Hannah Miller’s Review of WHY SHOULD YOU DENY YOURSELF, by Ryan M. McGraw

Published on July 25, 2022 by Eugene Ho

Reformation Heritage Books, 2015 | 36 pages

A Book Review from Books At a Glance

by Hannah Miller


In McGraw’s booklet, Why Should You Deny Yourself, the author immediately gives examples and starts pouring over the case for self-denial. On the third page, he states, “The practice of self-denial is desperately needed to restore the spiritual vitality of the church, her communion with Christ, and her witness in the world.” From the get-go, he seeks to bring about conviction for the believer as both personal progressive sanctification and part of the good for the church as a whole body.

McGraw then goes into what self-denial is and what it is not. The author discusses that Christ gave believers the ultimate example of self-denial, stating that “our self-denial is erecting a monument in His likeness and for His honor” (5). He goes on to discuss how Christ must be the foundation of faith. Believers must not only say in a word that they believe in Christ, but they must act out their faith, and one way is through self-denial. Using Christ as an example, McGraw goes over The Grounds for Self-Denial, The Pattern of Self-Denial, The Reason for Self-Denial, The Measure of Self-Denial, and the Principle of Self-Denial. He keeps a solid Christocentric focus as he delves into examples of how Christ denied himself and how the Holy Spirit can empower believers to deny themselves.

The second half of the booklet goes into specific details to help the believer see the practice of self-denial being lived out. He states that “it is easy to blunt the force of Scripture by envisioning applications that most never face” (15). McGraw’s examples include; the Sabbath, Worship, Prayer Meetings, Hospitality, Marriage, and Complaining and Contentment. McGraw uses both positive and negative examples from the above situations to demonstrate how one can deny oneself or indulge oneself, even in something that appears to be godly.

Overall, McGraw accomplishes what he aimed to do, that being, he excellently articulates not only why but how believers should practice self-denial. He takes Christ as the example and graciously walks the believer through this challenging topic. Though he uses many instances, a minor complaint would be that there were not more specific Bible references in his work. The work, however, was clearly laid out and easy to follow.


Hannah Miller

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

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Reformation Heritage Books, 2015 | 36 pages

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