[ 2 minutes to read ]
I’ve heard Mark Dever described as all substance and no style. I don’t know how much he might object to that, but I don’t think it entirely accurate. His style is clear and straightforward. I can’t remember reading him and scratching my head in wonder of his meaning. I may not have agreed with him, but I understood him. I can’t always say the same with other authors who would be credited for much style.
This book is a sample of where Dever is at his best. He has a knack for taking big and complex and making it clear and accessible. He undertakes an overview of the entire Bible and then of the Old and New Testaments in this volume. He doesn’t take the sweeping story of Scripture and make it small like a Reader’s Digest abridgement. Rather, he takes to a high elevation where our eyes can see and appreciate more than from a lower vantage point–just like the panoramic photographs he expresses such appreciation for in the introduction. I think he hit his mark.
The neglect of the Bible is miserably widespread among professing Christians. Among many who do take it up, the neglect of the Old Testament is too common. Dever gives a clear view of the Bible’s overarching purpose. Some think the Bible is a discontinuity of random histories and riddled sayings. Some think the Old and New Testaments differ so much that one is about an angry, judging God and the other a loving, accepting Jesus. I challenge you to read this book to get an overview of the continuity of the whole and connectedness of the different books, and then read the whole Bible. You might get a different picture.
When we read the whole Bible and think in terms of the whole Bible, we get a much needed perspective we can’t get from the ground–the love and faithfulness of God. We face disappointments and discouragements in life. We deal with failures and intense pain. These trials could cause us to assume God unloving or unfaithful to his promises. Go to his word. The Bible covers time from the creation to thousands of years of human history to the ages to come, including the eternal ages where the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Jesus Christ will be shown. If we climb to to heights above our earthly struggles and disappointments, we see God’s covenant faithfulness and have hope when we climb back down and take out the trash or drive to the funeral home.