2015 Reading Log: Taking God at His Word

DeYoung, Kevin. Taking God at His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough and What That Means for You and Me.

Taking God at His Word defends the four major attributes of Scripture (using the helpful acronym SCAN): sufficiency, clarity, authority, and necessity. It’s a brief book (129 pages, including an appendix of recommended reading and general and scripture indices), and it’s one I will no doubt be recommending to others in the future.

The middle chapters of the book explain those four characteristics, using key passages of Scripture in each. DeYoung writes with a helpful clarity; he writes without the condescending atmosphere of big words and theological weight-throwing. These four chapters are followed by a chapter showing us what Jesus’ view of the Scriptures was (and is).

These chapters are a treasure trove of truth, but for me the beginning and ending chapters are the real treasure of this book. A common approach to the doctrine of Scripture is to move from head to heart–that is, to unload a barrage of theology and truth about the Bible and then say, “Here, love this!” Taking God at His Word takes the opposite approach: DeYoung begins with Psalm 119, which is a celebration of how wonderful God’s Word is, and each chapter becomes another entry in a heartfelt expression of “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…”

I want all that is in Psalm 119 to be an expression of all that is in our heads and in our hearts. … Psalm 119 is the explosion of praise made possible by an orthodox and evangelical doctrine of Scripture (15-16).

Every expression of the psalmist’s delight in the word of God, desire for the word of God, and dependence on the word of God [in Psalm 119] presupposes that every word of the word of God, whether spoken or written, is breathed out by God Himself. If the view of inspiration taught in 2 Timothy 3:16 were not already assumed, Psalm 119 would be tantamount to idolatry (111).

I’ve often told the story of a friend who went on a field trip during high school in which inclement weather changed their plans from going to a park to the bowling alley. Before disembarking from the bus, the chaperone told them, “You will bowl, and you will like it, too!” This is the way we teach doctrines all too often: “You will know this, and you will love it, too!” Kevin DeYoung gives us a compelling model for teaching and loving doctrine in this book; he says, “Come with me, and let me show you why I love this, and why you can, too.”

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