Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Book Review: Can I Trust the Bible?

Can I Trust the Bible? (Crucial Questions #2) R.C. Sproul. 2009. Reformation Trust. 65 pages. [Source: Free download]

First sentence: The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy rightly affirms that "the authority of Scripture is a key issue for the Christian church in this and every age."

Can I Trust the Bible is a reprint of a booklet: Explaining Inerrancy: A Commentary by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy in 1980 and as Explaining Inerrancy in 1996. It is the second book in the Crucial Questions series.

The booklet consists of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, which was the work of a committee, and six chapters by R.C. Sproul providing commentary and exposition on the Chicago statement. Each chapter covers two or more of the nineteen articles from the Chicago Statement. Each article contains an affirmation and a denial.

The book discusses the Bible, the role of the Bible in the lives of believers and the church; it also provides terms and definitions for the discussion.

I do wish the book was titled Is the Bible Trustworthy? instead of Can I Trust the Bible? Essentially, he answers both questions. The answer to the first being that the Bible is the Word of God; God cannot err, therefore his Word to us cannot and will not err. It is completely trustworthy and should be an authority in the lives of believers and the church. The answer to the second being, the Bible--the Word of God--is linked so closely to Jesus Christ--the Word Incarnate, that to trust in one is to trust in the other.

Favorite quotes:
Ultimately, we believe the Bible to be inerrant because it comes from God Himself. It is unthinkable to contemplate that God might be capable of error. Therefore, His Word cannot possibly contain errors. This is our faith— we can trust the Bible because we can trust God.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God who is the Word made flesh, our Prophet, Priest, and King, is the ultimate Mediator of God’s communication to man, as He is of all God’s gifts of grace. The revelation He gave was more than verbal; He revealed the Father by His presence and His deeds as well. Yet His words were crucially important; for He was God, He spoke from the Father, and His words will judge all men at the last day. As the prophesied Messiah, Jesus Christ is the central theme of Scripture. The Old Testament looked ahead to Him; the New Testament looks back to His first coming and on to His second. Canonical Scripture is the divinely inspired and therefore normative witness to Christ. No hermeneutic, therefore, of which the historical Christ is not the focal point is acceptable. Holy Scripture must be treated as what it essentially is— the witness of the Father to the incarnate Son.
The authority of Christ and that of Scripture are one. As our Prophet, Christ testified that Scripture cannot be broken. As our Priest and King, He devoted His earthly life to fulfilling the Law and the Prophets, even dying in obedience to the words of messianic prophecy. Thus, as He saw Scripture attesting Him and His authority, so by His own submission to Scripture He attested its authority. As He bowed to His Father’s instruction given in His Bible (our Old Testament), so He requires His disciples to do— not, however, in isolation but in conjunction with the apostolic witness to Himself which He undertook to inspire by His gift of the Holy Spirit.
Infallible signifies the quality of neither misleading nor being misled, and so safeguards in categorical terms the truth that Holy Scripture is a sure, safe, and reliable rule and guide in all matters. Similarly, inerrant signifies the quality of being free from all falsehood or mistake, and so safeguards the truth that Holy Scripture is entirely true and trustworthy in all its assertions.
If the Bible is the Word of God and if God is a God of truth, then the Bible must be inerrant— not merely in some of its parts, as some modern theologians are saying, but totally, as the church for the most part has said down through the ages of its history.
The Bible’s truth does not depend in any way on whether a person believes the truth.
The Bible is not to be reinterpreted to be brought into conformity with contemporary philosophies but is to be understood in its intended meaning and word usage as it was written at the time it was composed.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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