Did God Write The Bible?

reading againI am sitting in Panera, drinking coffee, listening to Tom Waits, and have just finished reading Did God Write The Bible by Dan Hayden. Hayden has written a book that is aimed at leading readers to "the conclusion that the Bible is indeed a unique book, one worthy of closer examination."(pg. 88) He is not simply trying to argue people into embracing the Scripture as God's word, but is hoping to entice people into reading it for themselves with an open mind.

The book is written in two parts. The first dives into the impact the Bible has had on people and cultures throughout history, the claims the Bible makes of itself, the harmony/unity of Scripture despite the diversity of authors and eras, the issue of prophecy and its fulfillment, and a comparison between the Bible and other sacred writings (The Koran and The Vedas).

The second part of the book investigates the process by which the Bible wound up in our hands. Chapters on Revelation and Inspiration provide a solid biblical/theological explanation of how God gave his word to his people. The chapters on Collection, Transmission, and Translations lay out an excellent summary of how God's people handled what God gave to them.

In my experience with those having trouble with the Bible it typically has less to do with Revelation and Inspiration, or even the claims the Bible makes of itself. In the postmodern context I find people pretty open to those ideas, at least in theory. I find the trouble arising in two areas: Canonization (how did we come to include some books and exclude others?) and Transmission (copying copies of the originals). There is a lot of misinformation about the process by which the 66 books wound up in what we call the Bible. Concerning the copies; people make mistakes and have agendas - how can we trust what we have in our hands today? "So what if the originals were inspired if all we have are the copies of copies?!" This is why I think chapters 8 and 9 (Collection and Transmission) will prove to be most helpful for people asking the right questions.

This book is a standard, classical/traditional argument for the trustworthiness of the Bible. It is nothing new, but it is good and reflects the Westminster and Second London Confessions:

We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture. And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it does abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.

I think Did God Write the Bible? would be very helpful for seekers, but even more so for new converts who do not have a church background. I plan on incorporating it into our discipleship material/recommended reading.