PUBLICATION DATE: MAY 25, 2012
ith contributions from a number of seminaries in the Protestant Reformed tradition, the book promises to defend the belief in the plenary and verbal inspiration of the Bible against the most coherent scholarly and other intellectual arguments that have been advanced.
I can say, with confidence, this is an excellently written, well-reasoned and precisely worded introduction and defense of the Bible as the Word. This book deals squarely with the topic of the clarity and accuracy of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. However, it is not written on a popular level despite being described in much lighter terms than it is written.
K. Scott Oliphant opens with a theological justification of the importance of the subject. His explanation of Principium Cognoscendi (foundation of knowing; doctrine of Scripture) and Principium Essendi (foundation of Being; doctrine of God) as the necessary beginning point of comprehending the Scriptures is clear and well-presented. He delves into the idea of archetypal and ectypal knowledge to demonstrate how it is that we think God’s thoughts after Him. We can comprehend only because God has articulated his truth. Our knowledge is finite and a mere reflection of perfect revelation and perfect authority.
Michael Kruger introduces chapter three with a response to “recent challenges to the origins and authority of the New Testament writings.” Recently, Bart Ehrman has argued that the writers of the New Testament books did not view themselves are writing “God-breathed,” inspired, potentially canonical works (Did Jesus Exist). Kruger takes this argument to task by associating the words of the New Testament with a covenantal and, consequently, with a redemptive-historical purpose in the original compositions. Kruger highlights the Apostle Paul’s assertion that he and his fellow Apostles were “ministers of a new covenant” with a perfect understanding that their authority and witness would form the basis of a new, inspired, unique, testamental corpus.
In another chapter, Vern Poythress lucidly demonstrates that the New Testament authorship is a reflection of the very human perspectives brought to the text by their unique writers. Every author of every book had their own particular “interpretation” although they were in fact conveying God-sanctioned truth. God speaks through the content of eternal truths, clarifying Old Testament typology in a canonical context.
The authors do not shy away from engaging critical concepts or scholars. NT Wright, for example, is cited for his reasoned statements, though at times he is taken to task with equal diligence. Additionally, the footnotes throughout this book are valuable and scholarly. I very much enjoyed the extra insight they provided.
Overall, I don’t believe this book fits in well with a general audience although, I would recommend it as a very good introduction from the perspective of someone who has already engaged the topic seriously. The writing style is tight and nicely organized, flowing from one chapter to another. It builds and does not detract from the theme of the book. The editor has obviously done a tremendous amount of work to bring the work to this level of accessibility.
I highly recommend this book to other students of the issue of Biblical authority and trustworthiness.