Can We Still Believe the Bible?

An Evangelical Engagement with Contemporary Questions

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About

Challenges to the reliability of Scripture are perennial and have frequently been addressed. However, some of these challenges are noticeably more common today, and the topic is currently of particular interest among evangelicals.

In this volume, highly regarded biblical scholar Craig Blomberg offers an accessible and nuanced argument for the Bible's reliability in response to the extreme views about Scripture and its authority articulated by both sides of the debate. He believes that a careful analysis of the relevant evidence shows we have reason to be more confident in the Bible than ever before. As he traces his own academic and spiritual journey, Blomberg sketches out the case for confidence in the Bible in spite of various challenges to the trustworthiness of Scripture, offering a positive, informed, and defensible approach.

Contents
Introduction
1. Aren't the Copies of the Bible Hopelessly Corrupt?
2. Wasn't the Selection of Books for the Canon Just Political?
3. Can We Trust Any of Our Translations of the Bible?
4. Don't These Issues Rule Out Biblical Inerrancy?
5. Aren't Several Narrative Genres of the Bible Unhistorical?
6. Don't All the Miracles Make the Bible Mythical?
Conclusion
Indexes


Endorsements

"Mention the Bible, especially a hot topic like canon or miracles, and one second later you will hear strident voices attacking the Bible's silliness or calling others names for not believing the Bible. Those topics, and many more besides, are volatile because they matter, and what matters most for the discussion is the voice of reason and balance. Enter Craig Blomberg with nothing less than a splendid example of 'generous apologetics' for the faith. Whether you agree on specific points, this is the finest example I know of for how to defend the Bible."

Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary

"The Bible has gone from being the answer to being the question in our culture. Can I still believe what it claims? Answering emphatically yes, Blomberg examines the pitfalls of making the Bible say too little or too much, both real problems for understanding how the Bible works. So read and consider anew how to think about Scripture. The result will be that belief in the Bible makes sense."

Darrell Bock, executive director of cultural engagement and senior research professor of New Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

"Craig Blomberg's defense of the Scriptures' truthfulness is both important and timely. He keeps the main thing the main thing as he warns well-meaning believers about drawing rigid lines in the wrong places--and damaging the church's witness--while dispelling myths and correcting distortions propounded by Christianity's loudest critics. This book is a superb resource and guide regarding what the Bible's trustworthiness means--and doesn't mean."

Paul Copan, Professor and Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University

"Blomberg advances a vigorous evangelical biblical scholarship that charitably engages outsiders while courageously challenging the most strident evangelical voices, who too often preach to their choirs while alienating others from the faith. Readers of this wide-ranging work will gain a much clearer understanding of mainstream evangelical biblical scholarship."

Craig S. Keener, author of The Historical Jesus of the Gospels; professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary

"Craig Blomberg takes on critics of the Bible with the credibility of a scholar and the passion of a believer."

Leith Anderson, president, National Association of Evangelicals


The Author

  1. Craig Blomberg

    Craig Blomberg

    Craig L. Blomberg (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is distinguished professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary, where he has taught for more than twenty-five years. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Can We Still Believe the Bible?,...

    Continue reading about Craig Blomberg

Reviews

Christianity Today 2015 Book Award Winner

"Although the title might lead one to think this is a beginner's book, it is not. But neither is it a book only for seminary professors. It is for those who are ready to move on from the shelves full of introductory 'case for' books and want to see if the Bible (mainly the New Testament) can stand up to scrutiny from critical scholars. Blomberg answers the toughest challenges in an evenhanded and gracious manner."

Craig Hazen,

Christianity Today

"Blomberg, a respected Bible scholar, provides a very readable and detailed argument in support of Scripture's reliability. . . . Consider featuring this title in your Bible department and recommending it to customers who want a solid, reasoned case for believing in God's word."

