Dig Deeper Book Review
It feels a bit cliché for a Christian to say, ‘I struggle to read the Bible.’ We seem to be very comfortable admitting this, whilst struggling to change it. I know from personal experience that I want to properly understand God’s word better, but I struggle to make consistent progress.
Dig Deeper recognises this problem and seeks to help us in our studying of God’s word. The key idea is: because God revealed himself to us in a book, there are tools that, if used properly, can help us understand God’s intended meaning and purpose in His word.
Nigel Beynon and Andrew Sach begin by laying out clearly what the Bible actually is: a divine book and a human book. This is the foundation upon which the 16 thoughtfully selected and explained tools are built upon.
God has spoken (it is a Divine book) but he did so in a book. The way God speaks is through human authors. This means it carries all the particularities of the authors’ contexts, personalities, literary styles, cultures. And because of this we need to work hard at properly understanding what they (and ultimately God) were saying and why they were saying that.
These aren’t 16 quick fixes for your Bible study, but 16 tools to pick up when needed to dig deeper towards the Bible’s treasure. Dig Deeper carefully demonstrates how each one helps us understand God’s word. There are helpful illustrations, examples, and exercises to complete that put them into practice. These “Dig Deeper!” tasks can be done with as much time and energy as you wish to give them. But whether you spend 5 minutes or 30 on them, you will certainly leave with a better grasp of how the tool you just read about works out in practice.
Some tools may be familiar or common sense if you have experience reading the Bible already. But spending time on them really grounds them and fleshes out aspects which you may not have properly considered.
One great example (credit to Dougal) comes from tool 15: ‘the “Who am I?” Tool’. Now, this tool reminds us that we aren’t always meant to identify ourselves with the main character in a text – something I’m sure we’ve all heard before. But just by spending time thinking about this tool, one application comes out in the Psalms where we almost always think of ourselves as the Psalmist writing about our joy, sorrow, or desire for judgement on our enemies. But if we take time thinking about “Who am I?”, we see that sometimes we need to identify a little bit more with the enemies.
Take Psalm 5. In many ways we are the Psalmist, calling out to God for judgement and finding rest in the LORD. But the Apostle Paul in Romans applied Psalm 5:9 to all of humanity: ‘Their throats are open graves’ (Romans 3:13). We are not just the Psalmist, but those who by nature have rebelled against God and deserve to be banished from His presence (Ps 5:10). If you look at Psalm 5 in the light of this, how much greater does the grace and love of God seem in v7 when ‘by [God’s] great love [we] can come into [His] house’! As those in Christ, we can say that though we once were like the wicked we are now those ‘surrounded … with [God’s] favour as with a shield’ (v12).
This is just one example of how these tools help us to “dig deeper” into a text and get a better understanding of what it is saying and why it is saying that.
As God’s people we should be those who delight to meditate on God’s word. And as we do so it should be our desire to properly understand it. Dig Deeper is a brilliant set of tools for helping you do just that. Whether its personal quiet times, leading a small group, meeting with someone 1:1, or any other form of ministry, this book is a fantastic toolbox to have alongside you.
- Sam McQuaker, Ministry Trainee