Friday, October 7, 2011

Ham, K. & Hodge, B. How Do We Know the Bible is True? Vol.1 2011 book review

This book is a good collection of articles on Bible truth and other topics. It has 28 chapters by various authors. You can find the table of contents on It covers 300 pgs. I have done detailed summaries of some the key chapters on the primary topic: the truth of the Bible and its inerrancy.  How to interpret the Bible is also included.
Chap.1. How do We Know the Bible is True? P.15-24 by J. Lisle. The bible answers most of life’s major questions.  God has done miracles in your life. This is only subjective evidence. We believe the Bible by faith. This is not a good argument for a non-believer. 2 Pet. 3:15 says we should have an answer for why we believe. The bible itself says it is true: 2 Tim. 3:16. This is valid but it is a circular argument and begs the question.  Nevertheless most people believe what a book says about itself, unless they have good evidence to the contrary. One argument is that the text is quite consistent although written by different authors at different times. It has many old manuscripts from close to the time of writing. This is truer for the Bible than for almost any other ancient written work. It also contains some history that has been verified by archeological evidence. This makes the book unique. Still this only demonstrates that some or most of the Bible is true. It contains much fulfilled prophecy.  Some skeptics might say this is a coincidence. The Bible does show some agreement with findings of science. Some would find exceptions to this. Lisle stated that the laws of logic being true and God giving them is a good argument as is the uniformity of the laws of nature and physics. By God giving them we know they are universal, otherwise we don’t.
Chap. 2 Is the Old Testament Reliable? p.25-34 B. Edwards.  The Old Testament (OT) writers believed their message was God breathed. There are about 400 statements in the OT “Thus says the Lord”. The prophets often identified themselves as God’s spokesmen. Jesus, Paul and Peter quoted the OT often. One unique thing about the OT is that it describes a God who is one while other nations hand many Gods.  Also the Bible tells it as it is:  Army defeats and embarrassing sins of God’s leaders are told.  In literature about history of other countries like Egypt, Rome (when written by their own historians) they often deny or omit any battle defeats or problems of the leaders. Nevertheless, some more neutral historians document that there were in fact defeats and problems. Many prophecies in the OT came true. Archeology has verified much history of the OT.
Chap. 3 Is the New Testament reliable? P.35-43 B. Edwards: Two important verses in the NT are 2 Tim. 3:16 and 2 Pet. 1:21. These tell of all scripture being God breathed and given through men moved by God. 1 Cor. 2:12-13 tells that the men of God spoke through the Holy Spirit. Occasionally Paul distinguishes what God say and his opinion. After the death of the apostles, most of their letters were accepted as cannon equal to the OT. In John 16:13 Jesus gave the disciples two promises: a divinely aided memory and understanding. Some of the disciples may have kept notes on parchment. See Luke 1:63, 16:6, Tim 4:13. Jesus likely spoke in both Aramaic and Greek. Robinson stated that most of the books of the NT were written by 70 AD. There is also considerable historical confirmation of the details in the NT.
Chap. 8 Did Moses Write Genesis? p.85-101 by T. Mortenson & B. Hodge: Some recent authors and seminary courses have suggested that Moses did not write the Pentateuch. Instead they claim that at least 4 different authors wrote portions of these books and then one or more redactors (editors) combined the writings into books and into its present form. There are the J, E, P, and D authors in this Documentary hypothesis. The authors of this article argued for Moses are the author: First they cite 4 pgs of scriptures stating Moses as the author. 2nd they note Moses was highly qualified to write and they think he had older records and oral traditions to use for early Genesis in addition to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Toledoth (Gen. 5:10) states “This is the book of the generations of Adam.”  Normally this means a written record. 3rd there are fallacious assumptions and reasoning’s that are part of the documentary hypothesis: 1. They assumed their conclusion that God did not divinely inspire the text; many of the view authors were deistic and some atheistic. 2 Based on evolution and some views of history, the art of writing was unknown at the time of Moses and before.  However, more recent findings of archeology have noted some written records predating Moses, thus somewhat invalidating this claim. There is also the possibility that not all early written record have been found. 3. They assumed that the author/s were different that other Hebrew authors and incapable of using more than one name for God or more than one style of writing. 4. One of the biggest evidences is that there is no J, E, P, D manuscript evidence ever found. There are also no old Jewish commentaries that mention such documents. 4th The biblical doctrine of inspiration does not require that all books be dictated by God to the reported author. Records could be incorporated into the final document by God’s direction. There is evidence that some biblical authors did research or remembered old experiences and then incorporated them into their books(Peter, Luke). 5th It is sometimes cited that Moses couldn’t have written about his own death as in Deut. 34:5-12.  Joshua could have finished the book, but that does not diminish its value.  There are also arguments that a few events in the Pentateuch occurred after Moses death. The authors refute this that they could be prophetic statements or misinterpretations.
