Book Review: Taking God at His Word




I am so grateful that God put people in my life that treasure God’s word.  Those people were in my life long before I even knew the Lord as my Savior.  Once I came to Christ as a 15 year old, God used those people with whom I already had a relationship to cultivate in me a desire to know Him more.  I have so often been guilty of reading God’s word at a surface level just to check it off the list of things that Christians do.  In that, I have wasted so much time and missed so many opportunities to love God more.  The best part…it’s not over yet, so there is still time to dive in!

A few years ago, a great friend of our family suddenly passed away.  Tim was a young man with a wife and kids that loved him and tons of friends and a line of people who could say they were much better off for having known Tim.  He loved Jesus and he was a remarkable teacher, coach, and overall investor in people.  When he headed out for a run, he had no idea that he wouldn’t make it home.  His death shook many of us, but his deep love for Jesus provided peace beyond understanding in a way that I had not known before.  At Tim’s funeral, one of our pastors stood up and was holding Tim’s Bible.  He shared that he spent time looking through Tim’s Bible trying to find a favorite passage or verse.  This pastor concluded that upon looking through Tim’s Bible full of notes, stars, underlines, and other markings…that the whole thing was Tim’s favorite part.  That gripped my heart and my soul.  My days are numbered…but I don’t know the number.  One day, I will close my eyes on earth for the last time and open them for the first time in heaven.  At that time, my prayer and deepest desire is that Clint, Emma, and Eli will look to Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, for comfort and peace.  As I sat at Tim’s funeral almost 3 years ago, God radically changed my desire for His word and caused me to hunger and thirst for His truth in a way that I’d not experienced before.  I know my friend Tim and his family well enough to know that would be a legacy that Tim would be proud of…that his life caused me to love Jesus more and to want to know Jesus more deeply.

Kevin DeYoung’s book Taking God at His Word is an excellent resource to put in the hands of anyone that desires to understand God’s word in a new and deeper way.  I have the privilege of serving a large community of high school students.  This is a book that I am going to be putting in the hands of our students that desire to know God’s word more deeply…those that have questions…those that don’t know anything about Scripture…those that are misguided about Scripture…and those that fall anywhere else in that spectrum.  This book is a great resource for a new believer or even a long time believer that has grown stale in this area.  God’s word is living and active…let’s not miss that!

I highlighted several things while reading this book and have posted my notes below.  I often have people who ask my reading strategy in light of highlighting and posting notes.  I typically read print books and highlight with a Sharpie Accent Highlighter (just in the case you are as OCD about things as I am).  Once I finish reading, I sit down and type all of my highlights into Evernote so that I have a file for each books I’ve read.  I’ve been doing this for the past several years and it’s an awesome resource since Evernote allows me to easily search my notes.  After I type my notes into Evernote, I convert those notes into my blog.  Hopefully this proves to be a good resource for you, but it’s a great accountability measure for me to make sure that I keep reading.

  • My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly.  Psalm 119:167
  • I want all that is in Psalm 119 to be an expression of all that is in our heads and in your hearts.
  • I want to convince you that the Bible makes no mistakes, can be understood, cannot be overturned, and is the most important word in your life, the most relevant things you can read each day.
  • God’s word says what is true.  God’s word demands what is right.  God’s word provides what is good.
  • Every true Christian should feel deep in his bones an utter dependence on God’s self-revelation in the Scriptures.  Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4).
  • There is no better way to understand and come to embrace a biblical doctrine of Scripture than to open the cage and let Scripture out.
  • “For the time is coming,” Paul warns, “when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
  • The authority of God’s word resides in the written text — the words, the sentences, the paragraphs —of Scripture, not merely in our existential experience of the truth in our hearts.
  • The divine authorship of the Scriptures does not preclude the use of active human instrumentation, just as human participation does not render the Scriptures any less perfect and divine.
  • Scripture did not come from the will of man; it came from God.  And if it is God’s word then it must all be true, for in him there can be no error or deceit.
  • There is no more authoritative declaration than what we find in the word of God, no firmer ground to stand on, no “more final” argument that can be spoken after Scripture has spoken.
  • You can think too highly of your interpretations of Scripture, but you cannot think too highly of Scripture’s interpretation of itself.  You can exaggerate your authority in handling the Scriptures, but you cannot exaggerate the Scriptures’ authority to handle you.  You can use the word of God to come to wrong conclusions, but you cannot find any wrong conclusions in the word of God.
  • God’s word is final; God’s word is understandable; God’s word is necessary; and God’s word is enough.
  • “The sacred and divinely inspired Scriptures are sufficient for the exposition of the truth.” Athanasius
  • Redemption reveals.  Revelation redeems.
  • Scripture is enough because the work of Christ is enough.  They stand or fall together.  The Son’s redemption and the Son’s revelation must both be sufficient.
  • If we learn to read the Bible down (into our hearts), across (the plot line of Scripture), out (to the end of the story), and up (to the glory of God in the face of Christ), we will find that every bit of the Bible is profitable for us.
  • “What kind of God would reveal his love and redemption in terms so technical and concepts so profound that only an elite corps of professional scholars could understand them?” R.C. Sproul
  • God’s people should be testing everything against God’s word.
  • The doctrine of the necessity of Scripture reminds us of our predicament: the One we need to know most cannot be discovered on our own.  And it assures us of a solution: this same ineffable One has made himself known through his word.
  • We need the revelation of God to know God, and the only sure, saving, final, perfect revelation of God is found in Scripture.
  • God’s word is final.  God’s word is understandable.  God’s word is necessary.  God’s word is enough.
  • Jesus submitted his will to the Scriptures, committed his brain to studying the Scriptures, and humbled his heart to obey the Scriptures.  The Lord Jesus, God’s Son and our Savior, believed his Bible was the word of God down to the sentences, to the phrases, to the words, to the smallest letter, to the tiniest specks—and that nothing in all those specks and in all those books in his Holy Bible could ever be broken.
  • But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:14-17
  • Only in Scripture do we encounter the fullness of God’s self-disclosure.  Only in Scripture do we find the good news of the forgiveness of sins.  Only in Scripture can we be led to believe in Jesus Christ and, by believing, have life in his name.
  • In a world that prizes the new, the progressive, and the evolved, we need to be reminded that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

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