Dever, Mark. What Does God Want from us Anyway? A Quick Overview of the Whole Bible. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2010. 128 pp. $12.99. Purchase at Westminster Books for $8.44.
We have seen a plethora of books published by the men at IX Marks Ministries in the last year. I have reviewed many of them here at Christian Book Notes and have found each one to be extremely helpful to the local church. What Does God Want from us Anyway? is no different. Though it is not explicitly one of the 9 marks of a healthy church, that characterizes the ministry, it is an essential understanding of what they are all about because, quite simply, IX Marks is all about striving toward a biblical understanding of how the local church should operate.
The introduction sums up the book best: this is a big picture of the Bible’s message. Dever has divided this short little book into three parts. The first part looks at the message of the entire Bible. Here, we see the promises of God both made and kept.
Parts two and three break down the message of the whole Bible into the theme of promises made and kept in the Old and New Testaments. Obviously, I hope, part two is dealing with the promises made throughout the Old Testament. Dever shows God’s passion for His holiness and the promise of hope that He will make a way for His people to be holy because He is holy.
The third part, then, is the message of the New Testament in that God kept His promises set forth in the Old. This section shows that Christ is the promise kept and the only person able to bridge the eternal gap between an unholy people and a holy God.
Dever nails it! I love the recent trend to return to a biblical theology and the language of the promises made and kept show God to be the faithful God He claims to be in His word. Much like Crossway’s The Big Picture Bible, Dever shows how the entire Bible points to one Person and one claim–God is holy, we are not and in order to be with Him for eternity we are to put our faith in Christ.
Also, throughout the book, Dever uses the language of particularity. This is not unnoticed and is really one of the more important “words” used in the book. In using “particular,” Dever shows explicitly that God is a particular God and that He has ordained the means by which man can approach Him. Not the other way around as many think is the case.
For those who struggle to see the Bible as a unified collection of 66 books, this is the book for you! Mark Dever simplifies what can easily be a difficult topic for some as he strives to show the Person with whom we should all seek to serve and why we should seek to serve him. It is an age old story that has been lost in many churches today. Thankfully, Dever is showing us the lens by which we should read the scriptures. This book makes an excellent resource for the new believer who asks “What is the Bible about?”