Let me start by saying this is something of a review of Kevin DeYoung’s new book Taking God at His Word (Crossway, 2014). He begins with a good sound premise. That being that Psalm 119 shows us what to believe about the Word of God, what to feel about the Word of God, and what to do with the Word of God.
How does that happen? Ultimately, as with a heartfelt conviction about any biblical doctrine, it has to be by the work of Spirit of God in the depths of our hearts. Let that be understood from the outset. But what are the means by which God often presses these particular convictions – the believing, feeling, and doing as related to the Word of God – into that stubborn soil? A growing understanding and appreciation of the sufficiency, authority, clarity, and necessity of Scripture. And as those things take root, the fruit of this is a growing agreement with the expressions of Psalm 119. This is DeYoung’s argument. It is a good approach and he makes for a winsome guide on the path. NOTE: I should add that the first chapter of The Westminster Confession of Faith does an admirable job of presenting this very point.
So does DeYoung offer an apologetic for the skeptic challenging the authority of the Bible, the history of the canon, the reliability of the manuscripts, etc.? In a word, no. That’s not his aim here. Other works have that as their goal and DeYoung does offer an appendix listing some of those (though I think that list could be augmented). As he notes in the early goings, when it comes to first principles, a certain form of circularity in your arguments is simply inevitable. That’s just the way it is with any worldview – secular or biblical. “You can’t establish the supreme authority of your supreme authority by going to some other lesser authority.” Put another way, you simply have to begin somewhere.
So is this worth a read? Based on what I’ve seen thus far (disclaimer – as of this writing, I haven’t finished it), absolutely. It’s good to know what a treasure we have. Especially since there is such confusion on this point. It makes for a good book on The Book.