Since I first read Jerry Bridges THE PURSUIT OF HOLINESS in 1978, he has ministered to me like few others. Reading that book (and the books of the men he footnoted in that book who helped him) has enriched and changed my life beyond what I can say.
I shall forever be in his debt.
Through a successive string of great books (TRUSTING GOD; THE JOY OF FEARING GOD, THE PRACTICE OF GODLINESS, TRANSFORMING GRACE, THE DISCIPLINE OF GRACE; THE GOSPEL FOR REAL LIFE; THE GREAT EXCHANGE, THE BOOKENDS OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE; IS GOD REALLY IN CONTROL? and more) he has ministered to me and my congregation over the years. He has ministered to tens of thousands of others also. He has ministered to our congregation by teaching person four times and been in our home several times. Yes, he practices what he preaches.
What a one-time reader of any of his books might wrongly think is that Jerry is a simple and clear writer and introduces material well. All well and good. But if a person knows historic Protestant theology, one sees that Jerry is a master of bringing the best of Protestant Reformed theology down to where the man in the street can access it. To appreciate Jerry's gifts, one has to only teach his books to others and see how clear the material is and how others can grasp it and grow from it. Teaching his books to others reveals the profundity of the material.
As anyone who has ever taught knows, to simplify without distortion is very difficult. One must know the material very well to make it simple and clear. Jerry has that gift. His gifts of simplifying and illuminating deep and sometimes complex truths have been recognized and brought him invitations to teach at more than one seminary. Many seminarians learn deep and sometimes abstruse theology but cannot come home from class and explained what they learned to their wives. When they take Jerry Bridges' course on the Reformed doctrine of sanctification, they learn the best theology in a way they can go home and tell their wives about and their wives can understand it too!
Jerry's latest book is THE TRANSFORMING POWER OF THE GOSPEL from NavPress. It is another example of explaining the Bible doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ and its implications for life. A person begins the Christian life with the gospel and then grows as a Christian through applying the gospel and then keeps growing throughout their Christian life through the gospel. Without personally applying the gospel of Jesus Christ to my life daily, I shall soon lose my edge as a Christian and find myself no longer glorifying God nor enjoying my life in Christ.
The chapter titles help give a sense of the book:
1. TOO SOON OLD, TOO LATE SMART
2. THE HOLINESS OF GOD
3. THE SINFULNESS OF OUR SIN
4. THE GREAT EXCHANGE
5. A DAILY EMBRACING OF THE GOSPEL
6. THE MOTIVATION OF THE GOSPEL
7. UNDERSTANDING GOD'S GRACE
8. THE TRANSFORMING WORK OF THE
9. DEPENDENT RESPONSIBILITY
10. INSTRUMENTS OF GRACE
11. THE WORD OF GOD AND PRAYER
12. THE GRACE OF ADVERSITY
13. TRANSFORMED INTO HIS IMAGE
14. ALREADY, NOT YET !
What riches from the past does Jerry bring to the table for the reader to enjoy? Giants of evangelical and Reformed 20th century Old Testament scholarship, Alec Motyer and E. J. Young; 19th century giants of Reformed theology George Smeaton and William S. Plumer; the list goes on to include but is not limited to F. F. Bruce, Philip E. Hughes, Charles Hodge, J. C. Ryle, Richard Lovelace, Robert Haldane, John Owen, Archibald Alexander, Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, Iain H. Murray, John Calvin, and more! What a feast of good Christian literature helped Jerry write this book. What giant shoulders he is standing on!
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK ? !
1. Read it for yourself to gain the big picture and
his main themes.
2. Read it again and take notes so that what you
read can stick in your soul.
3. Read it aloud with your spouse and discuss it.
4. Read it aloud and discuss it for family devotions
(if you children are teenagers or above)
5. Teach it to a Sunday School class, work Bible
study, campus Bible study, small group study.
6. Identify the key issues and biblical doctrines
that are especially important to your life at this
7. Pray and ask the Lord for grace to put the things
you are learning into practice in your life.
8. Thank God that He gives gifted men to His
church to build up the body of Christ (Ephesians
Try it; you'll like it.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin