THE FOURTH DAY OF OCTOBER IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN. A gracEmail subscriber writes: "No matter what the question, you answer them all the same. In the first paragraph you say, lawyer-like, 'It might be this way.' 'In the second paragraph you say, 'It might be that way.' In the third paragraph you say, 'Joy, grace, Jesus, and little gray squirrels.' Can't you ever just … [Read more...]

inspired scripture

A gracEmail subscriber writes: "I was wondering what you would say to the average person who was questioning how to believe in the innate infallibility of our biblical canon." * * * It seems to me both misguided and profitless to obsess about the precise canon of Scripture, or to become engrossed in hair-splitting definitions of infallibility, inerrancy and other such terms, especially if one … [Read more...]

Divine revelation–Word to words to Word

A crowning diamond in the Christian treasury is the gracious ease with which God's self-revelation to humankind occurs, and the beauty of its flow from Word to words and back again to Word, until every rift between God and humans is removed and relationship is fully restored. The cycle of redemption is thus completed: the fullness of God becomes human and, through dying and being raised from … [Read more...]


For about a century now, the world of academic Gospels studies has been dominated by the assumptions and methods of scholars known as form critics. These particular scholars believed that after the death and reported resurrection of Jesus, tales and sayings of the "Jesus of history" circulated for many years as anonymous community traditions until their central character finally evolved … [Read more...]


A gracEmail subscriber in Arkansas writes, "I've always been taught that the Bible was divinely given word by word (I think this is called verbal inspiration). But some passages just sound like a believer pouring out his heart to others. Could you offer some thoughts on inspiration and the Bible?" * * * Just as Jesus was both human and divine, so Scripture is written by men although it is called … [Read more...]


A Canadian preacher requests my response to an inquirer who asks how we "know with certainty and without doubt that the Bible is God's revealed and trustworthy Word." The inquirer says that he wants to believe that, and that if he could, it would launch him into "a life of faith." * * * We know almost nothing "with certainty and without doubt," and we do not normally require that standard in our … [Read more...]


A gracEmail reader asks, "How do we know that the words ascribed to Jesus were actually his words? I have read that they were written down a century or more after his death? Was Mark even one of the original 12 disciples?" * * * The earliest Gospel was probably Mark's, which scholars generally agree was written within 30 years of Jesus' death and resurrection. Within a generation after Jesus' … [Read more...]


A university religions professor chides my quoting the Gospels with an assumption that they correctly record what Jesus actually said. "If you exclude the Bible from historical-critical scrutiny," he warns, "you will remain impervious to any historical argument and a discussion is indeed useless." * * * I certainly believe that Scripture will stand up to historical and scientific investigation, … [Read more...]


"All my life, I have seen preachers hold up the Bible and say, 'This is the Word of God,'" writes a counselor in the Midwest. "When New Testament writers use the expression, 'the word of God,' do they not have something in mind other than the Scriptures themselves? We must not make the Bible our god, which is one form of idolatry." * * * Surely you raise a worthwhile caution, since Jesus himself … [Read more...]


A gracEmail reader asks, "How do we know that the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit? Those who wrote the Bible say so, but how do we know? How can I convince someone who is not a Christian to believe that?" * * * The Apostle Paul says that "all Scripture is inspired by God" and is therefore "profitable," adequately equipping the Christian worker for every required task (2 Tim. 3:16-17). This … [Read more...]