We should trust the Bible, says Timothy Paul Jones, because it is ‘grounded in the words of a man who died and rose again’ (p.111). Jones’s basic presupposition is this: ‘If we live in a world where it is possible…
- Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust
- ISBN: 978-1-84871-812-8
- Pages: 122
- Price: £5.00
According to the back cover, this book intends to ‘provide an entry point for those who know little about the “Book of books”, but it is written ‘in such a way as to encourage those who know it better to explore it more fully’.
The book begins well. The first chapter explains that our God communicates: through creation, through chosen people such as prophets and apostles, and supremely through the Scriptures and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The second chapter then bogs us down in a debate. Do words have any meaning? Ask modern poets and writers. Yet surely readers of this book would have no doubts on this issue, or they wouldn’t be reading it in the first place!
The range of material covered is impressive: progressive revelation, plenary inspiration, human authorship, the Holy Spirit’s work in Scripture, canonicity, inerrancy, clarity, interpretation, central message and application.
The author is keen to deal with objections. He gives extended quotations from critics and then counters them, but in the process may well confuse many readers unfamiliar with the Bible.
The chief issue with this book is that the style of writing is more suited to well-informed believers. Terms including perspicuity, compatibilist, epistemological repentance, self-aggrandising, late-modernity/post-modernity scepticism and the New Perspective on Paul may well put readers off who are new to Christianity.
There is a surprising error on page 87, where it is suggested that John Wycliffe was put to death for translating the Bible into English. He actually died of natural causes, aged 64.
There are good things, of course, in this little book. A useful table compares the evidence for the New Testament text with that of other ancient writings, such as Homer’s Iliad, Caesar’s account of his Gallic Wars, Herodotus’ history, etc. The clear superiority of the textual history of the New Testament is made apparent.
In conclusion, there is useful material in this book for Christians mature in faith and knowledge. Sadly, I would not recommend giving this book to its target group: persons with little Bible knowledge.