Ten Words to Live By: Delighting in and Doing What God Commands – Jen Wilkin

Ten Words to Live By Jen Wilkin
Ten Words to Live by: Delighting in and Doing What God Commands by Jen Wilkin
Published by Crossway Books on March 30, 2021
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Theology
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New from the Best-Selling Author of Women of the Word
In Ten Words to Live By, Jen Wilkin reminds readers of the life-giving power of God's perfect law for the believer. The Ten Commandments are words God spoke to a nation recently set free. They are words about obedience and holiness--timeless in their importance and wisdom. Yet today these same words are often misunderstood, forgotten, or simply ignored.
Wilkin teaches readers how the Ten Commandments come to bear on their lives today, helping them to love God and others, live in joyful freedom, and long for that future day when God will be rightly worshiped for eternity. Ancient and timeless, these words cannot be overlooked. They serve as the rightful delight and daily meditation of those who call on the name of the Lord.

In this book, Jen Wilkin explains that even though many people aren’t able to remember all of the Ten Commandments, much less recite them in order, they remain essential to our understanding of right living. She helps readers explore the commandments with new eyes, and shares insightful reflections about each one, locating it in its historical and cultural context while also providing modern applications. Each chapter ends with reflection questions, inviting readers to consider how their understanding of that commandment has changed, how they would grade themselves on it, and how they can grow.

Ten Words to Live By: Delighting in and Doing What God Commands is concise and well-written, and Wilkin gets to the heart of each commandment, encouraging her readers to see their sin and find hope in Christ, without a checklist mentality towards behavior modification. Wilkin emphasizes the difference between God-honoring lawfulness and self-righteous legalism, and she shares personal stories throughout, showing ways that she has struggled to keep these commandments at different times in her life. Her tone is vulnerable and inviting, never condemning, and as Wilkin engages with the scope of redemptive history, she encourages her readers to put their hope in Christ.

I grew up with a firm grasp of the commandments and encountered regular teaching about them, so most of Wilkin’s points were familiar to me, but I found her perspective and unique insights helpful. I especially appreciate the way that she filters the commandments through a contrast between honor and contempt. She shows us how our sin holds God and other people in contempt, and explains how following the commandments helps us to honor God and others, instead of using or rejecting them for our own ends. This was especially insightful in the chapters dealing with murder/anger and adultery/lust. Ten Words to Live By is a thoughtful guide to wholehearted righteousness, and even though Wilkin primarily wrote it for adult women, I would recommend it to men and teenagers as well.