What is the Bible and what is it for? In recent years, the nature of Scripture has often been described in terms of a Chalcedonian incarnational analogy: just as Jesus is both human and divine, so Scripture is both human and divine. And the function of Scripture has been understood as informative: it imparts information to humans about God. These ways of looking at Scripture are not wholly sufficient, however, for teaching us what the Bible is and what we should expect it to do.
Written by a theologian and a biblical scholar, The Marks of Scripture offers a fresh model for understanding Scripture as God’s Word. Daniel Castelo and Robert Wall show that Scripture is not simply informative (an account of what God has done), it is also formative-a statement of what God is doing today and an instrument God uses in the ongoing work of the sanctification and equipping of believers. The authors work out the four Nicene marks of the church-one, holy, catholic, and apostolic-as marks of Scripture, offering a new way of thinking about the Bible that bridges theology and interpretation. Their ecclesial analogy invites us to think of Scripture in similar terms to how we think of the church, countering the incarnational model propagated by Peter Enns and others.
For those who affirm Scripture’s authority and its continuing relevance, Castelo and Wall provide an original way for understanding and applying Scripture. They ask two key questions: What is Scripture? (the ontological question), and, What is Scripture for? (the teleological question). Castelo and Wall propose an ecclesial (church-Scripture) analogy that views Scripture both as canon and as a means of grace. As such, the four historic marks of the church-one, holy, catholic, and apostolic-help us better to understand what Scripture is and what it is for, serving as a means of grace to justify and sanctify people. They conclude by applying their ecclesial analogy to exegesis, describing the practical role of Scripture in providing the Holy Spirit with a sanctified means by which to form a holy people. In a progressively skeptical world, Castelo and Wall help Christians to understand and defend the authority of Scripture, and to apply it to real-life issues.
—Donald Thorsen, professor of theology, Azusa Pacific University and Seminary
Castelo and Wall offer a fresh and thought-provoking set of proposals for how to think about Scripture, in a discussion which is attractively grounded in and directed toward the practices of the church. Whether we end up agreeing or disagreeing, their book makes a sharp case for the usefulness of analogy to challenge and clarify settled ideas on this topic.
—Jennie Grillo, assistant professor of biblical studies, University of Notre Dame
In this important contribution, Daniel Castelo and Rob Wall propose an understanding of Scripture that avoids the problems inherent in the old incarnational analogy. To read their deft and decisive exposition of the role of Scripture in salvation and sanctification is to feel immediately that they have moved the discussion away from sterile categories to fruitful theological ground. My hope is that this groundbreaking work will receive a wide and attentive hearing.
—Michael Legaspi, associate professor of classics and ancient Mediterranean studies and Jewish studies, Penn State University
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Daniel Castelo (PhD, Duke University) is professor of dogmatic and constructive theology at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Washington. He received a 2011 John Templeton Award for Theological Promise for his book The Apathetic God: Exploring the Contemporary Relevance of Divine Impassability and has written a number of other books, including Pentecostalism as a Christian Mystical Tradition.
Robert W. Wall (ThD, Dallas Theological Seminary) is Paul T. Walls Professor of Scripture and Wesleyan Studies at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Washington. He has written many journal articles and authored or coauthored numerous books, including A Compact Guide to the Whole Bible and commentaries on Revelation, Colossians/Philemon, James, Acts, and the Pastoral Epistles.