Saturday, April 25, 2015

God Breathed by Josh McDowell

McDowell is convinced Scripture is reliable and that its words are God's words with power. He wants readers to experience the power of those words every day.

This is a personal book from McDowell. Unlike some of his earlier books of precise logical argumentation, this book is much more of a conversational style. He sets out to first convince readers the Bible has power that can be experienced, then argues for the reliability of it.

The first part of the book covers the power in God's Word, its purpose, how it is mean to be interpreted, how it is relevant, and how one develops a love for it. The second part of the book is a defense of the reliability of Scripture. McDowell excels in the latter subject, giving readers much about how both the Old Testament and the New Testament have a great deal of external and internal evidence toward reliability.

Much of this book seems to be driven by McDowell's emotional experience of successfully acquiring fragments of ancient biblical manuscripts. He tells the story several times, all or in part, of Dr. Scott Carroll finding artifacts for McDowell's ministry and the fragments' unveiling. McDowell also tells many personal stories as to how the Bible has shaped him and informed him over the years. He has even created a few fictional vignettes to illustrate some of his points.

This is definitely an introductory level book. It would be appropriate for someone who does not know how the canon came to be, how manuscripts were copied, about the discovery and importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls, or may not even be convinced faith in Christ is the only way to God. McDowell covers each of those topics well. I feel the strength of this book is in the second half, attesting to the reliability of the Bible. That is McDowell's strength and it shows in that section. (Discriminating readers who check McDowell's footnotes will find that he quotes scholars like F. F. Bruce and William Albright whose books date fifty to sixty years ago. I do wish the sources cited were of a more contemporary nature.)

I recommend this book to Christians who are somewhat biblically and apologetically illiterate. It is a good introduction to the relevance and reliability of the Bible.

You will find many resources at the book website, including a study guide.

Josh McDowell has been sharing and defending the essentials of the Christian faith for over five decades. He is the author or coauthor of 142 books. He and his wife have four children and ten grandchildren. You can find out more at http://www.josh.org/.

Barbour, 224 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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