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Understanding Scripture [Paperback]

C. John Collins & Thomas R. Schreiner Wayne Grudem
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

17 Feb 2012

How does the Bible as a whole fit together?

How should we read it theologically - and as literature?

Are the manuscripts reliable?

How do they relate to archaeology?

When and how was the canon of Scripture formed?

What is the Septuagint?

How does the New Testament quote from and interpret the Old Testament?

Such questions are the focus of this collection of concise studies on the nature and content of the Bible.

Useful as both a general overview and as a tool for more specific reference and training, this volume will help readers to grow in their understanding of Scripture and their ability to apply it to their lives.

Pastors, church leaders, students, and other Christians engaged in studying and teaching God's Word will benefit from these studies, originally featured as articles in the ESV Study Bible and written by notable contributors, including John Piper, J. I. Packer, David Powlison, Vern Poythress, Peter J. Williams and Roger Beckwith.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: ivp (17 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844745643
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844745647
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,053,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Wayne Grudem is Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary. C. John Collins is Professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary. Thomas R. Schreiner is the James Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good background 29 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Some excellent articles, generally well-written, by various authors and an excellent resource book for those starting out on theological studies
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK BUT NOT GREAT 9 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
To be honest I found this book rather boring, even though it is relatively short. Some writers are better than others, but overall I would not recommend it.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Scripture: An Overview of The Bible's Origin, Reliability, and Meaning. 3 Mar 2012
By Jon Bennett: ad fines terrae - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Understanding Scripture: An Overview of the Bible's Origin, Reliability, and Meaning. Edited by Wayne Grudem, C. John Collins, and Thomas R. Schreiner.

I think, without realizing it, I have been waiting for a book like this for a long time. There has been a trend for a hundred and fifty years to view the Scriptures with a hyper-critical disdain. And there is a contemporary return to German liberal Protestantism, of the nineteenth century, in the work of Bart Ehrman, and others like him. There are plenty of evangelical books out there that address the different topics of the validity of the scriptures, the languages of the Bible, archaeological evidence, how to read the Scriptures, the use of the Old in the New, but I cannot think of one that puts those topics into one title. That is why this book is a great read for everyone.

This book is a compilation of nineteen essays by some of the leading evangelical scholars of our day, each with their own area of expertise which they can address in their given section. The book is in seven parts, with several essays in each, here is an overview, without listing everything.

(1) Interpreting the Bible. Great introduction including an overview of the history of interpretation.
(2) Reading the Bible. A thoroughly pastoral section (Piper is a contributor).
(3) The Canon of Scripture. Canon means voice, including Old and New Testaments and the Apocrypha (explaining why it is not included in the protestant Canon). And somehow Beckwith gets two essays.
(4) The Reliability of Bible Manuscripts. Wegner and Wallace, a very strong section.
(5) Archaeology and the Bible. Currid and Chapman (one of my teachers at CTS). Really interesting, and I am glad to see this section included in such a book.
(6) The Original Languages of the Bible. I admit, this is the most advanced section of the book, but don't let that put you off, it serves as a brief introduction to the historic languages.
(7) Old Testament and New. Poythress, on the history of redemption and Collins (my OT prof at CTS), on the use of the Old Testament in the New. This has to be my favorite section, outstanding. As well as explaining meaning and use Dr. Collins includes a chart at the back which shows every single OT quotation in the New; very helpful.

Here are a couple of excerpts to illustrate the depth.

"All sixty-six books of the Bible constitute the book of the Christian church. And the church, both as a whole and in the life of its members, must always be seen to be the people of the book. This glorifies God, its primary author" (J I Packer, "Reading The Bible Theologically" 29).

"The abundance of variants [of the NT texts] is the result of the very large number of remaining New Testament manuscripts, which itself gives a stronger, not weaker, foundation for knowing what the original manuscripts said" (Daniel B. Wallace, "The Reliability of The New Testament Manuscripts" 116).

