Kevin DeYoung – Taking God At His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me
Can we trust the Bible completely?
Is it sufficient for our complicated lives?
Can we really know what it teaches?
With his characteristic wit and clarity, award-winning author Kevin DeYoung has written an accessible introduction to the Bible that answers important questions raised by Christians and non-Christians. This book will help you understand what the Bible says about itself and the key characteristics that contribute to its lasting significance.
Avoiding technical jargon, this winsome volume will encourage you to read and believe the Bible—confident that it truly is God’s Word.
“My trust in God’s Word is greater, my submission to God’s Word is deeper, and my love for God’s Word is sweeter as a result of reading this book. For these reasons, I cannot recommend it highly enough.”
—David Platt, Senior Pastor, The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham, Alabama; author, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream
“This little book is a highly readable introduction to Scripture’s teaching about Scripture that preserves the contours of a responsible and informed doctrine of Scripture, without getting bogged down in arcane details. Buy this book by the case and distribute copies to elders, deacons, Sunday school teachers, and anyone in the church who wants to understand a little better what the Bible is. Bad doctrine springs in part from ignorance. Blessed are those teachers and preachers in the church who, like the author of this book, combat ignorance by getting across mature theology in a lucid style that avoids generating theological indigestion.”
—D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“One of my prayers for the next twenty years of ministry, if the Lord sees fit to grant me that, is that we might see the level of biblical literacy exponentially grow. For that to happen we must learn what the Scriptures are and how heavily we can lean on them. Kevin DeYoung serves this end well in Taking God At His Word. May the God of the Word be known and cherished all the more because of this little book.”
—Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor, The Village Church, Dallas, Texas; President, Acts 29 Church Planting Network
More Endorsements Below
Kevin DeYoung lays out the topic of Biblical authority and necessity beautifully. After laying out both his premise and the point in which he hopes all readers conclude (with a strong love for God’s Word, just as that of the Psalmist), Kevin DeYoung walks systematically through issues of Scriptural authority.
The following are the topics that Kevin DeYoung approaches:
- God’s Word is Enough
- God’s Word is Clear
- God’s Word is Final
- God’s Word is Necessary
- God’s Unbreakable Bible
There are chapters both before and after that act as bookends to this systematic approach that DeYoung lays out. The opening portion of the book, like I said, lays out the place in which DeYoung hopes that his readers end up. A place in which their faith is stirred and their belief results in action. That which DeYoung uses as the closing “bookend” are chapters concerning Christ’s perspective of the Bible and an exhortation to stick with the study of God’s Word.
My Thoughts & Review
This is a hot, very hot topic right now. With the growth of the “emergent church” and the ideas that surround that following, it was only a matter of time before the Gospel-Centered crowd produced a book on the authority of Scripture. This is a topic that is being attacked from every angle, from the “higher” academic field to the “lowly” positions of the pastorate. The questions that need answered are How authoritative is the Bible?, Is the Bible God’s very word and, if so, how do you reconcile that fallible men penned these divine words?, and What did Jesus himself think of what we now understand to be the Scriptures? Like I said, very hot topics indeed.
Why are they such important questions to ask? Well, our theology and as a result the way in which we live our lives all stems from what we think of the Holy Bible. How we describe the Bible defines what ideas do we adhere to and ultimately who we think God is. That’s kind of a big deal!
I will say that this book is solid. It is a great survey of highly debated issues and it is a survey that reaffirms faith rather than walking readers through the variety of distracting viewpoints that are whispered throughout churches across the globe. My point? If you’ve read anything from me before on highly debated issues, you’ll find that I land in the exact same place — keep the main things the plain things and the plain things the main things. And that is a practice that Kevin DeYoung carries out perfectly. He says at the front that this isn’t a weighty discussion but one to encourage, exhort, and bring his readers back to the reality that the Bible is enough and truth is never-changing (in this world of opinions).
If you’re interested in this topic of biblical authority and the inspiration of Scripture, I’d encourage you to start the conversation here (especially since, at the close of his book, Kevin DeYoung gives you resources to continue your research). DeYoung provides his readers with a down to earth approach to a very divisive issue in the church.
“If you’re looking for a clearly and simply stated doctrine of Scripture, here it is. Kevin DeYoung has accomplished his aim of communicating what the Bible says about the Bible. He’s done it with the qualities we have come to anticipate from him: efficiency, pastoral care, wit, and rigor. Most of all, he has let the Word speak for itself.”
—Kathleen B. Nielson, Director of Women’s Initiatives, The Gospel Coalition
“In eight brief, easy-to-read chapters, DeYoung lays out beautifully the classic evangelical understanding of the nature and importance of the Bible in the life of the believer. Particularly helpful are the chapters on the sufficiency and clarity of Scripture, showing us why the Bible is enough and how its basic teaching can be understood by every reader. These are two key points. If we do not believe the Bible to be enough and that its teaching is clear, then we will be carried here and there by every wind of doctrine. I urge you to buy your own copy and read it. There is important teaching here.”
—Carl R. Trueman, Pastor, Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Ambler, Pennsylvania; Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary; author, The Creedal Imperative
“Attacks on the nature and authority of the Word of God have continued, unabated, since the serpent spoke to Eve. DeYoung’s book is the best place to start for anyone who wants to understand how properly to think about Scripture, and why it must be affirmed as God’s self-attesting authority.”
—K. Scott Oliphint, Professor of Apologetics and Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary; author, Covenantal Apologetics
“This is the book I will be handing out to those searching for true spirituality, those who want to hear a special word from God, and to those who want an improved knowledge of God. Kevin DeYoung convincingly teaches that God has adequately spoken to his people. Taking God At His Word is an accessible defense of the doctrine of Scripture, from Scripture, aiming to renew our trust and delight in God’s Word.”
—Aimee Byrd, author, The Housewife Theologian
“This is a brilliant, succinct, yet thorough study of the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, based on what Scripture says about itself. Clarity and passion are the distinguishing marks of Kevin DeYoung’s writing, and this may be his finest, most important work yet.”
—John MacArthur, Pastor, Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California
“The longer I do ministry, the more I appreciate a truly simple book—a book that rightly orients me to reality; a book that says important things in accessible words; a book worth taking to heart; a book written to care for the reader’s soul; a book that helps to change how you live. Taking God At His Word is simple. It will help you know what you believe and why. It clarifies the foundation for all practical ministry. Because the Bible is God’s own saving Word, you have something helpful to share with others who hurt, who struggle, who stray, who find life confusing.”
—David Powlison, Executive Director, Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation
About the Author
Kevin DeYoung (MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is senior pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan. He blogs at the Gospel Coalition and has authored or coauthored numerous well-known books such as Just Do Something and The Hole in Our Holiness, as well as the award-winning books Why We’re Not Emergent and Why We Love the Church (with Ted Kluck).