An Annotated Bibliography for Teaching Bibliology in Your Church
The evangelical church is the recipient of a long line of excellent works on the doctrine of Scripture (“bibliology”). Names like Calvin, Turretin, Owen, Bavinck, Warfield, and many others have provided a robust foundation for the biblical view of Scripture. We see in them that there is “nothing new under the sun” and most current “battles” and misunderstandings have a long history which have been ably answered many times over. This fact notwithstanding, there are more recent works that not only stand in this same evangelical tradition but seek to articulate these foundational truths to the modern church. Here are some more recent tried and trusted resources that will aid pastors in their preparing to teach bibliology to their flocks.
Places to Start
Gilbert, Greg. Why Trust the Bible? Wheaton: Crossway, 2015. This compact and brief work is a great place to start for the new believer or someone with basic questions about the Bible. It’s ideal for a small Sunday School class, home group, youth group, prison, or evangelism study.
DeYoung, Kevin. Taking God at His Word. Wheaton: Crossway, 2014. DeYoung is excellent at taking vast topics and whittling them down to the “here’s-what-you-need-to-know” aspects. This book is helpful for small group studies, discipleship, or as a compliment to a Sunday School or training series.
Barrett, Matthew. God’s Word Alone: The Authority of Scripture. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016. Among recent works, this book has risen to the top of my list. Barrett is masterful in dealing with the biblical, historical, and contemporary issues of bibliology. His chapter on inerrancy is the best single chapter I’ve ever read on the issue. It came out after I taught a theology seminar on bibliology, otherwise it would have been on the required reading list. It is ideal for the college student, studious layperson, or seminarian.
Frame, John. The Doctrine of the Word of God. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 2010. This is the closest one will come to a complete text covering all the bases of bibliology. For this reason, it was required for my seminary students. Frame is faithful, concise, and clear. Because it is a broad text, it lacks in-depth discussions on many key issues yet covers them just enough to provide a basic foundation. There are 17 appendices which are excellent, often reviewing other modern works by authors like Peter Enns and N. T. Wright. One significant disappointment is chapter 35, “Teaching and Preaching.”
Feinberg, John. Light in a Dark Place: The Doctrine of Scripture. Wheaton: Crossway, forthcoming (April 30, 2018). This is the only book in this list that I have not personally read but I’m placing it here because it is said to be Feinberg’s magnum opus, which is saying something since his last four books have that same “opus” feel about them. This will be 1,152 pages of rigorous scholarship that his readers and students have become accustomed to. Among many other things, one hopes his work will bring needed clarity to the misguided aspects of the speech-act theory’s recasting of bibliology. It will also be nice to read an intelligent tome by an evangelical who is not smitten with everything that comes from the pen of N. T. Wright and Pete Enns.
Readers and Source Material
MacArthur, John, ed. The Scripture Cannot Be Broken: Twentieth Century Writings on the Doctrine of Inerrancy. Wheaton: Crossway, 2015. This is a “reader” that brings together some of the most relevant chapters from key theologians of the last 100 years. The best chapters from Payne, Murray, Packer, Frame, Warfield, Young, Feinberg, and many others are here in one volume (336 pp). Along with Frame’s text cited above, this was required reading for my theology seminar.
Lillback, Peter A. and Richard B. Gaffin Jr. eds. Thy Word is Still Truth: Essential Writings on the Doctrine of Scripture from the Reformation to Today. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 2013. The Reformed (read “Protestant/evangelical”) doctrine of Scripture is on full display as the editors have given us the essential writings and confessional statements from every major player since the reformation. This is a massive resource (1,352 pp) that is large and heavy because it is as close as one will find to a complete anthology of key writings on the doctrine of Scripture. Most expositors will already have some of these authors on their shelves (Calvin, Bavinck, Warfield) but many of the sections include hard to find works that are no longer published and certainly not bound together as they are here.
Key Issues and Advanced Studies
D. A. Carson, ed. The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016. Here are 36 chapters (1,240 pp) of red meat theology that will be an acquired taste in places yet sure to satisfy on many fronts. Since this is a multi-author work, there are some chapters that can be scanned or ignored altogether depending on your areas of interest and study. Pete Williams chapter on Ehrman’s equivocation on inerrancy and the original text and Paul Helm’s chapter on “The Idea of Inerrancy” are some that stood out as helpful, making a number of insightful contributions to my studies.
Kruger, Michael J. Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books. Wheaton: Crossway, 2012. Kruger is a gift to the Body of Christ. No one writes on the weighty issues of NT canon with such insight, wisdom, biblical clarity, and penetrating analysis, while also dismantling the “Alexander the Coppersmiths” of our day. Read everything he writes and read his blog as well. Here he shows, convincingly I think, that the canon is a self-attesting doctrine of Scripture just like every other doctrine of Scripture. There is not a better book on the NT canon.
Kruger, Michael J. The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2013. This is best read after Canon Revisited. Here, Kruger takes up five critical questions (objections) related to the definition, origin, writing, authorship, and date of the NT canon.
Köstenberger, Andreas J. and Michael J. Kruger. The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture’s Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity. Wheaton: Crossway, 2010. Kruger and Köstenberger take up questions posed by the so-called Bauer-Erhman thesis. This is vital because Bart Erhman is the most vocal and critical assailant of the veracity of Scripture in modern times. The authors show that Erhman’s thesis is actually warmed over error from the generation of Walter Bauer. Along the way are fantastic chapters on the place of the Apocryphal books and how texts were copied and circulated in the ancient world.
MacArthur, John, ed. The Inerrant Word: Biblical, Historical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspectives. Wheaton: Crossway, 2016. This book is the published result of the many lectures and sermons that were delivered by numerous authors during the Inerrancy Summit in 2015 on the campus of Grace Community Church (Sun Valley, CA). There are 24 chapters (399 pp) which seek to show the biblical case for inerrancy, to demonstrate the doctrine from church history, to answer important critics, and to show its pastoral application for the church. Not all chapters are equal but those by Iain Murray, Abner Chou, William Barrick, Brad Klassen, Matt Waymeyer (of The Expositors Seminary), and Michael Kruger make enormously helpful and encouraging contributions to their respective issues.
Paul Lamey is one of our seven TES campus pastors, having served as pastor of preaching and leadership development at Grace Community Church in Huntsville, AL since 2002.