"The New Testament writers exhibit these uses [of the OT] due to their conviction that Christians are the heirs of Israel's story; they exhibit other uses as well due to their conviction that the resurrection of Jesus had ushered in a new era, the messianic age--"the last days" foretold by the prophets. These authors saw themselves as God's authorized interpreters for this new era that God had opened in the story of his people" (C. John Collins, "How The NT Quotes And Interprets The OT" 186).

Have you ever read anything by Bart Ehrman and been disillusioned by claims of Biblical validity? get this book. Do you want to know more about the Bible and be able to create connections between various different parts? Get this book. So in sum, get this book, not only that but get two and give one away to someone you are discipling and mentoring.

There is a second volume to this series due to be released May 31st, looks just as brilliant, put that on order too:Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible: A Guide to Reading the Bible Well
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: Understanding Scripture 3 April 2012
By D. J. Blackmon II - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
How do we know what sin is? For example, how do we know that it's wrong for someone to cheat on their spouse and then claim it was their lover's fault (a kind of "indecent proposal") rather than repenting? Also, how do we know who God is? In what way are His attributes (holiness, righteousness, love, faithfulness, etc) made known to mankind? Finally, how do we know what the gospel is? Where can we go to learn that God, before the foundation of the world, chose to save people--people He would enable through the Holy Spirit to recognize their sin and exercise saving faith in Christ's death and resurrection so as to be saved?

I submit to you that, while our conscience gives us knowledge of sin and the handiwork of God in nature is a testament to God's existence, the only place from which we can learn the gospel (and the surest revelation of the other two) is from the Bible. Therefore, for a Christian, there is no more important task than studying scripture. Crossway has recently published a new book called Understanding Scripture: An Overview of the Bible's Origin, Reliability, and Meaning edited by Wayne Grudem, C. John Collins, and Thomas R. Schreiner which, in my opinion, would be a great help to any Christian seeking to learn more about the Bible. The essays in the book, written by some of the most respected evangelical scholars in the church today (i.e. J.I. Packer and John Piper, to name a few), were originally published in the ESV Study Bible. Collected in this one volume, they serve as an excellent resource for someone who wants to know more about the Bible.

For instance, there are chapters covering how to interpret the Bible (i.e. recognizing the importance of the literary elements of scripture), and how to read the Bible comprehensively (i.e. reading the Bible theologically and prayerfully). However, in my opinion, the strongest essays and probably the most helpful for the average Christian are the chapters that cover the history of Scripture (how it was put together and canonized) and the archeological support for Scripture. In my mind, these are particularly important right now in the church with so many people questioning the truthfulness and reliability of scripture--and that's just the people in the church not to mention the world outside the church that long ago relegated scripture to little more than fairy tales.

In short, I would recommend this book to any Christian that is serious about their faith and wants to know more about scripture. I could also see this making an excellent book to use for a group Bible study.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Scripture 21 Mar 2012
By Aaron Sellars - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Understanding the Bible is one of the most important things an person can do. This new book by Crossway helps in this process. As it's subtitle illustrates, the book delves into the world of the Bible's origin, reliability and meaning. These are great foundations by which to begin one's journey into the Scriptures or continue in one's lifelong persuit of God. Fortunately Crossway has chosen three amazing editors for the book, who personally know the Scriptures, study the Scriptures, love the Scriptures and worship the God of the Scriptures.

The book is broken into 7 main sections as follows:

1. Interpreting the BIble

2. Reading the Bible

3. The Canon of Scripture

4. The Reliability of Scripture

5. Archeology and the Bible

6. The Orginal Languages of the BIble

7. Old Testament and New

The book is a group of 19 essays exploring the world of the seven areas above. Each is by an evangelical with a great deal of expertise in his own area of scholarship. These men have painstakingly studied and meditated on the Bible and the implications of its origin, reliability and meaning.

