As I’ve already said elsewhere, I loved this book.  I wanted to share a few gems (diamonds if you will) that especially stood out to me as I read.  Hopefully these will whet your appetite and persuade you to pick up your own copy of DDD and give it a read.

Great summary statement:

  • “Doctrine can never take the place of Jesus himself, but we can’t know him and relate to him in the right way without doctrine.”

Some definitions of doctrine:

  • “Doctrine is the setting forth of what Jesus has done along with the meaning of the event for us.”
  • “The narration of the facts is history; the narration of the facts with meaning of the facts is doctrine.”
  • “Doctrine is the meaning of the story God is writing in the world.  It’s the explanation of what he’s done and why he’s done it and why it matters to you and me.”

Why is doctrine so precious?

“Because on the final day only those who have believed in Jesus Christ and lived for him will be rescued from the wrath of God.  And because in the present when our lives are shaken by suffering, firsthand knowledge of God’s character and love is the only thing that can hold us.”

Transcendence and Immanence:

“What makes it difficult for us to see the truth about God, I think, isn’t his overwhelming immensity but our overwhelming self-centeredness.  Looking past ourselves is a lot harder to do than most of us realize.  Many have never tried.”

“Most people today imagine God as they’d like him to be-a God who caters to their personal needs and desires.”

“In their book Soul Searching, Smith and Denton describe the prevalent view of God among teenagers as “moralistic therapeutic deism.”

Biblical Theology:

“But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing.  It’s about God and what He has done.”

Veracity of Scripture:

“…think of the Bible not simply being ‘true’ in the sense that it conforms to some higher standard of truth, but rather to think of the Bible as itself the final standard of truth.”

Emotion and Belief:

“Jesus never asks us how we feel about him.  He calls us to believe in him, to trust in him.”

The Gospel:

“The most confounding theological question humanity has ever faced is the question of how a truly good and righteous God could love and forgive guilty people.”

“God’s justice demands death for sin.  Jesus’s blood poured out, his life given in our place, satisfies that demand.”

“Apart from the Cross of Jesus Christ, our lives dead-end in hopelessness and terror.”

“There is a way to be good again.  It is to trust in Jesus and his atoning death.”

Summary of the Bible:

“The unimaginable message of the Bible is that God’s love for us is so great that he has made a way for us to be good again through the atoning life and death of his son.”

Growing up in a Christian home or being exposed to Christianity:

“It’s possible to learn about the events of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection from a distance-to be told of their meaning, their power, and their hope-and yet receive no personal benefit from them.”

Sanctification process (growth in Christ after one has become a Christian):

“Maybe you haven’t noticed how God has changed you, because you’re preoccupied with your weaknesses and areas of failure.”

“People search for change everywhere.  But ultimately, only the gospel of Jesus Christ offers real hope for radical, lasting change because only through faith in Jesus can a person’s nature be changed.”


“Eventually people practicing rules taught by men get fed up and overreact by throwing out all restraint.  I know a lot of people who were so burned by what they call their fundamentalist upbringing that they spend their life bucking every rule they can find.  They start seeing legalists under every rock.”

“The solution here isn’t to throw out all rules.  It’s to embrace God’s rules and obey them out of a desire to honor him.  If there’s a rule in your life that you obey solely because of someone else and that person’s opinion, take time to study Scripture for yourself.  See if the rule is really biblical.  Sometimes you’ll find that it is – either because Scripture directly commands it or because biblical principles convince you of its wisdom.  But other times you might find that it’s man-made and you could leave it behind.”

The Holy Spirit and the charismatic movement:

“”Many people saw the charismatic movement as a genuine and much-needed renewal of mainline denominations that were dead, formal, and lacking zeal in worship and evangelism.  Skeptics saw it as un-biblcal, out of control emotionalism and possibly the lingering effects of all those drugs.  Looking back, I think both sides were partially right.  Like many revivals in church history, this one had a mix of good and bad.”

“Maybe because He is a Spirit, it’s easier to blame weird stuff on him.”

[speaking about being around charismatics]”There was an emotional reality to the way people talked about God.  They spoke about him as if he were right there- like right next to them.”

Spiritual gifts:

“If what you do is helpful and other people are encouraged by your service, maybe you have a gift.  But you don’t need a badge to be useful.  Just serve.”

Knowing doctrine and loving God:

“Sound doctrine is so important.  But we can never settle for merely knowing doctrine.  God has given us his Holy Spirit, and he invites us to ask to be continually filled with his Spirit afresh so that doctrine becomes the living story of God’s great love for us.”