Taking God at His Word–A Review

Product Details

Kevin DeYoung, Taking God At His Word: Why the Bible is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me (Crossway, 2014).

Summary

Kevin DeYoung’s goal with the book is to get the reader to fully embrace and love the truth in the Word of God. He states, “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.”

Taking God at His Word  is not an defense of why we believe the Bible or how to understand the Bible. It is not a technical academic book. “This is a book unpacking what the Bible says about the Bible. . . . a doctrine of Scripture derived from Scripture itself.”

He sees Psalm 119 as a love song affirming what we can believe, feel, and do with the word of God. The word is true, demands what is right and provides what is good.    We should feel delight in the word (Psalm 119:14, 24, 47, 70, 77, 143, 174), have a love  for it ((119:48, 97, 119, 127, 140, 167), feel a desire to keep it (119:5, 10, 17, 20, 40, 131), and to know and understand it (119:18, 19, 27, 29, 33, 35, 64-66, 74, 124-125, 135, and 169), and depend on it as Jesus did (Deut 8:3; Matthew 4:4).

The certain truth of Scripture is emphasized in the second chapter based on 2 Peter 1:16-21 which identifies two kinds of evidence: eyewitness testimony and authoritative documents. The Bible accounts are not myths. Any view that denies miracles stands at odds with Scripture. “The most important claims of Christianity are historical claims, and on the facts of history the Christian religion must stand or fall.”

Peter’s passage teaches three truths about Scripture:

1. Scripture is the word of God. The prophetic word refers to God’s revelation in Scripture. “The authority of God’s word resides in the written text–the words, the sentences, the paragraphs–of Scripture.”

2. The word of God is no less divine because it is given through human instrumentality.” “God used the intellect, skills, and personality of fallible men to write down what was divine and infallible.” “The divine authorship of the Scriptures does not preclude the use of active human instrumentation, but as human participation does not render the Scriptures any less perfect and divine.”

3. “The Bible is without error.” The source of Scripture is divine not human.”The ultimate authorship of Scripture, Peter informs us, is God himself.” “And if it is God’s word than it must all be true, for in him there can be no error or deceit.” “When we reject inerrancy we put ourselves in judgment over God’s word.”  “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 as spoken.” Continue reading

Heaven Is for Real–What Are We to Think?

Four-year-old Colton Burpo from Imperial, Nebraska, nearly died while having an emergency appendectomy for ruptured appendix. He later reported to his family that he had a supernatural experience in a visit to heaven. He described looking down and observing the doctor operating on him and seeing his father praying in the waiting room. He said he visited with deceased family members and Jesus. He described the Holy Spirit as a bluish image.

A 2010 book Heaven Is Real, published by Thomas Nelson had sold over eight million copies and been translated into twenty-five languages. In anticipation of the Sony Pictures movie version in April 2014, it rose to be the No. l best-selling non-fiction paperback.

What are we to think about near-death, out-of-body experiences, experiences of visions, visits to heaven, and supernatural messages from God?

1. Always judge an experience by Scripture. The Bible is the Word of God and must be our highest authority and final court of appeal on spiritual matters. If the experience contradicts Scripture then realize you have drawn the wrong conclusion from it. Subjective experiences carry a degree of subjectivity.

Truth defines experience. God’s truth in his Word defines spiritual experience. Evaluate the experience. Does the experience or part of it contradict Scripture? Even doing religious experiences like doing miracles did not prove people right with God (Matthew 7:21-23).

 2. Never tell someone that their experience is not real. Even if what a person has experienced is an illusion, their experience is still real. We may have a dream we are falling. We wake up and find we were not actually falling but we had a mental experience of falling. While a person’s experience of the supernatural is real, they may have misinterpreted its meaning.

3. Never decide what God will not do. The exception to this is what God in his Word has said he will not do, e.g. God will not lie or do evil. God is God, we are fallible humans. He may work in new ways unfamiliar to our experience. We must not put God in a box and become an authority on something out of our jurisdiction, namely God’s freedom.

 4. Do not give the experience equal authority with Scripture. If you have had a seemingly supernatural experience that had brought you reassurance, peace, and a closeness o God, thank God for it. Remember to put your confidence in Christ not in that experience. Cults, e.g. Mormonism, and false religions arise because people exalt their experience above Scripture. Jesus Christ and the Word of God constitute the most valid and powerful authority for believing in the reality of heaven.