Monday, April 29, 2013

From God to Us- How We Got Our Bible - By Norman Geisler and William Nix


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This is an excellent look into the transmission of God's Word.  Instead of starting out with material proofs or by appealing to ones feelings regarding the inspiration of the Bible,  Geisler and Nix hold the Holy Scriptures as the ultimate authority and use the Bible as the main and first proof of its own inspiration and authenticity.  Their method reminds me of a quote I read once that went something along these lines: "The Scriptures revolve on their own axis.  They do not disdain indirect assistance, from secular investigations; but they mainly depend on their own inexhaustible resources and treasures."(E. W. Grinfield)  The authors of this examination use the prophets and apostles own references and quotations of each others God given Scriptures as evidence.  And in regards to the Old and New Testaments they use Christ's quoting and referencing it as special proof.  They first emphasize belief in the God of the Bible and in Jesus' divinity, and then demonstrate that Christ's usage of Scripture as God's Word leads to a logical imperative conclusion that the Scriptures are therefore the Word of God.  "Jesus said, 'Scripture cannot be broken' (John 10:35). On numerous occasions our Lord appealed to the written Word of God as final arbitrator for faith and practice.  He claimed Scripture as His authority for cleansing the temple(Mark 11:17), for rebuking the tradition of Pharisees(Matt. 15:3, 4);.. for settling doctrinal disputes(Matt. 22:29).."   

After letting the God's Word be its own proof, the authors then move on to secondary matters, other logical reasons as to the Bible being the truth.  I like that with these secondary proofs, such as Archaeological evidence supporting the Bibles claims, the authors make sure to point out that this evidence is merely supporting evidence, this evidence does not make the Bible true, the Bible is true regardless.  This is the same way they treat the development of the Canon, "Canonicity is determined by God and discovered by man." The Words of God are inspired whether or not man has come to the conclusion that they are inspired.  I like those points. 

Moving on to the development of the Canon, the collection of books that we hold as God's Word, they then look into its transmission and translations down through the centuries.   This is not a high level overview of the Bible, it is an intricate look at how God has chosen to preserve and compile His Word by means of human beings copying, translating, and collecting it, examining older copies of it  and collating its  manuscripts.  It gets quite detailed about the various old manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments  we have to work from.  But I found those details very interesting.  Also, Geisler and Nix keep repeating what various manuscript symbols mean, they don't just assume you'll remember them after merely seeing them one time.  And having short-term memory I appreciate that.

 Now as I say(or at least think) with regards to any book I have read besides the Bible, there are things that I do not agree with in this book, but overall it was very informative.   Speaking of not completely agreeing with any other book, the quote I want to end with from this one fits very well:

 "No article of faith may be based on any noncanonical work, regardless of its religious value. 
The divinely inspired and authoritative books are the sole basis for doctrine and practice.  Whatever complimentary support canonical truth derives from other books, it in no way lends canonical value to those books.  The support is purely historical and has no authoritative theological value.  The truth of inspired Scripture alone is the canon or foundation of the truths of faith."

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this
review. Thanks MoodyPublishers! 





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