If you have questions about the BIble, buy this book. If you are trying to study the Bible, buy this book. If you are being questions about the Bible, buy this book. If you are confused as to the validy of the BIble, buy this book. If you want to understand the meaing of the Bible more, buy this book. I have a number of books on my shelf about the history, orgin, meaning and reliability of the Bible, but I'm glad I have this one now as well.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One for the Bookshelf 14 Mar 2012
By Jude M St John - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have some favourite theologians. I confess. I am not a pulpit-sniffer or a scholar fan-boy. But there are some teachers and preachers whose teaching and preaching resonates with me. And as an intentional practice I try and get my hands on anything and everything these leaders and educators write or speak. If I find a particular man's ministry is used strongly by the Holy Spirit in my edification and sanctification, then I want to avail myself of that resource. Thus, when it came to my attention that two of those pastor-teacher-type authors were joint editing a book, along with a third editor C. John Collins, I decided I must read it. Understanding Scripture: An Overview of the Bible's Origin, Reliability, and Meaning is a book that has two editors whose ministries have had a significant impact on my life. Wayne Grudem and Thomas R. Schreiner are two men whose works I try and access whenever I can. And in this Crossway published survey of biblical issues I have been, yet again, strengthened and stretched in my faith.

Comprehensive but Not Extensive

By definition an overview is a general review or summary of a subject. It is not a thorough and meticulous investigation or a complete elucidation. It can be comprehensive, but it shouldn't be extensive. As an introduction to important matters pertaining to Scripture, this book does an admirable job. The broad scope of its inquiry is easily demonstrated with a listing of its parts:
1. Interpreting the Bible
2. Reading the Bible
3. The Canon of Scripture
4. The Reliability of the Bible Manuscripts
5. Archaeology and the Bible
6. The Original Languages of the Bible
7. Old Testament and New
As is obvious, this book covers a lot of ground, all of which is salient to people of the Word. Chapters by numerous esteemed pastors and scholars constitute each part. In light of the topics and the purpose of this book, the chapters are brief but they are so without being scant. This book makes for a great introduction to these Biblical subjects.

A Springboard for Further Study

For those uninitiated with the many issues this book presents, Grudem and friends offer an excellent starting point for understanding the concepts and the seriousness of what is at stake. The writers are knowledgeable and passionate about their topics and they deal with the subject matter in a way that should encourage further study. With the smorgasbord of topics available, every reader should find a morsel or dainty that elicits further consumption; this book offers only the appetizers with a feast waiting those inclined to eat. But this book is not simply for the novice.

A Refreshing Review

I have looked into most of these issues at one time or another, pursuing the questions and doubts I had to my satisfaction. And though I'm no expert, I was delighted to find several chapters that piqued my interest and generated a desire to seek more information. As an English high school teacher, I found Leland Ryken's chapter titled Reading the Bible as Literature superb and will definitely be follow that trail and see what else Ryken has to offer on the subject. Other chapters of note were those by J. I. Packer, John Hannah, and Daniel B. Wallace. This booked worked well for me as a review but also provided some stimulus for further investigations.

One for the Shelf

My house is quite full; seven of us and all our stuff. Shelf space, or any other kind of space for that matter, is quite limited. My wife reminds me that I need to be selective when choosing books. Hence, I look for books that I believe will be a solid resource for the household. Books of interest are those which I foresee reading again, or at least consulting again, or books which I think my children will find helpful. Understanding Scripture is just such a book. It is a book that I'm certain I will use as a reference in the future. And it is a book I will direct my children to for initiation into some of the issues that are sure to crop up in their lives as they live them out as men and women who rely on the Bible for the `daily bread'. This volume will find its way on to my bookshelf, and I recommend it for yours.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Collection 6 Sep 2012
By Gregory T Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Originally had these all in the ESV Study Bible (they are all in the back of the Bible) but bought this for the ease of use to pass out to people for specific reasons. Strong arguments and wonderful teaching on foundational views of the Bible and everything related. Of course, they are not expansive treatments on every subject but substantial enough to provide very clear and significant treatments of them. Conservative in their scholarship, which I highly appreciate. Highly Recommended!
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