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Book Review: Can We Still Believe the Bible?

An Evangelical Engagement with Contemporary Questions by Craig L. Blomberg

My pastor recently asked me to purchase this book for the church library because he thought there were people in my church who would benefit from it. He also suggested that I review it for the church newsletter. This is the review I wrote. If I had been reviewing it just for my blog, it would have been a different review. For one thing, I would have had no word limit! And the readers of this blog are different than the general membership of my church (and yours, too, probably!). If I had been reviewing for the blog only, I would have mentioned a few places where I disagree with certain remarks Blomberg makes. He’s an egalitarian, for instance, and a bit combative in his approach to the egalitarian/complimentarian issue. But it seemed inappropriate for me to get into those issues in the newsletter, and they have very little bearing on the arguments he makes for the reliability of the Bible, anyway. 

I also would have mentioned that this is not an easy read, something I took out of the review because I needed to shorten it. 

As you might expect from the title and subtitle, this book addresses several specific recent objections to the reliability of the Bible. You may have seen or read some of these arguments against the Bible’s trustworthiness in television documentaries, magazine articles, or books written by skeptics. In each of the six objections Craig Blomberg tackles, he shows that “new findings, or at least more intense study of slightly older discoveries, have actually strengthened the case for the reliability or trustworthiness of the Scriptures, even while the most publicized opinions in each area have claimed that there are now reasons for greater skepticism!”

The first chapter addresses the reliability of the biblical text we have now, nearly 2000 years after the last of the books of the New Testament were written. Is it true that all we have are hopelessly corrupt copies of the original New Testament writings, copies so full of variants—400,000 is the number some give—that it is impossible to know what the authors originally wrote?

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Thankful Thursday

A few things I’ve been thankful for this week:

  • for a productive day today. Life had been busy lately, so I had to rush a project to meet a deadline. Thankfully, everything worked out better than I anticipated. I am thankful for God’s help when I am overwhelmed by the things I need to do.
  • for the beautiful weather. It was warm and sunny when I walked the dogs this afternoon, and I was feeling thankful that this winter been mostly good, weather-wise.
  • for the tulips on the coffee table. 
  • for a fridge full of leftovers so I don’t have to cook. 
  • that God has caused me to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for me. I’m thankful for the blessing of new life and the sure promise of an enduring inheritance.

Also thankful today:

What are you thankful for? 


Theological Term of the Week

The Hebrew word for lord or master, and one of the names used for God in scripture. This name emphasizes God’s absolute authority over all creation, including all people.

  • In scripture: 

    Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” (Genesis 18:30-32 ESV)

  • From Louis Berkhof’s Systematic Theology:
  • 2. ’ADONAI. This name is related in meaning to the preceding ones. It is derived from either dun (din) or ’adan, both of which mean to judge, to rule, and thus points to God as the almighty Ruler, to whom everything is subject, and to whom man is related as a servant. In earlier times it was the usual name by which the people of Israel addressed God. Later on it was largely supplanted by the name Jehovah (Yahweh). 

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Heidelberg Catechism

Question 76. What does it mean to eat the crucified body of Christ and drink the his shed blood?

Answer: It means to accept with a believing heart the entire suffering and death of Christ and by believing to receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life (a). But it means more. Through the Holy Spirit , who lives both in Christ and in us, we are united more and more to Christ’s blessed body. (b) And so, although he is (c) in heaven and we are on earth, we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. (d) And we forever live on and are governed by one Spirit, as member of our body are by one soul. (e) 

(Scriptural proofs after the fold.)

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Sunday's Hymn: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God:
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down:
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
—Isaac Watts





Folk tune


The Gettys - Hamburg


Other hymns, worship songs, prayers, sermons excerpts, or quotes posted today:

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.