Bill Muehlenberg’s commentary on issues of the day…
One of the hallmarks of biblical Christianity is a very high view of the Word of God. Christians believe that the Bible is divinely inspired and is our final authority on all things, affirming truth on matters of both faith and practice. As Jesus said in John 17:17: “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”
Obviously anything as vitally important as the Word of God will come under regular, sustained and ferocious attack. Especially since the nineteenth century, attacks on Scripture have been relentless. Christians have long defended God’s Word, and I have already offered a lengthy list of helpful books on this topic back in 2011: billmuehlenberg.com/2011/01/15/recommended-reading-on-scripture/
Many of the older and newer classics mentioned there can still be highlighted, such as those by Warfield, Blomberg, Packer, Carson, Geisler and Sproul, to name just a few. But since them a number of excellent new volumes have appeared which are well worth mentioning. They are volumes we all should have in our libraries, and used to stand strong for the reliability and trustworthiness of Scripture.
Pride of place has to go to a brand new and massive volume edited by D. A. Carson. The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures (Eerdmans, 2016), is certainly the newest and most comprehensive treatment of this topic, and all related aspects to it.
In some 1250 pages thirty-seven of our top evangelical scholars deal with all aspects of the Scripture debate. We have experts in theology, biblical studies, Old and New Testament, and so on coming together here to make one of the most important cases to date for the full authority of Scripture.
Scholars include: Carson, John Woodbridge, Richard Lints, Anthony Lane, Kenneth Vanhoozer, Craig Blomberg, Douglas Moo, Graham Cole, Bruce Waltke, Paul Helm, Harold Netland, and many others. Most of the important aspects of the Scripture debate are covered here: historical, biblical, theological, philosophical, and epistemological.
There are solid chapters on a range of issues such as: authority and truth, literary genres, science and scripture, inerrancy, scripture in other religions, canonisation, hermeneutics and so on. Even the final chapter by Carson, “Summarising FAQs” is of great value, digesting all that has gone before in the previous thousand-plus pages.
The importance of this topic cannot be overstated. As Carson reminds us at the end of his preface, Isaiah 66:2 says this: “These are the ones I look on with favour: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” This superb volume was six long years in the making, and Carson and Co are to be congratulated for making it available.
But let me briefly mention a dozen other volumes which you should be aware of (and in fact be in possession of):
Blomberg, Craig, Can We Still Believe the Bible? Brazos press, 2014.
The New Testament scholar has written a number of important volumes on the reliability of Scripture, and in this helpful work he deals with various topics, such as canonisation, the transmission of Scripture, inerrancy, the miraculous, and other vital issues.
Cowan, Steven and Terry Wilder, eds., In Defense of the Bible. B&H, 2013.
In this substantial volume of nearly 500 pages a range of experts look at philosophical, textual, historical, scientific, ethical, and theological challenges to the Bible. An excellent tool in apologetics with noted authorities such as Paul Copan, William Dembski, Walter Kaiser, Paul Barnett, Darrel Bock and Daniel Wallace.
Ferguson, Sinclair, From the Mouth of God. Banner of Truth, 2014.
This brief (200-page) volume does three things: it examines the reliability and trustworthiness of Scripture; discusses how to read and interpret Scripture, and then offers practical help in how to apply the Bible. A useful, popular level volume by the theology professor and former Presbyterian pastor.
Garner, David, ed., Did God Really Say? Affirming the Truthfulness and Trustworthiness of Scripture. P&R, 2012.
In this brief volume seven scholars from Westminster Theological Seminary and several other schools discuss various issues, including inerrancy, the canon, and God and language.
Geisler, Norman and William Roach, Defending Inerrancy. Baker, 2011.
Norman Geisler has written extensively about Scripture and inerrancy over the years, and in this recent volume he offers a careful exposition of what inerrancy is, its history, its importance, and recent challenges to it.
Grudem, Wayne, C. John Collins and Thomas Schreiner, eds., Understanding Scripture. Crossway, 2012.
In this slim volume various experts such as John Piper, Vern Poythress, Paul Wegner, Daniel Doriani, and Leland Ryken look at a number of topics, including canonisation, archaeology and the Bible, hermeneutics, textual and manuscript issues, and so on.
Hoffmeier, James and Dennis Magary, eds., Do Historical Matters Matter To Faith? A Critical Appraisal of Modern and Postmodern Approaches to Scripture. Crossway, 2012.
This very important 550-page volume looks at a number of modern and postmodern approaches and challenges to Scripture. Experts such as Richard Hess, Darrell Bock, Robert Yarbrough, Mark Thompson and Craig Blomberg combine to demonstrate just how reliable, trustworthy and authoritative the Bible really is.
Lillback, Peter and Richard Gaffin, eds., Thy Word Is Still Truth: Essential Writings on the Doctrine of Scripture from the Reformation to Today. P&R, 2013.
This mega-volume of 1400 pages performs an invaluable service by bringing together all the key writings on Scripture from the past 500 years. Thus Calvin, Luther, the various Reformed Confessions, Owen, Edwards, Hodge, Warfield, Bavink, Kuyper, Allis, Murray, Frame, Waltke and many more are found here. An indispensable volume.
Meadowcroft, Tim, The Message of the Word of God. IVP, 2011.
The New Zealand biblical studies lecturer here offers us what Scripture itself says about Scripture. Twenty key passages such as Psalm 19, Nehemiah 8, John 1, Isaiah 55, Matthew 12 and 2 Timothy 3 are discussed in detail.
Poythress, Vern Sheridan, Inerrancy and Worldview. Crossway, 2012.
Poythress examines a number of recent challenges to the Bible, such as philosophical, sociological and scientific. He deals with worldviews and materialism, higher criticism, God language, religious pluralism, the nature of biblical inspiration, Marxist and feminist critiques, and the nature of truth.
My last two books are a bit more specialised. In my bigger bibliographies on Scripture, I have a separate section on canon, canonisation, etc. Two recent volumes are worth mentioning here, both by Michael Kruger:
–Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books. Crossway, 2012.
–The Question of Canon. IVP, 2013.
These two volumes are excellent in telling us everything we need to know about the New Testament canon: its origins, formation, authors, writing, dating, development, reception, transmission, importance and reliability. While good books already exist on the canon of the NT, these really are now our first port of call.
So happy reading as you equip yourself to more fully appreciate, rely upon, and defend the Word of God.