There are many theological questions today. At the base of all of them is the question, “Can I really trust the Bible?” Until you’ve really settled that in your mind, all other questions really are up for debate. Without an outside authority in which you can trust, everything’s pretty speculative in the theological realm.
Thankfully, there are many good books on the subject. Few however are under 100 pages and could be easily digested in a single sitting. Able to accomplish both those standards is Barry Cooper’s Can I really trust the Bible? And other questions about Scripture, truth and how God speaks. Part of The Good Book Company’s Questions Christians Ask series 1 this book, like all the others, is a little meatier than a booklet, but still pretty compact. If you want a significant theological question answered in short order, this is the book for you.
Cooper’s book is split into 5 chapters. At first, I was confused looking at the table of contents because it looks like chapters 1 and 2 share the same title (“Does the Bible claim to be God’s Word?”). This is also true of chapters 3 and 4 (“Does the Bible seem to be God’s Word?”). Upon closer inspection, the subtitles of each chapter is what actually sets them apart.
Chapter 1 is focused on what Jesus thought about the Old Testament, as well as what New Testament writers thought about it. Chapter 2 on the other hand is focused more on the nature of truth and the Bible’s claims to it. Chapter 3 is focused more on the writing of the Bible, particularly the New Testament, whereas chapter 4 is focused on issues of the collection of New Testament documents. The final chapter, “Does the Bible prove to be God’s Word?” focuses on how the Bible proves itself true in your life as you trust it is God’s Word.
Along the way, Cooper devotes time to side bar questions like:
- What’s inside the Bible?
- Isn’t the argument for Scripture circular?
- Isn’t the Bible socially, culturally, and sexually out of date?
- Hasn’t the Bible been used to justify terrible things?
- Isn’t reported/oral information unreliable?
- How can I trust in the Bible when it has miracles in it?
- Are there any non-biblical documents which support biblical history?
- Aren’t some of the stories from Jesus’ life just legends and later additions?
- Who’s to say the Qu’ran isn’t also God’s Word?
- Aren’t the stories in the Bible about Jesus just re-hashes of pre-biblical myths?
- If God really wants to speak to us through the Bible, why is some of it so hard to understand?
Seems like a lot of ground to cover right? It is, but I think Cooper does a fine job of answering questions concisely based on solid evidence. His answers certainly aren’t exhaustive and some readers may want far more detail. However, it is key to keep in mind that this book is primarily for believers who are already on-board with Christianity. I would suggest this book is good for inquisitive high school or college students in the context of youth group or Bible class. I wouldn’t necessarily suggest this book for really perplexed skeptics who are asking one tough question after another and have done their homework on atheistic rebuttals. This might be a good conversation started in that case, but I imagine the answers here might seem to “neat.”
For younger Christians who are asking some good, yet tough questions about how and why we should trust the Bible, this is a great little resource. It’s definitely something I think a high school student could easily read through on their own. Ideally, reading through this book with a friend as part of an on-going conversation is the way to go. If that’s what you’re looking for in your discipleship endeavors, consider giving this book a try!
Barry Cooper, Can I really trust the Bible? And other questions about Scripture, truth and how God speaks. Epsom, Surrey, UK. The Good Book Company, July 2014. 81 pp. Paperback, $7.99.
Read an excerpt
Visit the publisher’s page
Thanks to The Good Book Company for the review copy!
Here’s a promo video for the book: