From God to Us: How We Got Our Bible by Norman Geisler & William Nix
Review by Mike Robinson
Theologian Horatius Bonar wrote: “My appeal is to the Word of God. What are the reasonings, or opinions, or inferences of men? What is the chaff to the wheat?’ says the Lord. Let the Bible decide each question.” Questions about God and about His word are the most important ones we can approach. We are warned in the Bible (2 Timothy 2:23) not to chase down foolish and vain questions—unprofitable queries. Nonetheless we are told to reason and contend for the truth (Isaiah 1:17; Acts 17; Jude 3). Yes, we must disregard the folly of inane curiosity and foolish speculations, but one must seek truth and defend it rationally. Norman Geisler (professor of Apologetics at the Veritas Evangelical Seminary) and William E. Nix (former Dean at Southern Evangelical Seminary) in From God to Us offer reasonable research on the preservation of scripture as they defend its inerrancy and infallibility.
Since we are obliged to base our life and worldview on God’s infallible revelation (that is where we get the answers to the questions of the ages) we should understand its origins, inspiration, and transmission. We, like Martin Luther, must stand on the word of God. God’s revealed truth is contained within scripture. Vain philosophy—the speculations of cynical and unsure men—will never answer many ultimate questions. Vain philosophy raises more questions than it can answer. The Bible alone reveals God’s will and way for mankind. I have used, and I hope not abused, philosophical insights from erudite Christian thinkers. I always aim to tread that ground carefully. Bacon’s words are often on my mind: “A little philosophy inclines man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy brings men’s minds to religion.” This book does not attempt to traverse all the shadowy forests of the philosophy of inspiration and its voluminous concepts in relating to revelation. It provides important biblical and historical details, but the authors repose upon scripture as the revelation of Almighty God to men.
From God to Us: How We Got Our Bible answers the following questions:
- Is the Bible trustworthy?
- Has the text of the scripture been altered?
- Was the Bible written hundreds of years after the events it portrays?
- Where did the Bible come from?
- How do we know the correct books are in the Bible?
- Does scripture contain mistakes?
- What are the oldest copies we have of the Old and New Testaments?
- Has the Bible been changed over the centuries as many cults claim?
- Why are there so many translations of scripture?
- Which translation would be best for me?
- And more.
“The chain of communication from God to us is strong. It has several solid links: inspiration, collection, transmission, and translations. The strength of these links provide the contemporary Christian with the moral certitude that the Spirit-inspired original text of Scripture has been providentially preserved by God so that for all practical purposes the Bible in our hands is the infallible and inerrant word of God” (Geisler & Nix).
Herein the reader learns about the transmission of the text, and the way in which God providentially provided His word to humanity. The authors examine the amount of time between the historical events and the date of the recording of said events. They discuss the way in which God preserved the biblical text as well as the copies we have today.
This general introduction to the Bible is presented in simple and interesting ways. This volume is very readable. Yet for a classroom-type resource it still captivates your heart as you read it. These two scholars discuss the canon, important Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, textual criticism, translations, and traditional as well as contemporary Bible versions. They offer a revised and expanded edition of the popular 1974 book that provides many fascinating and useful pictures and charts. Other features have been added that make this edition a fine replacement for the earlier volume including a handsome cover. The authors have been added: an index of subjects, persons, and Scripture; and additional new material.
The essential Seminary-like issues discussed include:
- Significant terms relating to the Bible: Inspiration, Canonization, and Translation
- What paper or parchment was the Bible recorded on
- The era the Bible was written
- The languages of the Bible including Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek
- Differences between the Jewish, Protestant, and Catholic Bibles
- The Apocryphal Books
- The English Bible to 1611
- Modern English translations
- Is the King James Version the only version Christians should use?
This is a valuable book that will give the reader reassurance that scripture is God’s word—the authors do this as they engagingly explain how we got our Bible. This material will help you know that the Bible you hold close to your heart is infallible and accurately represents that which God has spoken.
“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God”(2 Peter 1:20-21).
The reader will discover that the English word “inspiration” is derived from 2 Timothy 3:16 from the Greek term theopneustos which means “God-breathed.” “Inspiration is the superintending and providential leading of the Holy Spirit using the writers of the Bible to provide God’s word all the while using the author’s own styles and personalities. This is the means in which the Holy Spirit gave men God’s Word: authoritative, reliable, and inerrant. The reader also learns the distinction between inspiration and revelation. Whereas revelation relates to the origin and the provision of God’s word and truth, but inspiration concerns the imparting and recording of God’s word and truth.
“All Scripture is God-breathed [inspired] and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16).
Inspiration relates explicitly to the original autographs of the Bible and not to facsimiles and translations. “Even when the accuracy of a reading in the original text cannot be known with 100 percent accuracy, it is possible to be 100 percent certain of the truth preserved in the texts that survive. It is only in minor details that any uncertainty about the textual rendering exists, and no major doctrine rests on any one minor detail. A good translation will not fail to capture the overall teaching of the original. In this sense, then, a good translation will have doctrinal authority, although actual inspiration is reserved for the autographs” (Geisler & Nix).
“All Scripture is inspired by God…” (2 Timothy 3:16). This comprises words, doctrines, details, and events concerning God, salvation, knowledge, science, history, and truth.
Primary topics addressed include: theories of inspiration, the process of canonization, key manuscripts and recent discoveries, textual criticism, Greek and Latin translations, and modern English translations. The full-range of an introduction to the Bible is covered.
This is an assessable volume that will equip and edify the student, apologist, and minister. The Bible is a book of transformation. It is the instrument that the Holy Spirit uses to save souls and reform sinners. Our job is not to astound and electrify people with human wisdom, but to preach God’s holy word to the lost. Paperback 416 pages.
The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8).
Review by Mike Robinson author of Truth, knowledge, and the Reason for God available on Amazon
And see one of his many eBooks including Reality and the Folly of Atheism HERE