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The Ten Commandments: What They Mean, Why They Matter, and Why We Should Obey Them (Foundational Tools for Our Faith)

By Kevin DeYoung
January 2020 | Review by Matthew Cox
  • Publisher: Crossway Books
  • ISBN: 1433559676
  • Pages: 208
  • Price: £13.83
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Book Review

Many Christians see the law of God as unnecessary or unimportant. Kevin DeYoung takes issue with that view, arguing that the full revelation of Christ gives believers a greater incentive to make God’s precepts their delight.

His well-known gifts as a communicator among students and young adults are on show throughout this book’s ten chapters. He gives up-to-date examples of how the commandments may be kept or broken, and makes perceptive applications to everyday life and modern church culture.

The chapter on the second commandment sets out the ‘regulative principle of worship’ and calls for churches to make God known by teaching his Word rather than addressing people’s ‘felt needs’ (p.49). There is also excellent advice for believers who want to honour their parents after leaving home: thank them for all they did for you; say sorry for treating them badly; and get in touch more often!

On adultery and sexual sin, the author presents extensive Scripture quotations to three groups of readers: those who are tempted in this area; those who are living inconsistently with their Christian profession; and those who are brokenhearted and ashamed of their past sins. Much pastoral sensitivity is evident here.

The tenth chapter includes all-too-real examples of things which a Christian might covet, and flags up four signs that indicate a covetous spirit. These pages demonstrate a puritan-like capacity to get under one’s skin and into the heart.

There is some unfortunate prevarication over whether and how the fifth commandment applies today. Yet despite this ambiguity DeYoung still (somehow) reaches healthy conclusions, advocating strongly for keeping the Lord’s Day for corporate worship and rest from ordinary labours.

The author undoubtedly has a way with words. His writing style is relaxed, informal and humorous. Perhaps it’s a little too ‘frothy’ on occasion, but overall this book is serious, thoughtful and instructive. It will be a valuable resource for Christians who are serious about living as children of God.

Matthew Cox

Bethersden, Kent

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