CBA Retailers + Resources

"In this important and wide-ranging book, Craig Blomberg . . . offers an updated evangelical defense of the authority and reliability of the Scriptures. Given Blomberg's numerous publications on the historical reliability of the Gospels, he's well positioned academically to write such a book interacting with the latest challenges of modern scholarship. . . . Blomberg has produced a deeply valuable and much-needed defense of the authority of Scripture in our modern age. While I disagree here and there, I appreciated his willingness to engage modern scholarship head-on over a wide range of significant issues. In a world where evangelicals are regularly denigrated in the academy, Blomberg has offered a helpful tool to encourage Christians that God's Word really can be trusted."

Michael J. Kruger,

The Gospel Coalition

"[Blomberg] addresses his broader question, as the subtitle indicates, by dealing with six narrower ones. And he does so in an accessible, eminently readable fashion. One of Blomberg's great strengths is his ability to communicate scholarly content to people who haven't had the benefit of his education."

Elodie Ballantine Emig,

Denver Journal

"The obvious answer to Blomberg's question [in the title] is, 'Yes!'. . . Blomberg, however, does not just give a simple answer. As a credible, conservative scholar he is willing and able to ask tough questions of this question and of the text. He appreciably does not set up easy issues just to dismantle them. He gives nuanced answers. . . . I, for one, appreciate Blomberg's willingness to leave some issues a little open-ended. . . . For the undergraduate student or church member this book is an invaluable resource for understanding textual criticism and views of inspiration."

Joseph C. Grana II,

Stone-Campbell Journal

"Cutting through popular conversations regarding [contemporary challenges to the authority and veracity of the Bible], Blomberg examines facts that explain why the Bible should be believed in the 21st century. He acknowledges truth, yet confronts misconceptions and factual deviations. This text is worthwhile for anyone concerned about the status of the Bible in contemporary religious scholarship and postmodern culture. The book is accessible and will be helpful for laypersons and pastors interested in biblical apologetics."

Ben Espinoza,

Bible Study Magazine

"[Blomberg] looks at six areas of contemporary scholarship and explains how he still believes in the Bible. In the process, he debunks some current misunderstandings about what belief in the Bible entails and seeks to publicize exciting recent developments that fortify faith in the Scriptures. This is the kind of book that only a well-informed and faithful scholar like Blomberg could have written. . . . Throughout this book, Blomberg tries to strike a balance, addressing typical skeptical criticisms of Christianity but, on the other hand, urging believers not to react in an extreme way by labelling everyone as 'liberal' who does not agree with their own ultra-conservative narrow views on non-salvific doctrines. We find it dreadfully difficult to be balanced: upholding the truth but avoiding a judgmental and hypercritical spirit, but that is what Blomberg calls us to be, for that is part of Christlikeness. "

Greg Goswell,

New Life

"Blomberg tackles six critical issues for the believer who faces questions about the reliability of the Bible. Blomberg is well equipped to answer questions on this subject. . . . Blomberg is also a highly capable writer who successfully avoids the technical jargon of scholarship when writing to a popular audience, and has a knack for explaining complex issues in a way that will be accessible even to the reader with no previous knowledge of biblical studies. . . . The attentive reader will be further rewarded with more than fifty pages of endnotes, which include not only a number of valuable insights but also frequently serve as miniature bibliographies for further reading. . . . Blomberg has done readers a valuable service by bringing these issues to our attention in such a readily digestible format."

James Patrick Holding,

Christian Research Journal

"The question-answer layout of the book is beneficial, and keeps the chapters to the point. . . . Can We Still Believe the Bible? is an interesting read for anyone interested in the Bible--from churchgoers with no formal biblical education to seminary students. . . . Blomberg writes well, even displaying his sense of humor at times, and he explains certain concepts, as to not alienate readers without biblical education. . . . I appreciate what Blomberg has done in this volume, and I certainly recommend this book."

Mike Reynolds,

Brave Reviews

"A valuable resource for pastors and laymen who are looking to answer misinformation that commonly circulates about the trustworthiness of the Bible. One thing that makes this book valuable is that Blomberg wants to answer the critics who make the Bible less reliable by questioning manuscript evidence, canon, or translation methods, but also Christians who claim too much about the Bible on these issues."

