In this outstanding study, the author first considers various theories of the nature of inspiration. This leads to a consideration of the “entire trustworthiness” of the Bible, the inerrancy debate, and the place of biblical criticism.
From determining the original meaning of the text, Professor Marshall turns to the Bible’s contemporary significance and meaning before finally presenting the authority of Scripture for today. As he expresses in Biblical Inspiration, “the Bible is precious to the Christian believer, not because it is regarded as some kind of magical oracle but because here one hears and receives the message of a gracious God who, having revealed himself supremely in his Son Jesus Christ, continues to reveal himself in and through the pages of Scripture.”
Biblical Inspiration, expanded from lectures delivered at Wycliffe Hall in Oxford, is neither a narrowly focused study of the meaning of “inspiration,” nor a collection of loosely related articles on the Bible. It canvasses what might be called the doctrine of the Bible, covering topics such as Biblical revelation; the extent and significance of the Bible’s truth claims; the appropriateness of categories like “inerrancy;” hermeneutical problems associated with its interpretation and application; and reflections on the nature of its authority.
The nature of the authority of the Bible is crucial. Biblical Inspiration, designed for the reader with little technical background, is the perfect place to begin studying this important topic.
“What does it mean to say that the Bible is the Word of God?” (Page 9)
“A different kind of view is that the Bible is to be understood as a witness to divine revelation rather than as revelation itself.” (Page 35)
“A second point is that the New Testament writers regard the statements in the Old Testament as having unquestioned authority.” (Page 23)
“My aim in this book is to try to produce a positive statement of the nature of the Bible in the light of the difficulties that face readers today.” (Page 12)
“On the other hand, there are people who regard the Bible more as the record of mankind’s religious quest and experience, a book of essentially human questions and human answers.” (Page 9)
Marshall is always worth reading, and his tone is irenic throughout.
—D. A. Carson, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society