In a prior blog post, I mentioned the publication of a new book edited by David Garner entitled, Did God Really Say?: Affirming the Truthfulness and Trustworthiness of Scripture. This book is a compilation of papers originally given at the 2011 PCA General Assembly by scholars from Reformed Theological Seminary, Westminster Theological Seminary, and Covenant Theological Seminary. Participants included Scott Oliphint, Michael Williams, Robert Yarbrough, Vern Poythress, John Frame, and myself. David Garner also included a summary chapter.
I noticed in the Aquila Report today that there was a helpful review of the book by Aimee Byrd. In particular, she notes a thread running through a number of the chapters, namely a “covenantal understanding of Scripture.” She comments:
There are seven chapters in all, and I don’t have space to discuss every one in detail. One theme that was mentioned by at least three authors was the covenantal understanding of Scripture. Michael Williams discusses B.B. Warfield’s understanding the Bible this way in the second chapter, Michael Kruger discusses it in his chapter, “Deconstructing Cannon”, and I remember Frame touching on it in his chapter. I actually would have loved to see a full chapter dedicated to this theme because I think it is so important to our relationship with Scripture. Kruger’s essay was very good for his purpose, but my favorite part was on the “Structure of the Covenant” (Loc. 1077). He explained how covenant and canon go together. Ancient Near Eastern treaties always had written texts confirming the terms of the covenant relationship. This emphasizes Kruger’s point that the cannon of Scripture was “not an after-the fact development, but something woven deep into the fabric of God’s redemptive plan” (Loc. 1088). I think this is a strong point, and really one worthy of a lecture/essay of its own.
I appreciate this observation and agree that this topic needs additional attention. I’ve tried to address it in more detail in my recent book Canon Revisited and plan to do so again in my forthcoming book The Question of Canon (IVP Academic). But, I think more work still needs to be done. Meredith Kline brought attention to this issue a number of years ago (though he was not the first to observe it either) in his wonderful book The Structure of Biblical Authority.
For those interested in doing a bible study, small group, or Sunday School class on the doctrine of Scripture, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Did God Really Say? It provides a good starting point for many of these sorts of discussions.