In a society where relativism is the most acclaimed philosophy, it is of utmost importance that Christians believe absolutely that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.’ Erwin Lutzer takes readers on a journey of faith where they are asked some of the most fundamental questions a person could ask. In his readable, yet profound style, Lutzer critically examines proof that will determine supernatural authenticity of the Bible.
Erwin Lutzer wrote 7 Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible to answer the question he calls “the most fundamental question any human being could ask: Has God spoken?” In the preface and introduction, Lutzer argues for the relevance of this topic for both believers and nonbelievers. He “promise[s] that the Bible will not break” under criticism, a solid reminder for anyone who is tentative about delving into tough questions in case the Bible or God would prove incapable of coming out on top. The reliability of Scripture is an essential basis of the Christian faith. Unfortunately, although Lutzer provides a good introduction to the subject, his brevity and occasional failure to analyze opposing views in a serious manner diminish the potential usefulness of this book.
Lutzer speaks quite early about objections people have to the idea of Scripture being without error. He discusses why humans being sinful would not make this inerrancy impossible or why using “human language” does not hinder God’s truth from being declared. By answering one of the integral questions at the beginning, Lutzer lays the groundwork for the rest of the book.
Lutzer provides many reasons to trust the Bible. Among other things, he mentions the historical confirmation of facts described in the Bible and how the Scriptures have been found. As Lutzer notices, “Though our faith is not dependent on the next archaeological find, it is gratifying to know that, as time moves on, more and more discoveries confirm the biblical record.” He also mentions the double standard that is applied to the Bible as opposed to other historical documents. Other reasons to trust the Bible that Lutzer mentions include fulfilled prophecies and Christ being confident in the Old Testament. The fulfilled prophecies described in Scripture give hope both for the correctness of Scripture in general and for the fulfillment of those prophecies that have not yet come true. Christ’s faith in the correctness of the Old Testament is confirmed time after time in Scripture. Lutzer draws our attention to these as some of the seven reasons for believing the validity and truth of Scripture.
Even though some reasons were well-documented, clarity is necessary for others. For example, Lutzer brushes over why those who claim that the authors of Scripture are simply lying are themselves wrong. He argues that the Bible cannot possibly lie to us on every page because it “has inspired the highest standard of morality … has given the world the most coherent worldview … has given us a Christ who is admired even by skeptics.” It would be “a matter of incomprehensible irony.” This argument ridicules the critics but does not explain the trustworthiness of Scripture. The effect of God’s Word is a key factor but does not in itself insist on the rightness of Scripture since good things can come from imperfect books and, as history shows, misreading Scripture often has immoral consequences. A few other moments remain where Lutzer only does a brief overview or where he ridicules ideas, saying things such as “enough said” but leaving questions on the lips of his readers. It is hard to read those moments, even when they discuss ideas that one understands and agrees with. This avoidance of taking the opposing side seriously sounds informal and reduces the authority of the book, leaving the reader frustrated.
The purpose of 7 Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible was to present reasons why we can believe that the Bible is trustworthy. The topic affects everyone, believer and non-believer alike. The organization of the book is good, as the author divides the text into seven chapters. He writes in a simple and understandable way and uses good examples and studies, which he then analyzes. Unfortunately, Lutzer also has conclusions that look hastily made. That is because of insufficient attention given to the opposing viewpoint or the tone used, which sometimes sounds like a defensive reaction and sometimes like the open ridicule of the point of view of others.
This book lays a good foundation. It is not in itself an encyclopedia on the reliability of Scripture, but it is a good introduction to the subject. For those who are interested in this topic, 7 Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible will give something to think about and may encourage a deeper study of the reliability as well as the contents of the Bible.