Book Review: Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? A Critical Appraisal of Modern and Postmodern Approaches to Scripture.

When I received this book in the mail from Crossway Publishers I was immediately overwhelmed by the sheer size of the book. Before I even opened the book I knew this would be a difficult read, one that I would have to chew on for a while. When I opened up to the table of contents and read chapter titles such as: Religious Epistemology, Theological Interpretation of Scripture, and Critical Biblical Scholarship: A Theologians Reflections by Thomas H. McCall, literally took my breath away. However, when I began to read and dig into the pages of this book I found it to be most helpful in discovering the Bible as a truly historical document in light of recent arguments made against, not only the historicity of this Bible, but also it’s inerrancy. The book starts out with a clear-cut statement on the writing of these essays and articles, which only made me want to dive into the book with more zeal.

“We offer this book to help address some of the questions raised about the historicity, accuracy, and inerrancy of the Bible by colleagues within our faith community, as well as those outside it. There will be a special emphasis placed on matters of history and the historicity of biblical narratives, both Old and New Testaments, as this seems presently to be a burning issue for theology and faith Hence, we begin with a group of essays that deal with theological matters before moving on to topics in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and archaeology.”

If you are a Bible geek like I am, then you see why I took the time to open the pages and dig into the wonderful realm of Biblical history and theology. This book lays out some very convincing arguments in light of the recent rise of biblical criticism. There were several passages that were particularly convincing for me, in my own walk with Christ, and my building of a theological, historical, and accurate worldview.

“Historical study of the Bible also reminds us that the narrative of the Bible refers to realities outside the text. The central narratives not to be construed as a mere construct of the imagination of the community of faith. If the Gospels refer to the living God acting and suffering in Christ for our salvation, if the story they tell is not simply pious fiction, then historical study can never be irrelevant for Christian faith.”

This book offers some serious study for the student who wants to have a solid background of arguments made for and against the Bible. The essays are gathered from a top-notch list of scholars who seek to put God in his rightful place, alone on the throne. This is not a text that needs to be read from cover to cover, however it does help to start at the beginning, to understand the purpose of the book and the opening arguments which shine light to the remaining chapters. I would recommend this book for someone who has a background of education in theology such as pastors or lay-persons within the church. It is at some points hard to read and difficult to understand but if you are willing to apply yourself to the arguments, they may be easier to comprehend in time. This is a book I plan to keep close at hand for future reference. The quote above and the chapter which handled Paul’s radical transformation were perhaps the most helpful for me. I encourage those in the church to put this book into the hands of their pastors and ministers of the gospel. May it change others as it has done with me. Out of five stars I would certainly give this one five.

I received this book for free from Crossway in return for writing a review of it. I was not directed to give a positive review, only an honest one. Crossway has an excellent selection books. Please visit them at http://www.crossway.org for more information.

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