In Why Trust the Bible?, Greg Gilbert invites both Christians and nonbelievers alike to reflect on the historical reliability of the Bible. The author’s premise is that the entire Bible as the Word of God is authentic, authoritative, and accurate in the form that we have today. The book’s focus is primarily on proving the case for the New Testament canon which would also serve as the foundation for defending the Old Testament canon. Unlike other books on the subject, Gilbert’s approach lies in showing readers that if we can trust the New Testament as being historically accurate, we can also come to believe the New Testament’s claim that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Furthermore, if Jesus has power over death then He is indeed the living God and thus we should put our faith in Him. Based on this argument, we can see that this book serves chiefly as a tool for evangelism by illustrating to nonbelievers the reasons why the Bible is a trustworthy collection of historical documents. To prove his case, Gilbert uses seven chapters to examine how the New Testament were written by eyewitnesses and close contacts who wanted to convey the factual events that they saw and experienced. Moreover, the author shows how the church has carefully authenticated, compiled, and handed down the Bible throughout the centuries. Being a subject that has been studied for decades, the author draws heavily on the research of many scholars who have explored the various angles in determining the veracity, accuracy, and reliability of the New Testament. Fortunately, Gilbert avoids making readers tread through technical information but instead employs understandable illustrations and logical arguments that can be easily followed by a wide audience. For example, the author uses his father’s conversation with his son as an illustration of how translating the Bible from its original text can be a necessary but nonetheless accurate exercise. For those looking for more in-depth analysis, the author includes a detailed appendix at the end of the book for further study.
I would recommend this book to both nonbelievers and Christians who seek to learn more about this important topic. For the former, Gilbert’s book helpfully discusses popular objections regarding the New Testament’s reliability thereby clearing some of the common misconceptions that many nonbelievers may have. More importantly, I believe this book would be a great starting point for Christians looking to engage nonbelieving friends in friendly dialogue about the Christian faith. Without a grasp of how Scripture is reliable historically, nonbelievers may simply view the Bible as being a compilation of moral stipulations and intriguing stories or, at worst, a collection of fables and fairy tales. For those who have been Christians for some years but are unsure how to start such conversations, this book enables us to discuss and answer this important subject in a logical and convincing way. On this point, I especially appreciated the many examples and illustrations that Gilbert utilizes throughout the book as I find myself at a loss for words when I try to avoid using Christian jargon when explaining to nonbelievers. Why Trust the Bible? is not only an informative introductory guide for those who want to know more about the Bible but also a helpful tool for Christians who want to effectively evangelize to those around them and defend the authority of Scripture.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations, I was provided a free review copy of this book from Crossway.