Book Review by
A summary on the back cover of “In Defense of the Bible: A Comprehensive Apologetic for the Authority of Scripture” accurately encapsulates this volume as “a comprehensive apologetic for the divine inspiration and authority of Scripture, featuring essays that tackle all major contemporary challenges: philosophical, methodological, textual, historical, ethical, scientific and theological.”
Through 18 author essays, writers address important topics designed to guide biblical discussions to assist casual readers of the Bible – as well as seasoned theologians. Topics range from “What Does It Mean to Say that the Bible Is True?” and “Is the Story of Jesus Borrowed from Pagan Myths?” to “Does the Bible Conflict with Science?” and “Is the Bible the Word of God?”
Editors Steven B. Cowan, associate professor of philosophy and religion at Louisiana College in Pineville, La., and Terry L. Wilder, professor and chair of New Testament at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, are straightforward in their desire to increase biblical knowledge and reinforce the traditional Christian view that the Bible “is divinely inspired and therefore infallible and absolutely true in what it asserts,” counteracting what “has been under relentless attack for several generations … transgressing even popular media.”
Cowan and Wilder even dedicate the compilation “to Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler, contenders for the faith,” adding, “Untold numbers of Christians are forever in your debt.”
In an introduction, the editors state, “It almost goes without saying that if we live in a post-Christian culture, we also live in a post-Bible culture. Despite the fact that the Bible is still the world’s number one best-seller, biblical illiteracy abounds. Apparently, many people buy the Bible but not so many actually read it. Still fewer give it any serious study.” They later add, “We believe that it is incumbent upon Christians, for the sake of the church and for the sake of the world, to meet the Bible’s critics head-on and to respond to all the major challenges to the inspiration and authority of Scripture. This we intend to do in this book.”
Essay authors include Paul W. Barnett, a former Anglican Bishop of North Sydney, Australia; James M. Hamilton, a graduate of the University of Arkansas and associate professor of biblical theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and Mary Jo Sharp, assistant professor of apologetics at Houston Baptist University, in addition to Cowan and Wilder.
Tim Yarbrough is editor of the Arkansas Baptist News.