Summary of “Taking God At His Word” By Kevin DeYoung
What does the Bible say about itself?
This is the all-important question Kevin DeYoung seeks to address in this simultaneously short and deep book.
“When we embrace everything the Bible says about itself, then—and only then—will we believe what we should believe about the word of God, feel what we should feel, and do with the word of God what we ought to do.”
DeYoung believes that, “the most effective means for bolstering our confidence in the Bible is to spend time in the Bible.” Because of this the focus of this book is not on outside proofs, but what Scripture says about itself.
1. Scripture is the Word of God.
DeYoung explains, “God used the intellect, skills, and personality of fallible men to write down what was divine and infallible. The Bible is, in one sense, both a human and a divine book.” He is quick to point out that dual authorship does not mean there are errors.
“The dual authorship of Scripture does not necessitate imperfection any more than the two natures of Christ means our Savior must have sinned… And if it is God’s word then it must all be true, for in him there can be no error or deceit. Inerrancy means the word of God always stands over us and we never stand over the word of God.”
It is possible for us to misinterpret Scripture, but if Scripture is properly interpreted it is always true.
“You can think too highly of your interpretations of Scripture, but you cannot think too highly of Scripture’s interpretation of itself… You can use the word of God to come to wrong conclusions, but you cannot find any wrong conclusions in the word of God.”
2. Scripture is Sufficient.
“The Scriptures contain everything we need for knowledge of salvation and godly living.” God has made himself known and there is no need for further special revelation.
“God has spoken by his Son, and this Son is superior to all persons, heavenly beings, institutions, rituals, and previous means of revelation and redemption… Scripture is enough because the work of Christ is enough. They stand or fall together.”
You may ask then, does God still speak to us? DeYoung says, “God still speaks. He is not silent. He communicates with us personally and directly. But this ongoing speech is not ongoing revelation.” We must test anything we hear to see if it fits with what God has said in God’s Word.
Because God’s word is sufficient, we should never add or subtract from it. In reference to the warning at the end of of the book of Revelation, Kevin DeYoung writes,
“This strong admonition, at the end of the whole Bible no less, is a strong reminder that we must not add anything to the Scriptures—to make them better, safer, or more in line with our assumptions—and we must not subtract anything from them, even if experience, academic journals, or the mood of the culture insist that we must.”
The other implication of the sufficiency of Scripture is that it is relevant to all of life. 2 Peter 1:3 tells us that “God has given us all we need for life and godliness.”
3. 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.”
The clarity of Scripture basically means that,“ordinary people using ordinary means can accurately understand enough of what must be known, believed, and observed for them to be faithful Christians.”
God has graciously made himself known through human language. Kevin DeYoung insightfully asks,
“Is God wise enough to make himself known? Is he good enough to make himself accessible? Is he gracious enough to communicate in ways that are understandable to the meek and lowly? Or does God give us commands we can’t understand and a self-revelation that reveals more questions than answers?”
Because of his love, God has made what we need to know clear so that anyone can be saved!
4. Scripture is Authoritative.
“The last word always goes to the word of God.”
Some movements have emphasized tradition or logical arguments as equal or greater authority to God’s Word. This does not fit with how Scripture sees itself.
“The written word of God was their authority. It had the last word. It was the final word, after which no other word would be necessary, and contrary to which no other word would be believed.”
We all give something the last word in our lives. The question is, what will it be? Culture? The internet? Your friends? Or God’s Word?
“But when interpreted correctly—paying attention to the original context, considering the literary genre, thinking through authorial intent—the Bible is never wrong in what it affirms and must never be marginalized as anything less than the last word on everything it teaches.”
5. Scripture is Necessary.
We need a direct word from God in order to know how to be saved.
“General revelation can show us there is a God and convict those who don’t worship him rightly. But special revelation speaks more clearly, more openly, and more authoritatively.”
Through Scripture, we see God as he really is and as he intends for us to see Him.
“Scriptures are our spectacles… the lenses through which we see God, the world, and ourselves rightly. We cannot truly know God, his will, or the way of salvation apart from the Bible.”
God is the only one who knows himself well enough to tell us about himself adequately!
“The only Being knowledgeable enough, wise enough, and skillful enough to reveal God to you is God himself… We need God to tell us about God. I can’t know the truth unless God reveals it to me.”
6. Scripture is Trusted by Jesus.
“We must conclude that whatever the perfect Son of God believed about the sacred writings, we should believe the same… Christ’s doctrine of Scripture should be our doctrine of Scripture.”
Jesus argued that every word of the Old Testament was exactly as God intended it! Jesus affirmed not only the general message but every “iota” and “dot”.
“Clearly, Jesus doesn’t want us to keep the little commandments in Scripture and miss the big stuff, but neither does he allow us to overlook the smallest parts so long as we get the big picture right.”
Jesus referred to the biblical accounts as historical. Jesus also treasured Scriptrue in the “moments of greatest trial and weakness—like being tempted by the Devil or being killed on a cross—he quoted Scripture.”
If God’s word is good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for us! “He believed the Bible was all true, all edifying, all important, and all about him.”
7. Scripture Is God-Breathed.
“In one sense, nothing more needs to be said about Scripture once we know that all of it has been breathed out by God.”
Because God is the author, we can be confident in it’s reliability.
“If all Scripture is breathed out by God, then there is a unity to be found across the pages of the Bible. Without minimizing the differences of genre and human authorship, we should nevertheless approach the Bible expecting theological distinctive and apparent discrepancies to be fully reconcilable.”
Because it is God’s Word, when we obey it we obey God.
“Scripture, because it is the breathed-out word of God, possesses the same authority as the God-man Jesus Christ… Submission to the Scriptures is submission to God. Rebellion against the Scriptures is rebellion against God.”
The Bible is the suffiecnt, clear, authoritative, necessary, inspired Word of God! Because of this we can be confident knowing…
“Scripture doesn’t tell us everything we may want to know about everything. But it tells us everything we need to know about the most important things.”