God Wrote a Book by James MacDonald is a basic introduction to the Bible. It’s a book that I think should be given to any young Christian, or even a non-Christian who’s curious about why Christians care about the Bible so much.
One of the best summaries and explanations I’ve ever read on the canonization of Scripture (how what came to be included in the Bible, came to be included in the Bible). For me, it was the highlight of the book (pp. 53-60). He also references a more exhaustive book on the topic by Geisler and Nix.
“God wrote a book. The Holy Spirit communicated the words. Men wrote them down. The early church pulled the writings together” (p. 60). Here’s a brief overview in MacDonald’s words of how the Scriptures were canonized:
-Authority: Just as Jesus spoke with authority, anything written by God would have an obvious ring of authority.
-Authorship: Before a book could be accepted as from God, the early church wanted to be sure who the author was and that he had the credentials of one through whom God would choose to give His Word. Was it written by an apostle or one of their close associates (such as Mark, Luke)?
-Authenticity: Does the book tell the truth about God and man? About salvation? Is it consistent with the rest of what we know to be God’s Word?
-Alive: “The word of God is living and active.” -Hebrews 4:12
-Acceptance: Did the other churches receive it as God’s Word?
God chose the specific words of the Bible and it is God’s content written through human personality. As God, He could’ve chosen to make His will known any way He wanted, but He chose primarily, to make His will known in a book.
MacDonald says, “The Bible is one hundred percent accurate in all that it asserts and constitutes all truth essential for human happiness” (p. 63). He also asserts that Psalm 19:7-11 is the most concise summary of what the Bible is “good for.”
7 “The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
8the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9the fear of the LORD is clean,
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
10More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward”
There are at least 3 things to do with God’s Word that will change your life:
-Pick it up
-Size it up. MacDonald discusses 8 Biblical pictures of God’s Word: fire, sword, hammer, seed, milk, meat, light, mirror.
-Eat it up: MacDonald provides 7 great questions to ask while reading Scripture, and encourages readers not to rely solely on his provided questions, but to develop their own questions as well.
1)What portion of my reading stands out to me?
2)Why does this part have my attention?
3)Is there an example for me to follow?
4)Is there an error for me to avoid?
5)Is there a duty for me to perform?
6)Is there any promise for me to claim?
7)Is there a sin for me to confess?
Plan to read the Bible. Pray through passages in the Bible. Share with others what you’re learning.
Enjoyable book to read. You can hear MacDonald speaking as you write this book, he writes this book as though he’s having a conversation with you. In my mind, this is going to be the go-to book for something that is readable, concise, and perfect for anyone wrestling with basic questions about Scripture-what is it good for? how did the Bible come to be how it is? and other basic questions about the Word of God.