Monday, 16 June 2008

God Has Spoken

Another book that I got at the start of this year was God Has Spoken by J.I. Packer. The version I got has both a 2005 and 1993 foreword by Packer, along with the revised 1979 introduction to the 1965 book. Let me just say that if you have an older copy of the book without the 2005 foreword, your not missing out on much. It pretty much has Packer saying in one and a bit pages that he was asked to write another foreword by his publishers and that he still agrees with what he had written earlier.

The rest of the book goes into great detail about the inspiration of the bible. Packer digs into the concept that the bible is inspired by God- that the words of the bible are God words to us that were written down by man. He writes in detail and with great insight into how some people take and understand the bible and refutes their methods and then argues for letting scripture interpret scripture- a very Reformed way at looking at things.

Packer's background is that he is an Anglican and so makes references to the 39 Articles throughout. If you are Anglican it is a little comforting to know that your history was solid on the bible, but maybe it's a little disheartening to know that today some Anglicans don't actually tow their historical line. Those ideas were around in the 60's which is one of the reasons Packer wrote this book in the first place.

Packer aims this book at pretty much anyone in the church, from ministers to theological students to lay people, and the book isn't very big at all- so that always helps. I did think that the sentences were a little long and found myself re-reading some bit over again. There aren't many antidotical stories or analogies, so it something that you have to be always tuned into. The book would be a great tool for a bible study leader to learn and appreciate the bible more and to teach with conviction that what is written in the bible is inspired by God.

The appendix of the book also has a copy of both the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (pdf) and Chicago Statement of Biblical Hermeneutics (that link has comments by another one of the drafters), which may also be of some use to bible study leaders.


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