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The Message of the Word of God

By Tim Meadowcroft
May 2012 | Review by John Brand

Synopsis

Any coherent comment on what the Bible says about the Bible, the Christian Scriptures,' says Tim Meadowcroft, 'must address the wider notion that God speaks.' Accordingly, his fresh, wide-ranging exposition of 'the message of the word of God' is structured around four key propositions. The first is the extraordinary, fundamental reality that God speaks - and that when he speaks, he acts. This introduces us to the breadth of God's speaking, both in the text of Scripture and by means of the world that he has created. Secondly, God speaks in the written words of Scripture in a particular way: this is because the biblical texts are unique. Thirdly, God speaks in Christ: the word of God is finally and fully revealed and heard in the person of Jesus, the incarnate Word. From this it follows that the word of God in Scripture is a witness to the revelation of God in Jesus, that Jesus provides a model for interpretation of the Scriptures, and that the Scriptures are best understood and interpreted in the light of Christ. The fourth proposition is that God speaks today: his voice continues to be heard in the light of Christ and through the reading of Scripture. Throughout, Meadowcroft shows how God's speaking is concerned with his glory, and calls into being his people - who themselves are to live out and declare the word of God to others.

  • Publisher: IVP
  • ISBN: 978-1-84474-5517
  • Pages: 281
  • Price: 9.99
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Book Review

The Message of the Word of God
Tim Meadowcroft
IVP
281, £9.99
ISBN: 978-1-84474-5517
Star Rating: 2

For Tim Meadowcroft, the Word of God, at least in the scope of this book, is not simply a synonym for the Scriptures.  The book is a much wider consideration of how God speaks, looking at the divine communication and self-revelation through general and special revelation, the written words of Scripture and Christ, the incarnate Word.   One of his key, underlying concepts is that of ‘speech-act theory’, stressing “the inseparability of speech and action…The concepts developed in this theory are helping readers of Scripture to appreciate afresh that when God speaks he acts, and that God acts by speaking.” (p26)

Meadowcroft approaches his subject by a series of detailed expositions of passages from throughout Scripture and in this, he undoubtedly achieves at least one of the stated ideals for the now well established and highly respected series, The Bible Speaks Today (BST), of which this is a volume in their ‘Bible Themes’ collection.   The series’ aim is to “expound the biblical text with accuracy” and there is no doubt that Meadowcroft is a diligent and faithful exegete and scholar of the biblical text.

However, this is heavy going and, unlike most other volumes in the BST series, will surely only really appeal to the scholar and academic.   One general commendation of the BST series describes them as “…not only scholarly but inspirational”, but I couldn’t honestly say that applied in this case.  Scholarly it certainly is, but I feel the author made an inspiring subject rather dull. 

Rev John Brand, Principal, Faith Mission Bible College, Edinburgh

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