An Introduction to the Doctrine of Scripture

Posted: October 25, 2011 in bible, books, history, review

One of the central tenants of the Reformation was sola Scriptura – Scripture alone is the supreme authority (although not the only authority).  Evangelicals, as people who generally embrace this great Reformation principle, tend to hold to a very high view of Scripture, truly believing it to be God’s very word.

However, I would venture to guess that many Evangelicals are not too familiar with the history of the doctrine of Scripture, particularly over the past two hundred years.  Many Christians assume that their belief is “Scriptural” or “Bible-based,” and therefore does not need to be evaluated in light of church history.  However, as with all other doctrine, this individualistic way of thinking can easily lead away from the truth, as it neglects the valuable insights of other Christians throughout history.

Well, if you think you may need a little brushing up on your doctrine of Scripture, look no further than Ancient Word, Changing Worlds by Stephen J. Nichols and Eric T. Brandt.  The book examines the concepts of inspiration, inerrancy, and interpretation, tracing the historical discussions related to each.  Each summary chapter is paired with a complimentary “readings” chapter containing a selection of snippets from relevant primary source documents.

In the authors’ own words, the book “tells the story of these three words [inspiration, inerrancy, and interpretation], and particularly the story of how these words were developed in these last few centuries.  It is the story of how the ancient word of God speaks to and in our changing world,” (14).  Download an excerpt here.

At only 171 pages, Ancient Word, Changing Worlds is an easily accessible, yet very instructive, introduction to a large and diverse discussion with important ramifications for Christians who read and cherish God’s word.  Pick it up!


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