr. Mark Dever has written What Does God Want of Us Anyway?: A Quick Overview of the Whole Bible.
This little book is indeed a very quick overview of the entire Bible. Dever’s intent is not to engage every single nuance found throughout Scripture. Conversely, his approach is to provide the reader with a solid background of and insight into God’s message to humanity as revealed in Scripture, namely one of promises made, promises fulfilled, and promises yet to be fulfilled all wrapped up in the great hope we can have in God and His faithfulness to His people.
The three studies provided in this book came about from a series of sermons Dever gave to his church that have been edited into book format. Dever divides this book into “The Message of the Whole Bible”, “The Message of the Old Testament”, and “The Message of the New Testament” with the first two sections further divided into a quick overview, discussions on the particular history being addressed, the passion for holiness exhibited by God, and the promise of hope contained in Scripture. The final section takes a slightly different approach with the focus being the promise of redemption kept through the coming of Christ with additional discussion taking place on the body of Christ, concluding with a notation of the future promise of the final redemption of all things which will take place when Christ returns.
As one who has had the opportunity to read a number of large and small introductions to the message and contents of Scripture, I will submit that despite its somewhat diminutive size in comparison to the larger and more extensive insight of Scripture available on the market today, Dever’s effort is one of my favorite biblical overviews. It is a favorite not due to the number of footnotes (for which there is none), the extensive bibliography (for which there is none), or the interaction with other scholarly works (for which there is very little if any). It is a favorite because of its simplistic profundity, meaning Dever brilliantly captures the overall flow of Scripture in a way that reminds everyone from the most seasoned brilliant theological minds to the newest believer of what exactly God has been up to since the beginning, namely the movement towards redemption. That is the crux of all of Scripture and Dever ably drives home that message at every opportunity.
What is also useful is the overview Dever provides of each book of the Bible. There are many books Christians unfortunately never take time to read and many of those reside in the Minor Prophet section of the Bible. Dever shares a short yet informative overview of every book of Scripture in a way that helps people appreciate how the message of that particular book fits into the greater overarching message of Scripture. If you have never thought about reading Nahum or Habbakuk, after reading Dever’s book I submit you will suddenly find an interest in those oft neglected books.
I highly recommend this book for all believers and I especially recommend that churches keep a large stash of this book available to provide to new believers. This is an excellent tool for new believers to have as they begin their lifelong journey reading God’s Word and appreciating its message of hope.
This book is available for purchase from Crossway Books by clicking here.