September 3, 2014

Can We Take God at His Word?

So this takes the prize as the first book I read on my recent holiday. There is no particular reason it worked out that way. I merely woke up, reached out and picked up the first book from the pile on my bedside cabinet and it turned out to be this bad boy. 

With a cup of tea in one hand and a seat by the window overlooking Ben Nevis, I began to settle down for a couple of hours reading before the rest of the house awakened.

The sub-heading (I’m sure there’s a literary name for it that someone will inform me about on Twitter) is: Why the Bible is worth knowing trusting and loving? So, it already sounded like a winner to be honest!

This book is only 8 chapters long and built around the foundation of Psalm 119. DeYoung’s point, made clear at the start, is that we can absolutely trust the Bible in our day and age. He reminds us that:

1. God’s Word says what is true (Ps. 119:42; 142). Everything in our culture can be manipulated and faked, but the Bible is entirely trustworthy. It never changes, it contains no corruption, and its rules never get old and wear out.
2. God’s Word demands what is right (Ps. 119:75; 86; 128).
3. God’s Word provides what is good (Ps. 119:1–2; 6; 9; 24; 28; 98–100; 130).

But, DeYoung insists, we must not stop at believing mere facts about the Bible. We must consider our feelings too.

1. The Psalmist delights in it (Ps. 119:14; 24; 47; 70; 77; 143; 174). “To be sure, the Bible can feel dull at times, but taken as a whole, it is the greatest story ever told, and those who know it best are usually those who delight in it most.” (p.19)
2. The Psalmist desires it (Ps. 119:5; 10; 17; 20; 40; 131).
3. The Psalmist depends on it (Ps. 119:31; 50; 52). Jesus believed in the Scriptures and his disciples should do likewise. All that the Psalmist feels about the Word is how we should feel about the Word incarnate.

What I really appreciate about this book is its straightforward simplicity. It’s not trying too hard to be clever or unique. It’s not dumbed down but nor is it so technical that it leaves you scratching your head wondering what is going on. He reminds us that:

1. The Bible is the Word of God (2 Pet. 1:16–21).
2. It’s divinity is not nullified through use of human authors (2 Pet. 1:21).
3. The Bible is without error (2 Pet. 1:20). 

We live in a (Christian) world that cries out for ‘more’ of God, but DeYoung helpfully reminds us that the Bible is all sufficient, understandable, finally authoritative and more than enough to point us to salvation. In fact, in Jesus we have the superior Word of God through which he speaks to the world in these final days. The Bible and Jesus are distinct but, he reminds us, they are also inseparable. God does continue to speak to us today, but we must understand that it cannot be new revelation. That is finally complete in Jesus. “Scripture is enough because the work of Christ is enough. They stand or fall together.” (p.52)

One chapter that stood out for me was around the clarity of God’s word. This is important for us in schemes. To many, the Bible is a closed book only read and understood by priests and experts. But we are reminded that the Bible and the Holy Spirit are all that is necessary for even the simplest to understand God’s divine revelation. Very often the Bible is only confusing because we make it so.

The latter chapters talk of how Jesus viewed the Bible, and are a helpful reminder yet again of how much we can trust both him and the revealed word. “Jesus held Scripture in the highest possible esteem. He knew his Bible intimately and loved it deeply. He often spoke with the language of Scripture.” (p.109) He ends the book by offering us 30 works to help us better appreciate the topic.

A great little book which will strengthen our love for Jesus and our trust in God and his Word. In case there is any doubt: Yes, we can take God at his Word.

Worth a tickle this one.

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