Give Me That Book, by Dr. Gary Rieben, will be released on December 1, 2013. A special pre-release price is being offered to orders made by December 1, 2013. That price will be $22 dollars a copy, mailing expenses included. To receive your book at this price, send your check with your order to GMTB, Box 1045, La Quinta, California, 92247. You may also order by using the Paypal link found at “Book Sales” on the front page of this website.
Give Me That Book: A Synopsis
We were created to see and savor the awesome beauty of our God. God gave us the Bible so we could behold his glory and enjoy him forever. He has determined that we would “see” him through our “ears.” In the Bible, Jesus Christ personally and powerfully comes to speak to us, revealing himself, changing us, teaching us, guiding us and blessing us.
This book has two threads that are woven throughout. The first is this: Our engagement with the Scriptures should be motivated by delight. Here is how the psalmist expressed it: “How sweet are your words to my taste; sweeter than honey to my mouth.” (Psalm 119:103) Eight times he uses the word “delight” to express his attitude toward the law of God. Picking up the Bible out of duty is good, but devoting to it out of delight is far better. Duty does because we have to. Delight does because we get to. Jesus, the One who speaks in Scripture, is the glorious treasure of the universe. Nothing compares to him. If we are to see the beauty of God in Scripture our prayer must echo the cry of the psalmist, “Open my eyes that I may see the wonderful things in your law.” (Psalm 119:18)
The second thread is this: The Scriptures are our primary weapon for winning our fight for faith and joy in Jesus. Here is an interesting fact. Scripture links our fight for faith with our delight in his Word. “If your law had not been my delight I would have perished in affliction.” (Ps. 119:92); and, “Great peace have they who love your law and nothing can make them stumble.” (Ps. 119:165) The implications of that assertion are profound. It is saying that our delight for God’s Word will in some way strengthen us in the day of trouble so that after the conflict is over, we will stand victorious.
That is why we declare that God’s Book is a “Treasury of Truth for Troubled Times.” I have a serious concern for our youth today. They are being bombarded with blatant evil that seeks to draw them away from the beauty of Christ. It is so intense and so subtle that one wonders how our kids will survive the future deterioration of our culture. Our hope is found in God’s Word. It is still the most powerful weapon in the world. We must point them to the all-satisfying beauty that is found in Christ as He speaks in His Word. We have to help them hide the Word of God in their hearts so that they won’t sin against God. If we are to win, if they are to win, we must learn to fight like Jesus did, confidently and joyfully declaring, “It is written.” That is what this book is about.
The following material contains quotes taken from the pages of GIVE ME THAT BOOK that will give you a taste of what you will discover in its pages.
Introduction: Psalm 27- My Battle Friend
“If your law had not been my delight I would have perished in affliction.” Psalm 119:92
“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks! Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle. But you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder … at the richness of a life that has come to you by the grace of God.” –Phillips Brooks
This book was birthed in a season of intense conflict and great pain. My dearest hopes and cherished dreams were in danger of being dashed by the darkness that had descended upon me. The confidence and joy that were once mine in Christ seemed like a distant memory. The boldness I displayed in the pulpit on Sunday morning was in danger of being replaced by doubt and depression in the darkness of the night. Only one thing kept me standing. It was God’s Word. The precious words that I had memorized and meditated upon in morning devotions became weapons for truth in the battle of the night. As I fought a torrent of lies designed to destroy my faith, Jesus, my God and Friend, came alongside me through His written Word. (pgs. ix, x)
Chapter 1. A Man of One Book—The Veteran . . . .
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” Psalm 1:3
“F. R. Maltby said that Jesus promised his disciples three things: that they would be absurdly happy, completely fearless, and in constant trouble.” —David Watson
Bobby Knight, one of the most successful basketball coaches ever, was asked about the secret of his teams’ success. He was asked if it was their will to succeed? “The will to succeed is important,” the coach responded, “but I’ll tell you what’s more important: It’s the will to prepare.” The game is not won at game time but in practice time. That is also true in the battle of faith. It is the discipline of knowing and doing the Word of God in daily obedience that prepares us for the day of intense struggle. The psalmist said it like this: “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Ps. 119:11). Paul adds, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Eph. 6:13). (p. 9)
Chapter 2. Fully Equipped—Sufficient . . . . . . . . . .
