Our student ministry always gives books as a graduation gift. This year the gifts included an ESV Study Bible for anyone who didn’t already have one and a collection of other books that Luke (@LukeTolbert), our student pastor, hand selected. Among those books was Why Trust The Bible? by Greg Gilbert.
This is a short book and on first impression, I assumed it would be a devotional guide to trusting the Bible. I was wrong. This is a short book, but it is long in impact. Greg Gilbert has condensed a ton of material into a very short volume that is approachable, readable, and beneficial. I’m glad that we have passed it along to our graduates and hope that they will read it and come back to it in days ahead when they may be tempted to question their faith and their Bible.
Gilbert’s goal in the book is to answer five big questions:
- Can we be confident the the translation of the Bible from its original language into our language accurately reflected the original, or is it saying things the original never did?
- Can we be confident the copyists accurately transmitted the original writing to us, or did they (deliberately or not) add, subtract, or change things so much that what we have is no longer what was originally written?
- Can we be confident that we’re looking at the right set of books and that we haven’t missed or lost a set of books out there that gives a different, but equally reliable and plausible, perspective on Jesus? That is, can we be confident that we’re right to be looking at these books as opposed to those?
- Can we be confident that the original authors were themselves trustworthy? That is, were they really intending to give us an accurate account of events, or did they have some other aim–for example, to write fiction or even to deceive?
- And finally, if we can be confident that the authors did, in fact, intend to give an accurate account of what happened, can we be confident that what they described really took place? in a word, can we be confident that what they wrote is actually true? or are there better reasons to think that thy were somehow mistaken?
He spends an entire chapter answering each question. The final chapter of the book is spent answering questions to the resurrection. Gilbert rightly points out that the truth of the Scriptures hinges on the resurrection.
In addition to giving reasons to trust the Bible, Gilbert also gives a brief introduction to presuppositions apologetics. Gilbert has not written a devotional book, he has written a great apologetic resource.
You will no doubt walk away from this book less than satisfied. Think of it like a really good appetizer. A good appetizer takes the edge off of your hunger, but it leaves you wanting more. This is not an exhaustive work of scholarship on the trustworthiness of the Bible, but it is a good primer, and the Resources for Further Exploration in the back can point you toward other more substantive resources.
If you have ever wanted to understand how to better defend God’s word, this book is a great place to start. If you want to equip your high school graduates for the future, this book would make a great graduation gift. If you have family or friends who struggle with trusting the Bible or have questions about transmission or canonization, pass this book along to them–Gilbert answers many questions that I encounter in my ministry in a concise and persuasive fashion.