Few issues are as important as the doctrine of Scripture. From the issue of biblical illiteracy, and to the continual assault on the authority and sufficiency of the Bible—the Church over the course of its 2014 years has risen to meet challenges to the doctrine of Scripture by showing the importance of its message—the Gospel. In his new book Taking God At His Word: Why The Bible is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means For You and Me, Pastor and popular author Kevin DeYoung writes to help his readers “believe what the Bible says about itself, to feel what we should about the bible, and to get us doing what we ought to do with the Bible” (20). He aims not to provide an apologetic defense of the Bible or provide Bible study principles, or even to get into all the philosophical, theological and methodological territory of academic books on this subject. Rather, DeYoung aims to “unpack what the Bible says about the Bible by being simple, uncluttered, straightforward and biblical” (21).
In chapter one, DeYoung starts, as he says, “with the conclusion,” and he takes the reader to Psalm 119. This beginning chapter is “application and the remaining seven chapters of this book as the necessary building blocks so that the conclusions of Psalm 119 are warranted” (14). He clearly states, “Psalm 119 shows us what to believe about the word of God, what to feel about the word of God, and what to do with the word of God” (14). Here he contends that we should believe what God’s Word says is true (15) and should feel deeply in his/her bones an utter dependence on God’s self-revelation in the Scriptures (19). He explains, “Our desire, delight, and dependence on the words of Scripture do not grow inversely to our desire, delight, and dependence on Jesus Christ. The two must always rise together. The most mature Christians thrill to hear every love poem that speaks about the Word made flesh and every love poem that celebrates the words of God” (19).
Chapter two examines 2 Peter 1:16-21 in which he explores the nature of Scripture as the inspired and authorative Word of God. Chapter three examines the sufficiency of Scripture. Chapter four explores the clarity of Scripture. Chapter five examines the authority of Scripture by explaining how the Christian can put themselves under the authority of the Word of God. Chapter six looks at the necessity of the Scripture. Chapter seven explores what Jesus believed about the Bible. The book concludes by explaining why Christians and the Church should stick with teaching and preaching the Word of God in season and out of season.
Why You Should Read This Book
In Bible College and seminary I spent a lot of time reading books on the doctrine of Scripture. I did so, because I wanted to understand why people rejected the conservative position on the Bible. The more, I studied this issue, the more I came to see as DeYoung points out in chapter five, namely that the questions we are seeking to answer boil to down one question, “What is our ultimate authority?”(74) If our final authority for faith and practice is our opinions then we undermine the authority of Scripture. If tradition is our final standard for faith and practice then we’ve undermined the authority of Scripture, as well. Here is where the rubber meets the road, and why I think Taking God At His Word is an important book. DeYoung’s new book is important because what often gets lost in the conversation about the doctrine of Scripture is the lay person. DeYoung writes to explain and elaborate on the doctrine of Scripture from Scripture itself with with the lay person and non-Christian in mind. As he does so, he doesn’t seek to provide an apologetic for why he thinks that but unashamedly goes to the Bible itself- showing what it says about itself in order to help the reader to capture a vision of what the Bible is all about, for the purpose that the reader may believe, feel and obey what the Bible teaches.
Taking God At His Word: Why The Bible is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means For You and Me is an important book for several reasons. Often time’s books on the doctrine of Scripture are so large and weighty that no one but the serious scholar or serious-minded Christian would bother to pick them up and read them. DeYoung in 127 pages provides the reader with the Bible’s view of itself and while doing so doesn’t compromise any of the argument about what the Bible teaches about itself. This is significant because in a book this size it would be easy to skimp over on the teaching of how Jesus viewed the Bible or any other topic for that matter, but the author doesn’t do that. Rather, DeYoung takes the reader deep into what the Bible says about itself with a view to help the reader understand what the Bible says about itself and the key characteristics that contribute to its lasting significance. I highly recommend this book, and it is my sincere prayer that Pastors and ministry leaders would pick up this book and buy it by the truckloads for their people. The Body of Christ has needed a book like this on the doctrine of Scripture for quite some time, one that helps the reader to know what to believe about the Word of God, what to feel about the Word of God and what to do with the Word of God. I hope and pray this book sells by the truckloads for in doing so, we may see the tide of biblical illiteracy begin to turn and a true delight, hunger and yearning for the teaching of the Word of God take its place.