What is the Bible? Where did it come from? How can you know for certain that it’s God’s Word, exactly as He intended to give it to us? How should you go about reading it? And, what are some of the mistakes you should avoid when doing so?
Sinclair Ferguson very capably answers these questions in his new volume, From the Mouth of God: Trusting, Reading, and Applying the Bible.
Written with the layperson in mind, this work is vintage Ferguson–that is to say, it is simultaneously easy to read, and yet displays great theological depth and knowledge of the subject matter.
Ferguson begins with the concept of revelation, how it is that we can know about God, and what He expects from us. In this, he demonstrates that while God’s revelation of Himself to us in creation is sufficient to reveal Himself to us (i.e., general revelation), it is not sufficient to tell us what we need to know for life and salvation. Therefore, Ferguson explains that God worked through human authors, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to give us what we need to know about Him (i.e., special revelation).
Following an easy to understand chapter on canonicity, Ferguson then takes his readers through all of the topics relevant to studying God’s Word, including revelation, the various genres of the Bible, and how to read them.
On this last point, Ferguson demonstrates how to read God’s Word from a Christ-centered perspective. He shows how the different parts of the Old Testament point to and find their fulfillment in Him, offering helpful tools for His readers to do this. And it’s here that From the Mouth of God becomes a hands-on book for the layperson: after teaching his readers how to find Christ in all of Scripture, Ferguson then offers a test case for putting these tools to work by walking his readers through the book of Ruth.
Ferguson also offers some bonuses to his readers in the appendices, via treatises from John Murray and John Newton the guidance of the Holy Spirit and divine guidance.
It is difficult to find a weakness in this volume. The only one this reviewer can find is that if one wishes to go deeper on any of the sub-topics, they will have to look elsewhere (e.g., B.B. Warfield’s classic Inspiration and Authority of the Bible on inspiration, Michael Krugers Canon Revisited for issues related to canonicity, etc.).
That aside, From the Mouth of God is a wonderful introduction to the Bible which can either be read individually or as part of a group. I highly recommend it.
I highly recommend it.