Each generation needs a fresh appraisal of current understandings of the doctrine of Scripture, with warnings of dangerous human speculations. The author, who is New Testament Professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi, does this admirably, but at the same time presents a clear exposition of what the Bible is: God’s authoritative, inerrant Word.
The book is one of a series of Reformed, Exegetical and Doctrinal Studies which has the goal of refining doctrinal formulations in a way that is pastorally helpful. It consists of eight chapters with a subject and Scripture index. The first two chapters explain what revelation means, and deal with the content and purpose of natural revelation before presenting a detailed treatment of special revelation. Calvin, Turretin, Warfield, Packer, and Vos are among the heavyweights quoted.
A separate chapter studies the important subject of inspiration and inerrancy. Scripture not only contains, but is the Word of God; therefore Waters argues that to concede errors in the Bible is the same as declaring there are errors in God.
In reflecting on the Bible’s inherent authority and the inner witness of the Spirit, a detailed examination is given to the question of how Christians and the church have come to recognise the 66 books as God’s Word. There is a full treatment of the sufficiency of Scripture – what it means and does not mean – with arguments against Rome’s claims concerning the place of tradition, and charismatic beliefs in continuing revelation. No exceptions are considered with regard to special promptings of the Spirit or unusual divine guidance in particular circumstances.
Under the heading ‘Clarity of Scripture’, it is admitted that the Bible is not uniformly clear and that some passages are difficult to understand. However the chapter emphasises that all types of readers can appreciate what God requires them to believe with regard to salvation and to living for God’s honour. Rome’s false claim of ‘magisterial infallibility’ is clearly exposed.
The final two chapters deal helpfully and sensitively with the views of Karl Barth, the early twentieth century ‘neo-orthodox’ theologian, and Peter Enns, the Old Testament professor who was dismissed from Westminster Theological Seminary for resurrecting old liberal doubts concerning Old Testament texts.
Pastors, Bible teachers, and students would do well to consult this readable work.