Understanding Scripture: An overview of the Bible’s origin, reliability and meaning, edited by Wayne Grudem, C. John Collins & Thomas R. Schreiner (IVP/Crossway, 2012)

Evangelical’s belief in the inerrancy and perspicuity of Scripture can sometimes give rise to careless readings of the Bible which overlook the nature of the text and the gap between the original audience and ourselves. The nineteen articles in Understanding Scripture – which were originally published as part of the ESV Study Bible – seek to address these concerns, while reaffirming the reader’s confidence in the trustworthiness and usefulness of Scripture. I think this (or something of its kind) should be required reading for every Christian.

It has an all-star cast of contributors (including J. I. Packer, John Piper, Vern Poythress and Leland Ryken) who can speak with authority but also with clarity. Many of the areas – such as the reliability of Bible manuscripts, formation of the canon, and features of the original language – are rarely, if ever, addressed from the pulpit or books for a general audience, whilst more scholarly books, such as commentaries, assume knowledge of them. I think the great value of the articles is their ability to bridge these contexts. They are concise and accessible, but sufficient enough to raise attention to the issue and present the key conclusions. However, given that they are just brief overviews it might have been helpful for them to suggest resources for further depth.

The American (Crossway) edition is far more handsome than the British (IVP) alternative. It is not the first time I have found this to be the case when the two have published a book concurrently and, had it been otherwise, I would probably be buying the British editions (simply because my Anglophilia runs deeper than my American citizenship). I am considering writing to IVP to inform them of the consequences of neglecting aesthetics.

You can see a full list of contents and read a couple chapters here