Mapping the Debate

David Shaw explores the doctrine of Scripture in our contemporary context.


David is the Editor of Primer. He is part-time Theological Adviser for FIEC and part-time Lecturer in New Testament and Greek at Oak Hill Theological College, London. He’s married to Jo and they have four children.

Ideas for further thought and discussion

Before you read the article: Take a look at this quote:

“The Bible- from front to back – is the story of God told from the limited point of view of real people living at a certain place and time. It’s not like the Israelites were debating whether or not to go ahead and describe God as a mighty warrior. They had no choice. That’s just how it was done – that was their cultural language. And if the writers had somehow been able to step outside of their culture and invent a new way of talking, their story would have made no sense to anyone else. The Bible looks this way because ‘God lets his children tell the story,’ so to speak.” Peter Enns, The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable To Read It, (San Francisco: Harper One, 2014), 63.

What issues does it raise?

If you were going to respond, what would you say?

If you could sit down with the author, which Bible passage would you turn to first? Why?

After you’ve read the article: Look back over the issues you thought were raised – is there anything you’d want to add or change?

Imagine a church member showed you the quote, thought it made a lot of sense, and asked you to respond. Draft an email to them of 1000 words or less. [In practice, please don’t pastor by email! Almost always better to talk it through over a coffee, but for the sake of this exercise, imagine you’ve only got the medium of email and a word limit!]

If you want a more in depth overview of the current debate, you can listen to a recent Don Carson talk here.

If you want to know more about how the Bible’s reliability has been thought about through church history check out this talk by John Woodbridge.