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The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God's Story Paperback – July 1, 2010
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From the Back Cover
Do you really know what the Bible is about?
Most people--even most Christians--do not have a basic working knowledge of the Bible. How can we understand the story of God--and our part in it--when we're not familiar with it? In this basic introduction to faith, D. A. Carson takes you through the big story of Scripture to help you know what you believe and why you believe it. Make sure to get the companion leader's guide to help evangelistic study groups, small groups, and Sunday school classes make the best use of this book in group settings.
"We live in a time when people quickly reject or accept the Bible without even knowing its contents. Carson does a masterful job of explaining the Scriptures so that a person who has never even opened the Bible can understand it. At the same time, those who grew up under its teaching will find valuable and obvious truths that will lead them to greater worship and appreciation of the God we serve."--Francis Chan, author of Crazy Love
"A unique and important volume in many ways. As a ministry tool, it can be used for evangelism, since it so thoroughly lays out the doctrine of God. And yet it also does what the catechisms of the Reformation churches did: give Christians a grounding in basic biblical beliefs and behavior. By all means, get this book!"--Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City
"What a wonderful resource! This book is a treasure for those who want to know what the Bible says as well as those of us who have read it, taught it, and lived it for years."--Crawford W. Loritts Jr., speaker, author, radio host, and senior pastor of Fellowship Bible Church, Roswell, GA
"Challenging yet respectful, thought-provoking yet accessible, faithful to the historic Christian faith yet relevant to our ever-changing world."--Randy Newman, staff member, Campus Crusade for Christ; author of Questioning Evangelism and Corner Conversations
D. A. Carson (PhD, University of Cambridge) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is the author or editor of more than forty books and is one of the leaders of the Gospel Coalition.
About the Author
D. A. Carson (PhD, University of Cambridge) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and is the author or editor of more than fifty books, including The God Who Is There and How Long, O Lord? He
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The author is unafraid to take on the difficult and dense passages that others may have a tendency to shy away from. For instance, he acknowledges the tight arguments in Romans 3 as being "condensed", and then explains that to fully experience Paul's meaning, one must carefully examine these scriptures word by word. Also, Carson does an excellent job exploring the literary features of each genre, which in turn lends credibility to his interpretations.
I appreciate Dr. Carson's work as he takes great effort to write a book that challenges the very thoughtful to take a deeper look at the God of the Christian Bible. He makes God very understandable and gives the reader a great introduction to what the Bible contains and how to understand it.
As I read through the book I could feel at times the tension that Dr. Carson must have felt in wanting to get more technical and deep, but he worked hard to not go there so that the book was more readable to those curious about God.
There is a wonderful workbook that you can purchase to go along with the main text. The workbook is a good tool for groups that want to work through the book together and have some guidance on questions to ask, meditate on and debate in regards to who God is.
This is not a quick read. You need to put on your thinking cap as you delve into it. Dr. Carson will explain many passages from the Bible that will help you understand the Characteristics of God. While the book is for those unfamiliar with the Bible I believe that many Christians who have attended church for years will also find this book useful as a reminder of who God is and how He is described throughout the Biblical text.
Dr. Carson starts with a good discussion regarding Creation which deals with the Science community as well as the Intelligent Design community. He also has chapters that explain the Ten Commandments, Covenant Agreements and why Israel is the focus of the Old Testament. Dr. Carson also delves into the topic of God being a God of Love as well as being a God of Justice and Judgement.
I think my favorite chapter was Chapter 12, "The God Who Gathers and Transforms His People." I personally have witnessed how God can transform the lives of broken and lost people. I have also watched as many people who didn't think they were lost found out through Scripture that they had been missing that one ingredient that would change their life, and that ingredient is God.
Please note that there was an earlier work published in the 1960's with this same title by Francis Schaeffer. Both books are excellent reads and well worth your investment of time.
My pattern of reading is to have up to a dozen books I am jumping back and forth between, rather than stick to a single volume until I have finished reading it. So I am currently only on page 112 of the 224 pages in this book. I am a retired pastor and passionate about growing neaarer to God in "absolute surrender" and while I am familiar with the subject matter of this book by D.A.Carson, I still find his pattern to be true. He "unpacks" the Scriptures and finds new gems in the field I have walked across, often many times. I have been spiritually blessed and heard my heart singing with joy many times as I underscored and wrote marginal notes (my books are all marked with notes)in this delicious book.
To illustrate, is his observation that attending church can be like "fig leaves for the secret sinner." And this truth, which while known and believed, still can make a new impression upon one's consciousness: "There is no way back to innocense. In the Bible, there is only a way forward -- to the cross." I could list many such "Carsonisms" that keep your interest focused and enriched as you read.
In my opinion, this would be a great book for someone open to hearing the "old, old Story" or to read it with them and discuss it. I wish I could do this with a grandson of mine. Too often people begin reading the Bible for the first time in the beginning, with Genesis. Few make it past Leviticus. Rather than read the New Testament first, which is the interpreter of and for the Old. With this book, they can know the whole story of the Old without having to deal with the heavy wading of those challenging Old Testament books, and get a view of what the "rest of the story" to borrow from Paul Harvey, of the Bible really is, and find the glorious fascination. I believe this book will jump start a desire in their heart to get into the Word of God for themselves, with some sense of mild confidence, rather than begin in the great Woods of God's Word not having any path to follow.
I heartily recommend this book and anything authored by Dr. D.A. Carson. He impresses you that he knows the Lord and loves Him and the truth of His Word deeply. I hope to meet him someday in the Kingdom and offer my gratitude in person. I do not believe you will be disappointed with this book - - well, at least the first 112 pages.(smile) and I feel confident you will be blessed!
for those wanting more depth than a "Cliff Notes" version, but explained from the basics up. Great elaboration on the new heaven and earth from Revelations and other scriptures.
I expect to revisit this book in future times.