We certainly have no shortage of books defending and upholding the authority of Scripture. In fact, I recently posted my list of top ten books on this subject.
And the reason we have so many of these books is not hard to find. The world continues to attack the Bible. And many Christians continue to doubt the Bible.
But one thing we do have a shortage of is certain kinds of books on the authority of Scripture. Most books on the authority of Scripture are either providing a theological explanation of our doctrine of Scripture, or are providing historical evidence for how the Bible was put together. Or maybe both.
But, what tends to be lacking in most discussions is how the Bible witnesses to its own divine authority. Or, put another way, how the internal characteristics of Scripture point toward its divine origins. I’ve tried to address this important issue myself in various ways (for instance, see my book Canon Revisited, and my recent post: What Do We Mean When We Say the Bible is ‘Self-Authenticating’?), but more on the subject is needed.
For this reason, I was thankful to see John Piper’s new book, A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness on the cover of Crossway’s 2016 catalog. Piper argues for what is essentially a self-authenticating view of the Bible.
Building on the work of Jonathan Edwards (no surprise there), Piper makes the case that we know the Scriptures are true because in them we behold the wonder and the glory of Christ himself. He states in the introduction: “Thus, at the end of all human means, the simplest pre-literate person and the most educated scholar come to a saving knowledge of the truth of Scripture in the same way: by a sight of its glory.”
With such a thesis at the core of his book, Piper stands in a long line of Reformed thinkers who’ve made essentially the same argument. I think particularly of John Owen, The Divine Original: Authority, Self-Evidencing Light, and Power of the Scriptures, in vol. 16 of Owen’s Collected Works (Banner of Truth, 1988).
Here is my endorsement below, along with Tom Schreiner’s:
“There are few questions more important than ‘How Do I know the Bible is God’s Word?’ And there are few people who could address it as well as John Piper. Drawing from the deep theological well of Jonathan Edwards, and with a practical eye for the average believer in the pew, Piper has helped us recover the foundational importance of a self-authenticating Bible. This book will revolutionize the way you think about God’s Word.”
–Michael J. Kruger, President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC
“Here we find compelling arguments for the truthfulness of the Scriptures and profound meditations on the stunning glory of God.”
–Tom R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary