Reviews Of Books -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 80:1 (Spring 2018)
Article: Reviews Of Books
Author: Anonymous

Reviews Of Books

John Piper, Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017. Pp. 391. $32.99, cloth.

Because the Bible is (1) the very Word of God which mediates his presence, and (2) God’s instrument by which he is completing his work of redemption, we should read the Bible with faith, prayer, humility, and attentiveness. That is the thesis of John Piper’s recent book on Scripture, Reading the Bible Supernaturally.

Piper divides the work into three parts: Part 1, “The Ultimate Goal of Reading the Bible”; Part 2, “The Supernatural Act of Reading”; and Part 3, “The Natural Act of Reading the Bible Supernaturally.” In Part 1, Piper takes ten chapters to defend his proposal that the ultimate goal of reading the Bible is “that God’s infinite worth and beauty would be exalted in the everlasting, white-hot worship of the blood-bought bride of Christ from every people, language, tribe, and nation” (p. 35). This is the most overtly theological section of the book. Piper first summarizes an argument made in his previous book, A Peculiar Glory, which answers the question raised by the Westminster Larger Catechism: “How doth it appear that the Bible is the word of God?” Piper agrees with Westminster’s answer but focuses his attention on what he calls the peculiar glory of the Bible. Christian Scripture reveals to its readers the “utterly unique” glory of God in Christ. By doing so, it shows itself to be the trustworthy word of God, because “glory authenticates truth” (p. 21).

The revelation of God’s glory is not only the basis for which we believe the Bible to be his word, however. It is also the very purpose of the Bible. God has given us this book to reveal his glory to us so that we might worship him. “God’s ultimate aim in all things is the revelation and exaltation of his glory,” says Piper (p. 52). And according to Piper, the Bible is an indispensable part of this plan. The exaltation of God’s glory in all creation “will not happen without the Scriptures. God has made the written word as indispensable as the incarnate Word. For the achievement of God’s ultimate purpose, he has made Christ essential and the Bible essential. The Bible is as glorious, not as ultimate, not as foundational as Christ. But both are indispensable” (p. 172). It follows that the Bible must be read, and it must be done so with the intention of seeing the glory of God, if we are to partake of and participate in God’s work of redemption.

The strength of Piper’s argument in Part 1 is that he locates his doctrine of Scripture in the doctrines of God and redemption. Scripture is an instrument of the redeeming God...

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