I took a class with D. A. Carson in seminary that completely changed how I read the Bible.
Prior to the class, I understood the Bible’s general storyline, but you couldn’t drop me somewhere in 1 Chronicles and ask me to relate it to Christ and his redemptive work.
At the end of the class, you could. Carson not only walked us through the major themes and motifs of Scripture to show how it held together, he gave us the tools to make our way to Christ from any passage (while still honoring its meaning for the original audience). I now understand every passage of Scripture as a small stream feeding into one grand river, one message: that Christ redeemed fallen creation through his life, death, and resurrection.
After reading For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word, you will, too.
What makes this devotional unique
I’ve read through this devotional some already, and it is not unlike the class I remember from years ago (but without the quizzes and exams, which were notoriously difficult). He takes a text, situates it in context, explains its meaning and relationship to the rest of Scripture, and flows naturally into a theological and sometimes pastoral reflection.
All that said, this is not an academic devotional, nor is it written to seminarians. In Carson’s own words from the Introduction:
I have tried to devote at least some of [my comments] to helping the reader keep the big picture of the Bible’s “story line” in mind, and to see what relevance this has for our thinking and living. In other words, although I want the comments to be edifying, this edification is not always of a private, individualized sort. My aim is to show, in however preliminary a way, that reading the whole Bible must stir up thoughtful Christians to thinking theologically and holistically, as well as reverently and humbly.
If you are looking for a more reflective devotional that relates a verse or two to practical Christian living, this is not your book—though it is practical, and it will help you live as a Christian.
This is a devotional that helps you read the Bible better, and thus better understand God’s Word and will for your life. It teaches you how to fish rather than feed you one.
Carson’s devotional follows the M’Cheyne reading plan, which gets you through the Old Testament once and the Psalms and New Testament twice in a year. Vol. 1 primarily focuses on the first two columns of M’Cheyne’s schedule, whereas vol. 2 focuses on the second two.
Why this devotional?
Make these devotionals your Bible reading companions, and in two years you will have read through the Bible more than twice with one of the greatest living Christian teachers and scholars. (And in Logos, pairing Bible reading plans with devotionals is intuitive and easy, even on mobile.)
Carson’s teaching has profoundly shaped my life and relationship with the Bible. He is no ivory tower theologian without tender reverence for the word of God.
Take it from the Introduction that his deepest desire for this book is that it helps you meet God in Scripture. Knowing that we often fall behind in our reading plans, his first word of advice is this:
“If you must skip something, skip this book; read the Bible instead.”