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3
“When God from heaven gave the Word His Word was all-sufficient/ it needs no words I may have heard/ To add to or be in it. So I will take God’s Book and read/ to learn what God desires;/ The Bible gives the strength I need/ to do what God requires.”—James Boice
Because the Word of God perfects and is perfect (Psalm 19:7), I approach every counseling situation with anticipation and expectation. Because I have the sufficient Word of God in my hands, I can offer hope to the deeply depressed person. I can promise life to marriages that the “experts” have pronounced “dead.” I can show the way of freedom to those who been labeled “addict,” “compulsive,” and “clinically depressed.” The law of the Lord has the power to bring total restoration and transformation. I maintain this optimism in spite of the fact that my “conservative” seminaries taught me, either implicitly or explicitly, that I could not counsel people with “deep” emotional problems. But in my studies of psychology, I found no “secret” body of knowledge that would justify limiting the ministry of the Word. Instead, I have learned that I can trust God’s counsel at all times and in all situations. I can confidently and competently counsel with God’s Word (Rom. 15:14). (p. 29)
Chapter 3. The Battle for Truth—Warfare . . . . . . .
“Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165
“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason—for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted the Battle For truth themselves—I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me. Amen.” -Martin Luther
By choosing to trust the Father’s Word instead of His own works, Jesus was demonstrating an unqualified confidence in the greatness and the goodness of His Father. The circumstances and pressures of life would not determine His course of action. He was safe, secure, and satisfied in the Father’s love. The Father’s will determined His course of action, not His “felt needs.” Jesus won the battle by wielding God’s Word. Each assault was answered with “It is written” (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10). Not “I think,” “I feel,” “Experts say,” “I want,” or “I deserve,” but, “It is written.” He positioned the written Word between Himself and the Devil’s lies. Throughout the rest of His mission, He would follow the same strategy. Validating the Old Testament as the unique and permanent record of God’s revelation to His people, He demonstrated for us why the written Word should be the source of our confidence and courage when engaged in spiritual conflict. (pp. 44-45)
Chapter 4. Tactical Communication—Revelation. .
“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” Hebrews 1:1
“Revelation does not mean man finding God, but God finding man, God sharing his secrets with us, God showing us Himself. In revelation, God is the agent as well as the object. It is not just that men speak about God, or for God; God speaks for Himself, and talks to us in person.” –J. I. Packer
Christianity is a revealed religion. That means that what we know about God was not discovered by scientists or imagined by poets or reasoned by philosophers, but was disclosed by God Himself. The God who is the creator of the universe steps into His universe to reveal His will and His ways through His words and His works. “He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth—the LORD God Almighty is his name” (Amos 4:13). Francis Schaeffer reminded us of this in the title of his book, He Is There and He Is Not Silent. If we have the ears to hear, we will find that He is speaking at all times and at all places. And His words are personal and addressed to people like you and me. He speaks so we can know Jesus and love Jesus and enjoy Jesus and glorify Jesus forever. His Word is life-transforming. (p. 60)
Chapter 5. Command and Control—Authority . . .
“I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” —Psalm 119:32
“These words are God’s … Thou book of vast authority, thou art a proclamation from the Emperor of Heaven; far be it from me to exercise my reason in contradicting thee … This is the book untainted by any error; but it is pure unalloyed, perfect truth. Why? Because God wrote it.” –Charles Spurgeon
The purpose of this chapter is to convince you that when you choose to submit to the authority of God’s Word, when every area of your life is defined and directed by Scripture, your life will be set on a freeway of God-honoring, soul-satisfying freedom. Your plans will have purpose and passion, like Jesus. When you come to the end of your days on earth, you will be able to say with the apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7–8). There will be rejoicing instead of regretting because you devoted your one short life to serving and honoring Jesus Christ. Gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed. Do not waste your life on a path that terminates in a dead end. (p. 85)
Chapter 6. The Glorious Center—Jesus Christ . . . .
