Understanding Scripture, An Overview of the Bible’s Origin, Reliability, and Meaning, edited by Wayne Grudem, c. John Collins, and Thomas R. Schreiner (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012) 203 pp., paper $12.99

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Understanding Scripture is a helpful volume dealing with the primary issues related to God’s Word. None of the editors contributes to the book but 17 other scholars do. Understanding Scripture is organized around seven parts with two or more chapters within each part. The parts are interpreting, reading, canonicity, reliability of manuscripts, archaeology, and original languages. In addition, the concluding part provides chapters surveying the history of salvation and discussing how the New Testament makes use of the Old Testament.

The book offers introductory material on these subjects and is not intended to be exhaustive. Those interested in deeper study of these topics will need to look elsewhere, but Understanding Scripture is a good starting point. Readers will have various areas of interest but for me a highlight was the discussion of the reliability of the biblical manuscripts including the types of textual differences among the manuscripts (pp. 101-117), and how textual criticism actually strengthens our confidence in the Bible we read today. When faithfully translated, it is the very word of God.

Understanding Scripture has value for the individual who needs a better understanding of these foundational matters related to the Bible. But the book could also be useful for a group study or as an introductory textbook for course work.

Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-teacher, Southern View Chapel

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