Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris

January 21, 2010 | By | 2 Comments

There’s a story in the Bible of a young king named Josiah, who lived 640 years before Christ. I think Josiah could have related to me – being religious but ignorant of God. Josiah’s generation had lost God’s Word. And I don’t mean that figuratively. They literally lost God’s Word. It sounds scandalous, but they essentially misplaced the Bible.

If you think about it, this was a pretty big deal. We’re not talking about a pair of sunglasses or a set of keys. The Creator of the universe had communicated with mankind through the prophet Moses. He gave his law. He revealed what he was like and what he wanted. He told his people what it meant for them to be his people and how they were to live. All this was dutifully recorded on a scroll. Then this scroll, which was precious beyond measure, was stored in the holy temple. But later it was misplaced. No one knows how. Maybe a clumsy priest dropped it and it rolled into a dark corner.

But here’s the really sad thing: nobody noticed it was missing. No search was made. Nobody checked under the couch. It was gone and no one cared. For decades those who wore the label “God’s people” actually had no communication with him.

Dug Down Deep, p. 8-9

Background: I had to laugh at the placement of the books in the store. Joshua Harris’s book I Kissed Dating Goodbye was next to another book titled I Gave Dating a Chance. Honestly, I kissed Harris goodbye before reading any of what he had to say. The title alone was enough for me to pass that one over. As an aside, I always felt that the book was great at protecting fragile egos. For example, let’s say there was a Christian person who really wanted a date, but couldn’t find one. Well, that person could simply say, “I kissed dating goodbye!” What a wonderful way to gain an illusion of control and protected desirability. You could even call it “defense-method theology”. How quickly that person’s viewpoint would change when asked on a date!

Well, Joshua Harris is back and this time I’ve decided to actually read what he has to say. You might say that I gave Joshua Harris a second chance. I am glad that I did.

Summary: Dug Down Deep could have been titled Theology for Dummies. It is best-suited for Christians new to the study of theology or not sure why it is so important. Harris writes, “I’ve come to learn that theology matters. It matters not because we want to impress people, but because what we know about God shapes the way we think and live. Theology matters because if we get it wrong then our whole life will be wrong.” This book is a call to knowing and living out the fundamentals of the Christian faith.

Some of the questions tackled are:

  • What is God like and how does he speak to me?
  • What difference does it make that Jesus was both human and divine?
  • How does Jesus’s death on the cross pay for my sins?
  • Who is the Holy Spirit and how does he work in my life?

Harris frequently quotes J.I. Packer and Wayne Gruden, but this is not a book on systematic theology proper. In the words of Harris, “it’s more like a mixtape of biblical truth that I’ve found personally significant.” He continues, “I don’t pretend to be swimming in the deep end of the pool. I’m splashing in the shallow end. But if my splashing can inspire you to dive in, I will have succeeded.”

Positives: Dug Down Deep is written with admirable humility and honesty. It is also written with an engaging passion that brings to life material which could otherwise seem dry and academic. I am reminded of the issues Jesus had with people who worshiped him with their mouths rather than hearts (Matthew 15:8).  This book properly gets the brain and heart involved. It has been said that knowledge puffs up, while love builds up (1 Corinthians 8:1). Harris aims at building up the reader rather than trying impress everyone with how he much knows. I really appreciated the way he came across throughout.

Negatives: This book is best-suited for newer Christians or persons new to the study of theology. If the reader is already quite familiar with terms such as doctrine, orthodoxy, propitiation, and sanctification, he or she may have trouble staying engaged (and I’m not talking about dating!).

Rating: 4/5 (mixtape of biblical truth)

“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” – 1 Timothy 4:16

This book was provided for review by Waterbrook Multnomah. To learn more about or purchase this book on Amazon, click here. You might also want to check out the book’s website.


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Comments (2)

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  1. julie says:

    You make me want to read this book. Thanks for the review Mark!

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