Subscribe now

All you need to know about the Bible – Book 3

By Brian H Edwards
March 2018 | Review by Noel Ramsey
  • Publisher: Day One
  • ISBN: 978-1-84625-586-1
  • Pages: 144
  • Price: 7.00
Buy this book »

This is the third of six books under the title of ‘looking at the Bible’. I had not yet read any of this series, but would recommend reading them in order — I found it frustrating being unable to look up numerous references to other books in the series!

Book 3 addresses the issue of the canon: do we have the right books in the Bible? As the evidence is thoroughly examined, readers are left in no doubt that our 66 books are indeed those which God ‘breathed out’ (2 Timothy 3:16). Only these were inspired by God. This title also covers how the canon of Scripture was compiled.

For the Old Testament canon, the evidence shows there was a general consensus among the Jews of Jesus’ day as to the 39 books which make up the Hebrew Scriptures. Edwards also demonstrates why the books of the Apocrypha were never accepted.

For the New Testament, it is clear that during the first four centuries AD church leaders acknowledged certain books to have God’s stamp of approval. The Gospels and many New Testament letters were quickly accepted as divinely inspired and therefore authoritative. By the middle of the second century, there was a growing collection of books which were accepted as given by God.

The discovery of the second century Muratorian Canon supports this fact. Early establishment of the New Testament canon is also verified by frequent quotation of the 27 New Testament books by early church leaders like Tertullian of Carthage (AD 155-200). This was often done to refute the Gnostic heresies of their time.

Edwards’ final two chapters deal with some helpful (albeit non-canonical) books that were written by the early church. The fact they were never accepted as Scripture indicates that there were clear criteria for accepting certain books as directly inspired by God, a matter discussed by the author.

The final chapter deals with the writings of the many false teachers prevalent in the early church. Such false teaching forced the early Christians to identity which books should be seen as having God’s authority. The appendix charts many church leaders and their contribution to the idea of a canon. This can also be downloaded from online.

With a superb index to help you navigate your way around the whole series, I have no hesitation in recommending this book. It is written in a clear and readable style and is ideal for people new to the topic. If the other books are of the same quality as this one, then the series will prove a treasure trove for years to come.

Noel Ramsey


Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
It Takes a Church to Raise a Parent: Creating a culture where parenting for faith can flourish
Rachel Turner

This book aims to show how the church can equip parents so they can ‘parent for faith’. I agree wholeheartedly with its focus on helping one another within a church context. When we become Christians, we are part of God’s…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
The Doctor Who Became a Preacher: Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Banner Board Books)
Rebecca VanDoodewaard

This is a cracking little board book for reading to very young children. It shows how doctors help people who are sick, before relating how Martyn Lloyd-Jones chose to preach the good news instead, with many people coming to hear…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Triumphant Love: The contextual, creative and strategic missionary work of Amy Beatrice Carmichael in south India
J (Hans) Kommers

The following information has been provided by Chris Kavanagh, director of the Dohnavur Fellowship Corporation. Dr Jacky Woolcock, who served in Dohnavur 1969–1987 writes, ‘I met Dr Kommers in the Dohnavur UK office in 2015, being offered to read the…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
The Spirit of the Age: The 19th Century Debate Over the Holy Spirit and the Westminster Confession
J V Fesko

In the late nineteenth century, mounting pressure developed among churches adhering to the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) for a revision of some of its statements. In the USA, this was led by C. A. Briggs and Philip Schaff. Briggs’ antipathy…