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