The Bible On Trial

Bible Study, faith, Higher Criticism No Comments

     The Bible on Trial is a new book by Wayne Jackson.  I have written a brief review of this book and posted it on this site under book reviews.  Some of the excerpts below will give you an idea of the value of this book.
     Consider the integrity of the text of the Old Testament.  “Let us compare Isaiah 53 in the Masoretic Text with that of the Dead Sea Scrolls–and remember, the two are separated by a thousand years of time.  Of the 166 words in Isaiah 53, there are only seventeen letters in question.  Ten of these letters are simply a matter of spelling, which does not affect the sense.  Four more letters are minor stylistic changes, such as conjunctions.  The remaining three letters comprise the word “light,” which is added in verse eleven, and does not affect the meaning greatly.  Thus, in one chapter of 166 words, there is only one word (three letters) in question after a thousand years of transmission, and this word does not significantly change the meaning of the passage (Geisler and Nix 1986, 263–quoted by Jackson, p. 260-261).
     The marvelous accuracy of the New Testament.  “In Acts, Luke mentions thirty-two countries, fifty-four cities, and nine Mediterranean islands.  He also mentions ninety-five persons, sixty-two of which are not named elsewhere in the New Testament.  And his references, where checkable, are always correct” (Jackson, p. 27).
     The wonderful unity of the Bible.  “The sacred Scriptures were written by some forty different persons, over a span of some 1,600 years.   These authors, from a variety of cultural and educational backgrounds, writing in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), produced a volume of sixty-six books that is characterized by such an amazing unity and beautiful continuity as to be inexplicable on the basis of mere human origin” (Jackson, p. 26).  The unity of the Bible is seen in its theme, plan, doctrine and factual harmony.
     These exerpts contain a sample of insights into the sacred Scriptures that will thrill any Bible student.  This 294 page, paper-back book, is worth reading and studying.  I highly recommend it to you.

New Commentary Reviewed

Higher Criticism, Uncategorized No Comments

     Recently, the Christian Chronicle (Oct., 2008) printed two articles that reviewed a new one-volume commentary on the entire Bible.  The commentary is called, The Transforming Word. It is edited by: Mark Hamilton, Ken Cukrowski, Nancy Shankle, James Thompson and John Willis.  The new book is published by ACU Press, Abilene, TX (2008) and sells for $69.95.  It covers the entire Bible in 1,140 pages.  Among the 30 authors are representatives of eight colleges and universities associated with Churches of Christ. 
     Various problems with this new book have been identified.  Basically, the book follows many of the higher critics in questioning significant aspects of the Bible.  For example, the book refutes the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch.  It affirms, “The Pentateuch appears to preserve several streams of tradition that did not necessarily originate at the same time” (ref. Christian Chronicle, pp. 36-37).   This statement affirms redaction in regards to the compilation of the material in the Penteteuch. 
     Another problem, the commentary denies the single authorship of the book of Isaiah.  Cecil May Jr. writes, “So the commentary says at least three authors over the course of three centuries wrote this long, prophetic book, though Jesus and the apostles quote from all parts of it and invariably ascribe its words to Isaiah” (Chrisitan Chronicle, 36).  The apostle John quotes from Isa. 53:1 and references Isaiah as the writer.  He also quotes from Isa. 6:10 and references Isaiah as the source (John 12:37-41). 
     The commentary also denies the historicity of the story of Jonah.  This new work concludes that Jonah “is probably a religious drama” (Terry Briley, Christian Chronicle, 37).  It affirms that Jonah was written some time after the Babylonian Captivity.  This would mean that Jonah, the prophet, did not write the book.
     Finally, the commentary states, “There is no unequivocal specific prediction of the coming of Jesus Christ and/or the church in the Old Testament.  New Testament speakers reinterpreted and reapplied Old Testament texts to Christ and/or the church ” (Cecil May Jr., Christian Chronicle, 36).  This means that there is no Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament and no prophecy concerning the coming kingdom (the church).  This is an incredible statement!  It destroys an important link between prophecy and its fulfillment  which is an important evidence of the inspiration of the Bible and the true identity of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. 
     Personally, I could not recommend this commentary for use by Bible students.  There are other problems with it that I did not mention.   I am warning others about it because they may ignorantly attempt to use it and be unaware of its dangerous contents.