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Biblical Inspiration [Paperback]

I. Howard Marshall

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Book Description

Jan 1982
Is the Bible infallible? Can we believe in its inspiration and practice biblical criticism? How is the Bible to be interpreted for today? I. Howard Marshall's answers to these questions will be helpful to all biblical students who are puzzled and confused by current discussions of biblical inspiration and authority. Biblical Inspiration will help to reassure conservative students regarding the value of critical study of the Bible, and will clear away much misunderstanding that the conservative view of the Bible is obscurantist and unscholarly.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best treatment of Biblical Inspiration 4 July 2000
By David Bennett - Published on Amazon.com
As the title suggests, this book is about the inspiration of the Bible. I. Howard Marshall, an evangelical Christian scholar, looks into this important Christian belief. In the opening pages, Marshall examines various views on the inspiration of the Bible, from total and complete inerrancy, to the belief that the Bible is inspired in the same way a good piece of literature is. While it is hard to figure out what view Marshall himself takes because he is so fair in his treatment of all views, I am sure that he views the Bible as the infallible word of God. This does not mean he thinks the Bible is inerrant however. He means that God divinely preserved all that he wanted us to know, and with the precision he wanted us to know it. So there are indeed some areas in the Bible that are unclear, and perhaps that is okay. Marshall is not a big fan of the divine dictator view that God simply told the writers what to write. Rather he believes that there was a concursive method. This means that the writers said what God wanted them to say, but by means of oral and literary traditions, and within the authors' own styles, rather than as a result of some type of divine trance.
Marshall asks many questions, such as "What Does the Bible say about its own inspiration?" and "How are we to interpret the Bible?" The book is made up of 125 pages of answers in plain English. Marshall's view may not harmonize with many people's view that the Bible is totally inerrant, and that there can be no error, whether historical or grammatical. However, I must say I found his treatment of the issue to be extremely relevant after I took a secular Bible course which emphasized the inconsistencies in the Bible. In a way Marshall helped me keep the faith after taking such a class. Don't think that Marshall obscures the facts. He does not twist anything to keep his theory from falling.
I must say I enjoy his writing style tremendously. I rarely became uninterested when reading this book. I wanted to find out what was on the next page, mainly because his answers were so important to me spiritually at the time. I would recommend this book for those who want a well thought out, and even-handed (Marshall presents the strengths and weaknesses of all popular theories of inspiration) treatment of the issue of Biblical Inspiration. Anybody can benefit from reading this book, even if he or she does not reach the same conclusions of the author.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Balanced and Bold Statement of the Bible's Inspiration and Authority. 4 Oct 2008
By James Korsmo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I. Howard Marshall is one of the most respected evangelical biblical scholars of the past generation, and in this short book, Biblical Inspiration, he undertakes a careful and balanced investigation into the nature and authority of the Bible. The book is simply laid out in six chapters:
Introduction: the Problem
1. What does the Bible say about itself?
2. What do we mean by inspiration?
3. What are the results of inspiration?
4. How are we to study the Bible?
5. How are we to interpret the Bible?
6. What are we to do with the Bible?

Through this simple progression, Marshall lays out the logic behind a robust doctrine of scripture, based on its character as God's inspired word. He begins by looking at what the Bible claims about itself, starting with the way Jesus and the authors of the New Testament understood the documents that came to be the Old Testament, and finding that they considered them, from the parts that are prophetic words from God to the historical narratives, to be God's Word, a view that culminates in the assertion in 2 Timothy that Scripture is inspired by God. He then moves on to investigate just what this inspiration is. He looks at different understandings, from a "dictation" model of inspiration to the view that the Bible is "inspired" just like good literature, finally asserting what he describes as a "concursive" model of inspiration. This asserts that human writers wrote the documents that have become our Bible, but that in so doing these documents are from God and are fully adequate for his purposes. He then moves on to look at the "results," that is, the implications of this understanding for what we understand the Bible to be. He concludes, after carefully weighing a number of options, and weighing them against the nature of the Bible as we have it, that the Bible is God's infallible word that is trustworthy to accomplish all that God intends. This can include "inerrancy," though the definition of that contested term must be very carefully laid out so that it takes into account the type of literature and the setting in which the Bible was written.

Marshall then proceeds to defend the "grammatico-historical" method of carefully studying the Bible, asserting that careful exegesis is necessary to better comprehending the message and meaning in the Bible. He then extends this discussion by describing how the fruit of this labor must be translated into our modern world, a world both similar to and distant from the world of the Bible, with an emphasis that the Bible must be its own norm and that we must always carefully guard against our own presuppositions and biases, even as we carefully analyze the Bible's message and seek to apply it. He concludes with a call to recognize and submit to the Bible's authority, based on its truthfulness.

Even though this is a short book, I have only skimmed the surface of Marshall's clear and helpful writing. He undertakes a very difficult and contested topic with great skill and profound insight. The result is a balanced yet also bold statement of the Bible's inspiration and authority. He provides some great correctives to especially a "dictation" model of inspiration and the attendant "inerrant" understanding of scripture that focuses almost solely on the Bible's divine character, and clearly this is a dialogue that he has in view with his writing. In short, I highly recommend this book as a short, clear statement of an evengelical doctrine of Scripture.
4.0 out of 5 stars Overview 1 April 2013
By G. Kreis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is an overview and leaves you wanting more on certain topics. But it is a good introduction to the different sides in the issue.
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