Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix. From God to Us: How We Got Our Bible. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2012. 416 pp. $21.99.
When I first became a Christian, the first thing I investigated was the historical validity of the Bible. As an atheist, I had always seen the Christian Bible (and the sacred texts of all religions, for that matter) as akin to a novel, or to Greek mythology – an anthology of fictional tales. But now, if the Bible was going to be the foundation of all my beliefs and the guide to all my actions, I needed to be convinced of its historical reliability. I don’t know how common my former view of the Bible is among atheists is, but what I do know is that many feel that the 66 books we currently have in our Bible was just chosen by a council of bishops in the 4th century to suite their own agenda; that through thousands of years of translation and transmission, what we have now is nothing like what was originally written down (akin to the game of “telephone”).
Christians and non-Christians alike have many questions about the Bible. A robust understanding of the supernatural inspiration and historical reliability of the Bible will strengthen the Christian’s own faith as well as help us answer the prevalent attacks against its credibility. From God to Us is an excellent resource for this endeavor. Comprising 21 chapters organized into four parts (inspiration, canonization, transmission, and translation), this book provides a very comprehensive look at the Bible, addressing in one volume topics that are usually only addressed separately.
Much of the material in part 1 is usually covered in the doctrine of Scripture section of a systematic theology; the end starts getting into apologetics, and part 2 continues with information about the Bible in an apologetics book; the information in part 3 is usually not presented at a popular level and is a great introduction to textual criticism for the layman; and much of the material in Part 4 is not usually covered in popular-level books either (although there are many books that address modern English translations and helps one choose an English Bible). In other words, you typically have to read five books in order to get the breadth that this one book covers concerning the Bible.
There’s a bit of repetition amongst the chapters and quite a bit of summarizing. I personally did not enjoy this, but I can see how this might benefit some readers since it is a longer book that does get a bit technical. There were also a few places where I felt the authors made a leap in logic and a few minor points here and there where I was unconvinced by the arguments. But overall this is a very strong book. I think this is a book every Christian should own, especially if you’re passionate about apologetics and/or you want to know more about the Bible’s origin, history, and development. Some might struggle to read through the whole book cover-to-cover. But it is well worth it, because you will finish the book with a greater confidence in the Bible as the authoritative, inspired, historically credible Word of God. You won’t waver in the midst of the attacks on the credibility of the Bible, and you will be equipped to defend it. This book would probably also serve as a good reference book for those who do not wish to read it straight through.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.