Phillip J. Long,

Reading Acts blog

"[Blomberg] has devoted much of his scholarly life to assuring evangelical students raised in fundamentalist homes that the authority--and inerrancy--of the Bible does not depend on its living up to logical positivist standards that would have meant nothing to Moses, David, Luke, or Paul. In Can We Still Believe the Bible?: An Evangelical Engagement with Contemporary Questions, he does his fellow evangelicals a vital service by identifying and discussing six areas where critics like Ehrman have sown deep seeds of doubt in the minds of believers and seekers as to the reliability of the Bible. . . . In building his case for why we can still believe the Bible, Blomberg effectively positions himself between liberal scholars who refuse to acknowledge the firm textual base on which the scriptures stand and ultraconservatives who insist on a rigidly literal reading of the Bible (often in the King James only) in the face of legitimate developments in our understanding of ancient manuscripts and genres."

Louis Markos,

Ehrman Errant blog (First Things blog)

"Offers a thoughtful and gracious defense of Scripture, observing growing evidence supporting the truth of the Bible. . . . Blomberg repeatedly demonstrates that the church's teaching about its sacred text still withstands modern criticisms. After each defense of orthodox church teaching, Blomberg offers a balanced call to avoid the 'opposite extreme' in the debate. Blomberg argues that while the academy is full of constantly changing fads that come and go, the church's reasons for defending the Bible largely remain the same."

Towers

"Craig is well worth reading and this book is no exception. . . . These aren't the same old arguments drawn from a well-worn evangelical playbook. For that reason alone I think I can recommend this book without any hesitation. Although it is written against the backdrop of Craig's personal story, I imagine many people will find this book a good read and faith-affirming. If the talking heads on History Channel have ever stirred your curiosities about the Bible and the origins of Christianity, this book will help satisfy many of the key curiosities. If you wonder whether you can still take the Bible seriously, this book is definitely for you."

David B. Capes,

A Word in Edgewise blog

"The six questions [Blomberg] addresses are considered some of the most important questions people are asking about the Bible today. . . . He shows intellectual charity to those who disagree with him. In each of the issues he presents multiple options that evangelicals or inerrantists can take on the issue. This spirit shown by Blomberg makes this a compelling book. . . . [This is] a well-researched book on the reasons why we can still believe in the reliability of the Bible. It is well-written and a high school student to a graduate student should have no trouble reading it. . . . Highly recommended to all readers who are interested in the subject."

John Shaffett,

Modern-day Pilgrim blog

"A tour de force. . . . Every page is a gold mine of information that charitably and fairly reasons with clarity and with grace. At the same time, Blomberg pulls no punches. . . . A host of additional references in the endnotes (which I always read) show ample engagement with the broader scholarly literature that serves readers well for doing further research."

Paul Adams,

in Christ Jesus blog

"Blomberg wrote with academic credibility and depth while avoiding the danger of being too complicated while articulating what he was saying; it was challenging but not overwhelming. . . . What I found myself drawn to most was that Blomberg avoids and critiques the extremes on both ends of the debate. He carefully explains the positions of the Liberal and Fundamentalist positions and then suggests a reasonable middle ground that does not demonize the other. . . . The book is well documented with hundreds of endnotes and is very helpful in understanding the doctrine of inerrancy, even while some will disagree with his analysis. His balanced approach to understand the argument of the other and acknowledging the strengths of those positions, even while he may disagree, makes the reader better able to empathize with the full spectrum of all positions around some of the issues. I would highly recommend this book."

Merv Budd,

blog (mervbudd.wordpress.com)

"The book is an unabashed defense of the reliability of Scriptures, and Blomberg is a solid guide in helping readers understand the many perspectives of the issues. He is sensitive about the different positions to each issue and makes a case for avoiding the extremes. . . . Backed by scholarship and a keen understanding of the historical development of each case, Blomberg tries to explain the issue and the different positions before putting forth his own. While this book is not exactly about apologetics, it can provide evidence that supports the reliability of Scriptures."

Conrade Yap,

Panorama of a Book Saint blog


Resources