The Authority of the Bible

Greg Strand – October 3, 2013 Leave a comment

Michael Kruger serves as professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC. Recently he has written some helpful material on the canon of Scripture.

One question Kruger has been asked more than all the others combined is the following: “What are the best books to read on the authority of the Bible?” He has compiled an annotated list of 10 of the “best books on this topic.” Of course this list reflects Kruger’s assessment, which makes it selective and debatable. If others were asked to compile a list, it would most likely be different. But then again, for one who has studied this issue extensively, the list would probably contain a number similarities as well.

Kruger’s list was compiled with the following criteria (in his own words):

  • books that focus on the theological side of biblical authority and not as much on the historical evidences for the Bible’s history (though some overlap is inevitable);
  • books that are “modern,” meaning they have been written sometime between the Reformation and the present (otherwise, many patristic works would make the list); and
  • books that are rigorously orthodox (Karl Barth’s Dogmatics is not on the list despite the fact that it has been influential on the modern church’s view of Scripture).

I list only the titles in Kruger’s list without the annotations, which are extremely helpful, as he explains why the books are important to affirm the Bible’s authority (the numbers below are reversed from Kruger’s list):

  1. D. A. Carson and John Woodbridge, eds., Scripture and Truth (Baker, 1983); idem, Hermeneutics, Authority, and Canon (Zondervan, 1986).
  2. Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena (vol. 1): Part IV: Revelation (Baker Academic, 2003).
  3. E. J. Young, Thy Word Is Truth (Banner of Truth, 1963).
  4. Ned Stonehouse and Paul Woolley, eds., The Infallible Word: A Symposium by the Members of the Faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary (P&R, 1946).
  5. J.I. Packer, ‘Fundamentalism’ and the Word of God (Eerdmans, 1958).
  6. William Whitaker, Disputations on Holy Scripture (Soli Deo Gloria, 2000).
  7. John Owen, The Divine Original: Authority, Self-Evidencing Light, and Power of the Scriptures, vol. 16 of Owen’s Collected Works (Banner of Truth, 1988).
  8. Meredith Kline, The Structure of Biblical Authority (1971).
  9. John Frame, The Doctrine of the Word of God (P&R, 2010).
  10. B. B. Warfield, The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, with intro by Van Til (P&R, 1948).

I encourage you to read the whole article, so you can learn of the importance of each of these books that defend the authority of the Bible.

It is true that the Bible is its own best defense of its own authority. But it is also true that works written explaining, defining and defending its authority are also invaluable to the church and the Christian.

A few questions . . .

  1. Which books would you affirm as some of the best written defending the authority of the Bible?
  2. What might you add to the list?
  3. From this list, what book will you read?

Greg Strand

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Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

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