Book Review – Taking God At His Word

Taking God at His WordI just finished reading Taking God At His Word by Kevin DeYoung (2014). The book’s sub-title: Why the bible is knowable, necessary, and enough, and what that means for you and me. This is an excellent book on the doctrine of scripture. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know if the bible is sufficient and effective for the Christian life.

This book is all about the bible we Christians have but this short book is not a study on hermeneutics or an apologetic defense on the reliability of the bible. This book is simply a book about what the bible says about itself and why we should embrace the bible as our authority. He says:

You can’t establish the supreme authority of your supreme authority by going to some other lesser authority. Yes, the logic is circular, but no more so than the secularist defending reason by reason or the scientist touting the authority of science based on science. (24)

DeYoung believes that the best way to increase your confidence in the bible is to spend more time in the bible. What you can discover in scripture alone is sufficient to allow one to embrace God’s word and the gospel it holds.

DeYoung wants the reader to love God’s word as much as the psalmist of Psalm 119. In that psalm, almost every verse gives praise to scripture. The psalmist constantly delights, desires and depends on God’s every word. Is scripture really worthy of so much praise? To help you answer that question with a “Yes! Yes! Yes!”, DeYoung goes over seven points about the bible:

  1. The inerrancy of scripture based on 2 Peter 1:16-21
  2. The sufficiency of scripture based on Hebrews 1:1-4
  3. The clarity of scripture based on Deuteronomy 30:11-14
  4. The authority of scripture based on Acts 17:1-15
  5. The necessity of scripture based on 1 Corinthians 2:6-13
  6. The infallibility of scripture based on John 10:35-36
  7. The inspiration of scripture based on 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Looking at scripture from each of these angles helps answer questions like:

  • Do we have to believe every verse in the bible?
  • Do we even need the bible to be Christian?
  • What is the bible all about?
  • Is the bible enough for daily living?
  • Can we really understand all of scripture?
  • What should we think about the bible?
  • What did Jesus believe about scripture?

I think being able to answer these questions can really help a Christian move forward in their faith. When you understand these powerful attributes of the bible, there are very practical implications for Christians as DeYoung points out:

Counselors can counsel meaningfully because Scripture is sufficient. Bible study leaders can lead confidently because Scripture is clear. Preachers can preach with boldness because their biblical text is authoritative. And evangelists can evangelize with urgency because the Scripture is necessary. (92)

That’s certainly why I love scripture. It not only offers salvation and tells me who God is; scripture empowers me to share it with others in all circumstances, with clarity, boldness, and urgency.

I think DeYoung accomplishes what he set out to do with this book. He helps you see that scripture is wonderful and worthy of your devotion. This book is short, witty yet not quite as accessible as I was expecting but DeYoung clearly knows what he is talking about. This book might not be for the new Christian but it is perfect for mature Christians to learn how to talk to new Christians on the doctrine of scripture.

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