“…Christ in whom are hidden all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3
“Jesus, as he is revealed in the Bible, has a glory—an excellence, a spiritual beauty—that can be seen as self-evidently true. It is like seeing the sun and knowing that it is light and not dark, or tasting honey and knowing that it is sweet and not sour. There is no long chain of reasoning from premises to conclusions. There is a direct apprehension that this person is true and His glory is the glory of God.” —John Piper
As long as Jesus remains at the center of our desires, delights, and decisions, our lives will be characterized by clarity, charity, and hilarity. But, if we are conformed to the world, if we break free from the Center we will become disappointed, discouraged, and depressed. Only Christ can give hope to our history. Jesus is the flaming, all-attracting center of God’s universe, but, it will take a fight on our part to keep Him at the center of our hearts. As can be seen by the tragic actions of the C3 Exchange community, there are powerful and persistent enemies at work in our world and our churches that seek to blind us to the glory of Jesus Christ. These centrifugal forces seek to fling us to fringes of our universe, where confusion and chaos rule. That is why God sent His Word. That is why God gave us His written Word. When the Book of God is at the center of our lives, its gravitational pull will keep us centered and secure. (pp. 100-101)
Chapter 7. Locked and Loaded—Equipped . . . . . .
“All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
“For you, brother, I pray that the Lord might crown this year with His goodness and in the coming one give you a hallowed dare-devil spirit in lifting the biting sword of Truth, consuming you with a passion that is called by the cultured citizens of Christendom “fanatacism,” but known to God as that saintly madness that led His Son through bloody sweat and hot tears to agony on a rude cross—and Glory.” –Jim Elliot
His (Jim Elliot’s) love for the Word gave him insight and a passion that cut him off from the “normal life.” W. Somerset Maugham wrote in Of Human Bondage, “These old folk had done nothing and when they died it would be just as if they had never been.” Jim’s response to that thought was, “God deliver me!” One of his favorite passages was Paul’s admonition, “No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer” (2 Tim. 2:4). He lived to please his Commanding Officer.
His life was set, not by the example of those around him, but by the Scriptures. He counseled, “Don’t follow the example of those you left in the world, nor those you find in the church. Rather, the law of God, found in His Word, shall be my standard, and as I see it, there are few examples of this sort of living anywhere.” (p. 142)
Chapter 8. Divine Illumination—Intelligence. . . . .
“Open my eyes that I may see the wonderful things in your law.” Psalm 119:18
“The Spirit of God not only once inspired those who wrote the Bible, but continually inspires those who read it with earnest prayer.” –Abraham Kuyper
The Spirit not only brings the light to help us learn, but the heat to make us burn. He enables us to see the surpassing greatness of Christ in the Scriptures, which motivates us to want to see more. That is why we will pray and study and meditate on and memorize the Scriptures. We will never plumb the depths and ascend to the heights of the infinite perfections that are found in Jesus Christ. For now, those treasures are uncovered by the Spirit through the Word as we do our best searching. In eternity our search will never end (Ps. 16:11). (p. 155)
Chapter 9. Combat Readiness—Confident! . . . . . .
“Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” —Luke 1:1–4
“The Bible is without mistake because it is God’s inspired Word…and God cannot lie or contradict himself.” –Francis Schaeffer
We affirm that God is all-knowing, incapable of error, and that He always speaks the truth. We affirm that God is the author of Scripture. We affirm that Scripture is “God-breathed.” So, the reliability and the accuracy of the details of the Bible are crucial issues. At the center of God’s revelation of His Person is His faithfulness. He makes promises to His people and demonstrates His faithfulness by keeping His word. If the Scriptures were error-prone, if they contained inaccurate and misleading statements, what would that say about our God? And, how could we know which affirmations were true and worth trusting? An inerrant and fully reliable Bible is essential for bold and joyful service in this life. (p. 160)
Chapter 10. Skilled in Weaponry—Sharpshooter. . .
