Monday, March 7, 2016

Book Review: A Peculiar Glory

A Peculiar Glory. John Piper. Crossway. 2016. 304 pages. [Source: Review copy]

TRUE OR FALSE: We all stand somewhere in relation to the Bible.
TRUE OR FALSE: The question of whether the Bible is true is urgent--for everyone.

Piper's newest book--which I'd definitely recommend--encourages readers to take the time to consider where THEY stand in relation to the Bible. Piper points out early on in the book that the Bible makes claims about God: that he is a PERSONAL God, for one, and that he wants to communicate with us. The Bible, is in fact, his communication to us--his revelation of himself to us all. Not everyone believes these claims, of course, but Piper's book is in part focusing on the WHY of belief. Why should the Bible be accepted as true, as the Word of God as having authority in our lives? Or Why do you believe what you believe about the Bible? Or What is the reason for the hope that you have?!
God's word does not wait for us to give it permission to be God's word. If it is God's word, it is God's word--with or without us.
Our eternal destinies depend on whether we believe the good news of this book. And our way of life depends on it as well.
The book is all about glory--God's Glory--God's Glory as Revealed in the Bible, God's Glory as revealed in the Bible in the person of Jesus Christ.
The glory of God is the ground of faith. It is a solid ground. It is objective, outside ourselves. It is the ground of faith in Christ and in the Christian Scriptures.
My argument is that the glory of God in and through the Scriptures is a real, objective, self-authenticating reality. Christian faith is not a leap in the dark.
The whole Bible, properly understood, has this divine purpose to communicate or display the glory of God.
Piper's premise is simple--even if his vocabulary at times is not--basically, when readers of the Bible behold God's glory and find it beautiful and amazing, they have all the proof they need that it is TRUE. This glory is manifested--made manifest, revealed--to the reader by the Holy Spirit. They have "the testimony of the Spirit." Without the Holy Spirit, readers read the Bible with a veil over their eyes essentially. Other types of proof may or may not prove helpful in settling any doubts readers may have about the "truthfulness" of Scripture, but none are necessary or absolutely necessary. In other words, you don't have to "be a scholar" in order to have faith--faith in God, faith that the Bible is the Word of God, faith that you have legitimate reasons to believe. Faith is a gift of the Spirit, and with that faith comes the conviction that the Bible is a book like no other.
Seeing the glory of God in the word of God or in the work of God is a gift of God (2 Cor. 4:6, 2 Tim. 2:25-26).
The glory of Christ is proclaimed and embodied in human language and life, and the glory of Christ is illuminated by God as he enables the heart to see.
What does the Spirit do? The answer is not that the Spirit gives us added revelation to what is in Scripture, but that he awakens us, as from the dead, to see and taste the divine reality of God in Scripture, which authenticates it as God's own word.
Piper gives readers a little background and context about the Bible before heading to the heart of this book: THE GLORY OF GOD AS REVEALED IN THE PERSON AND WORKS OF JESUS CHRIST. He focuses rightly on Jesus: what he taught, how he lived, the miracles he performed, how he fulfilled prophecy, his birth, life, death, resurrection, etc.

The book is well-written, and much-appreciated! I do hope there is a volume 2 coming like he hints!

My favorite quote:
We were made for the glory of God. Our minds are designed to know the glory of God, and our hearts are designed to love the glory of God. The deepest longing of the human soul is to know and enjoy the glory of God. We were made for this.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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