Kevin DeYoung, the senior pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan who received his M.Div at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, wrote his book Taking God at His Word. This book focuses on the introduction to Bibliology. God’s word, as presented by DeYoung, is sufficient, necessary, clear, and final.
The authority of the Scriptures is obviously a huge part of Taking God at His Word, but what exactly does authority include? DeYoung answers some key questions about what the authority of the Bible really is. His book is divided into eight chapters, which illustrate perfectly the idea of authority.
In Chapter One, DeYoung wishes the reader to have the reverence for the word of God just as the psalmist does. The word of God should so consume a person that they bleed Scripture. He uses Psalm 119 as an example of what the Christian should believe about the Word of God, what they should feel, and what they should do with the word of God. The psalmist has a passion for the Word of God. This should also be the response of any person that cares about what God has to say to them.
The next few chapters explain exactly why the Christian should believe the Word of God. The first reason is because God’s Word is enough. DeYoung states that Scripture contains all the Christian needs for godly living is presented in the Bible. There is no better book to turn to. The Bible also contains the knowledge of salvation. Without Scripture, there is no knowledge of Christ and his work. Nature is not able to convey that to a person, but the Bible can and does.
Holy Scripture is clear. “The saving message of Jesus Christ is plainly taught in the Scriptures and can be understood by all who have ears to hear it.” There is no special key to understanding the words in the Bible. It is not written in a code made to remain secret, but rather it is a gift from God. It is clear to anyone who is willing to read it. There is no need for a Priest to tell the Christian what to get from the text because they can read it for themselves.
Scripture is also authoritative. Because it is authoritative its word is final. It holds weight. The teachings of science or any other human experience can never hold greater weight than the Word of God. This idea also applies to a church or church leader. Whatever they say must align with the Word of God or their words mean nothing.
Finally, Scripture is necessary. General Revelation is a good thing. It declares the glory of God but fails to present salvation to a person. DeYoung states, “We cannot know God savingly by means of personal experience and human reason.” Humans are fallen. Sin has weakened the human condition so much so that humans no longer seek God. The Bible tells a person how to live, though. It tells how to overcome sin. Scripture presents Jesus as the only way to God. Without Scripture, there would be no gospel and no hope.
DeYoung also argues that even Jesus put his trust in the Bible as the living Word of God. Multiple times Christ used the Old Testament to ward off the devil, to rebuke the teachers of the law, or to make a point in a sermon. Christ is the incarnate Word of God. He brought the Word to the people. This shows the importance and authority the Word of God has. The Bible is equal in authority to Christ because it is God’s Word and Jesus affirmed that.
The Word of God is still living today. As I was reading this helpful book on The Book, I questioned my own trust in Scripture with what it really said. Kevin DeYoung’s Taking God at His Word is a marvelous read for all Christians. It has impacted the way that I look at the Bible and how I should feel about it. Scripture is not empty sayings of poetry or old writings. “The word is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.”
The way that the Christian and even non-Christian, views Scripture is important. How sad is it when the Evangelical Church today views the Bible more as inspirational than as the truly Inspired Word of God.
This is what the EFCA has to say about the Bible:
We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.
God has spoken. He has revealed Himself to man through creation and His Word. He has spoken in the Old and New Testaments. He used human authors moving them to write what he willed to be written. Every word is “God-breathed.” The Bible is the complete revelation of God’s will for salvation, through Jesus Christ alone, and is the final authority over all knowledge or deed. Believe it. Obey it. Trust it.
I would recommend this book to anyone wishing to understand the authority of the Bible.