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
“If I were the devil (please no comment), one of my first aims would be to stop folk from digging into the Bible. Knowing that it is the Word of God, teaching people to know and love and serve the God of the Word, I should do all I could to surround it with the spiritual equivalent of pits, thorn hedges and man traps, to frighten people off.” —J. I. Packer
Each text of Scripture has a fixed meaning. The goal of biblical hermeneutics is to combine human effort with divine enablement in order to understand and apply Holy Scripture rightly. Because the Bible was written by men it must be studied like any other book. But, because it is of divine origin it must be studied unlike any other book.
Because the Bible was written thousands of years ago, in another language and another culture, we lack the background to fully understand with our head. And, because it is holy and we are not, we lack the spiritual ability to grasp its truth with our heart. The purpose of this chapter is to attempt to show how we can join human effort with divine enablement so that each of us can become a workman who “correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). (p. 183)
Chapter 11. Mettle by Meditation—Courage . . . . .
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9
“You must taste its preciousness for yourselves, before you can apply it to other’s needs. You must assimilate the Bible and make it your own, in that intimate sense which will fix its words fast in your hearts, if you would have those words rise spontaneously to your lips in your times of need, or in times of the needs of others. Read, study, meditate … until the Bible is in you. Then the Bible will well up in you and come out from you in every season of need.” -B. B. Warfield
Biblical meditation is not the emptying of the mind of all thoughts, nor is it a contemplation of the divine within. It is the filling of the mind with the words of God so that we may commune with the God above. The image is one of a disciple, who sits at the feet of his Master, hungry to hear the wisdom that his teacher would impart to him. But it is much more than a transfer of information. It is a relationship of Friend with friend. It is driven by a passion to be saturated with the things of God so that His will is our will, His words our words, and His works our works.
Meditation is the answer to the cry of the psalmist: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Ps. 42:1–2). No matter where we are, or what we are facing, we can get alone with God by spending time with Him in His Word. There we experience His presence. There we are reminded of His promises. He makes Himself known, not in the wind, not in the earthquake, and not in the fire, but in a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:11–12). There we hear Him whisper deep within our struggling soul, “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).” (p. 199-200)
Chapter 12. Boots on the Ground—Commitment .
“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” —John 13:15–17
“Godliness consists not in a heart which intends to do the will of God, but in a heart that does it.” —Jonathan Edwards
The point we have tried to make throughout this book is that our all-satisfying joy is found in Jesus Christ alone. Obeying and doing His Word does not stifle our joy but secures it. The joy of the Lord remains an unclaimed promise until we do His Word. Jesus said, “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own” (John 7:17). In other words, as we obey Christ’s commands by faith and put them into practice, even when it goes against our desires, we experience the deeply satisfying joy that only God can bring. And the more we obey, the more we will know of the treasures that are in Christ. So knowing God’s Word, loving the Word, and doing the Word are not some form of religious tyranny, but the pathway to eternal liberty. (P. 233)
13. Faithful to the End—Semper Fi . . . . .
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. —1 Corinthians 15:58
“Who stands fast? Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God—the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God.”—Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Today, we not only have been given a great responsibility, we have been granted an awesome opportunity. We are in a spiritual environment not unlike the one the first church faced. Jesus Christ is still Lord. His Word is still unstoppable. And our mission is not complete. All the power we have received through the Scriptures is not meant to terminate in us. Like Timothy, we are to preach the Word and trust that God will accomplish His purpose though our faithfulness. The church has always faced opposition and thrived. G. K. Chesterton said it like this, “At least five times the Faith has to all appearances gone to the dogs. In each of these cases, the dog has died.” (p. 240)