Chap. 11 How Should we interpret the Bible? P. 121-137 by T. Chaffey:  Some twist their interpretation of the Bible to fit science. Hermeneutics focuses on sound biblical interpretation and is taught in seminaries. The Greek word for it means to explain to interpret.  The 40 authors of the Bible wrote indifferent genres and different cultural backgrounds and settings. Yet according to 2 Tim. 3:16 the Holy Spirit moved each to write an inspired, inerrant and infallible word. God allowed the authors personalities and writing styles to also be expressed. In reading the Bible we should use standard rules of grammar and interpretation; and the historical-grammatical approach. Our goal and that of exegesis is ‘to read out of the text’ the authors intended meaning. Several basic points of Hermeneutics include the following: 1. Carefully observe the text: Note the parts of speech, singular or plural, verb tense and exactly what it states. 2. Note the Context: That is to day you can’t take small quotes out of context. For example Ps. 53:1 “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” It would be wrong to take out the phrase ‘there is no God’ and imply the Bible says this. The context usually clarifies the meaning. Similarly historical context is important:  The Mosaic Law period, the time of Christ or post resurrection: The Mosaic Law for the sacrifice of lambs doesn’t apply now, because Christ was the lamb for all. 3. Clarity of Scripture: Most of scripture is plain and easy to understand at a basic level. Prov. 8:9 “They are all plain to him that understands, and right to them that find knowledge.” 2 Cor. 4:2: “Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” The protestant reformers held that scripture was clear in its basic message. The Catholics held that scripture is best interpreted by the church officials. 4. Compare Scripture with Scripture:  This is based on the principle that God can’t contradict himself or lie. Num. 23:19 “God is not a man who lies, or a son of man who changes His mind.” Heb. 6:18 “so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie.” Not all Bible passages are equally clear, and one passage on a similar topic can shed light on another. There is the saying ‘the sum of God’s word is truth’ 5. Note the Text Classification-4 main groups: Historical books, Poetry, Prophecy, and Epistles. This deals with the genre of literary style. One would expect a more literal interpretation in a historical book. This is not to say that some figurative phrases can’t be found in the historical books. 6. The Church’s Historical View: Some books of church discipline note the view of history and prior tradition as important. The creeds are especially important.  Most topics of theology have been studied and debated by great theologians in past history. Thus on should not quickly adopt a new view that differs from the historical view. Genesis is a historical book. Some commentators have broken Genesis into two sections: 1-11 and 12-50 on the basis that Chap.1-11 is primeval history.  Chaffey argued the text does not support this. The genealogies in Chap.11 cite Abram and he continues on in the succeeding Chapters.  Also the toledoth (this is the history or generations of) phrase occurs throughout most of Genesis. Lastly the New Testaments authors, Paul and Jesus often cited from Gen. 1-11 as history.
Chap. 21 Why Should we Believe in the Inerrancy of Scripture? p.227-35 B Edwards.  He cited 2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Pet. 1:21, 1 Cor. 2:13, Deut. 18:18, 2 Sam. 22:31, Prov. 30:5 and Jer. 1:9. The active mind of the writer and the directions of the Holy Spirit were operating together. When we talk of inerrancy it refers to the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. Inerrancy doesn’t mean that there are no apparent contradictions, but that these can be resolved. Jesus and Paul quoted and believed the OT. The early church leaders from Clement to the protestant reformation believed in the truth of the scriptures.
Chap. 22 Are There Contradictions in the Bible? P.237-247 by J. Lisle. You may hear it said: Isn’t the Bible full of contradictions and fairy tales? The Bible speaks of ax-floating heads, the sun going backward, creation in 6 days, an earth with pillars, people walking on water, a talking snake etc. Only the contradictions charge is a serious one. Some charges are psychological and opinion: Like miracles can’t be true and also the Bible. This is a circular argument that begs the question. To be a true contradiction A=not A; these must apply in the same relationship at the same time. Some conflicts are a false dilemma. Some points can’t be taken out of context or violate figurative languages of appearance. For example the earth having pillars is figurative. Sweeping generalizations may be false. The Proverbs are not indented to be universal rules. Murder is wrong but there exception in self-defense and war. Only the original Hebrew and Greek tests are held to be inerrant. Some contradictions are only inferred and not stated in the text. Jesus travel in early life to Egypt in Mat. 2:13 or to Jersulaem in Luke 2:22 is an example: the exact times are not stated. Another type of contradiction in the X and only X. Example: one demon possessed man in Mark 5:2-16, Luke8:26-37 vs. two men in Mat. 8:28-34 The one man text does not say only one man. Apart from the bible how do we know contradictions are always false and the laws of logic true?  If its only from experience, that can be faulty.

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