Friday, September 30, 2016

Why Should I Trust the Bible?, by A. Trevor Sutton

I trust the Bible.  But why should I?  Pastor A. Trevor Sutton has lots of convincing reasons, on which he expounds on in Why Should I Trust the Bible? .  In an age when belief is under assault (and actually, has there been an age in which belief as not under assault?), believers should be ready to defend their beliefs.

Well-read Christians and biblical scholars will see much that is familiar in Why Should I Trust the Bible?  Sutton addresses a number of concerns that critics of the Bible bring.  In most cases, his defense is direct and simply stated.  The weakness of the book is that, since he is writing primarily for a Christian audience, I could see a non-believer dismissing many of his claims out of hand.  For example, there's a somewhat circular argument that we can trust the Bible because of Jesus.  I see what he's saying--Jesus is an historical figure, etc.--but those claims fall on the deaf ears of committed unbelievers.

Sutton's best arguments are the comparisons to secular literary criticism.  We don't actually know the precise content of the Gettysburg Address or of Shakespeare's plays, for instance, because of the multiple manuscripts and competing claims.  By any test, the Bible as a piece of literature, has stood the test of time and has, by far, more documentary support than any ancient literature.  Archaeology and science have affirmed it, setting it apart from other religious texts.

Sutton's efforts here should be well-received.  I can hear doubters saying, "Yeah, he's a Christian pastor, of course that's what he's going to say." But if the doubters truly engage Sutton's text, they would, if they are honest, have to pay attention to Sutton's arguments.  Christians would do well to become familiar with Sutton's points, in order to have an answer when their non-Christian friends challenge the Bible's legitimacy.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

2016 Reading Challenge: A book about the Bible


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