How We Got the Bible

by Neil R. Lightfoot, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI 49516,
ISBN 0-8010-1252-X, $19.99 hardback, 224 pages, 2003

One of the questions that we hear from virtually every segment of society concerns how we know we have the right Bible.  Skeptics like to suggest that there have been copies of copies of copies, and that there is no credibility to the modern day manuscripts upon which all of our modern Bibles are based.  There are many ways of answering this challenge, and over the years we have had numerous articles in this journal which deal with different approaches to the question.  Our book of the month was first released in 1963 and has been reprinted and updated a number of times by a man whose whole life has been dedicated to this subject area.  Dr. Lightfoot got his Ph.D. from Duke University and is a professor of New Testament at Abilene Christian University.  His specialty involves the manuscript evidence and the history of how we got the Bible.  That is what this book is about.

The first 13 chapters of this book provide an in-depth history of how we got the manuscripts that comprise our modern day Bible.  The book begins by talking about how written records were recorded and preserved in ancient times, and reviews the manuscripts of the Old and New Testament--what has been found, how they were written, how they were discovered, and how complete they are.  The remainder of the book deals with the canon of scriptures--how it was selected and how we know we have the right books.  There is a useful section on the apocryphal books, a review of recent translations of the English Bible, and a history of the English translations from 1611 on.

This is a wonderful reference source for anyone who has questions about how we got the Bible we have today.  It is positive, complete, documented, scholarly, and easy to read.  It is subject-intense and is written as a work for a searching person--not an entertainment for people with no interest in the subject matter.  We recommend it highly for all readers.  It should be in the library of anyone working with college and high school students, and anyone who uses or works in apologetics in any way.

Note:  Books reviewed on this page are not available through our Web Site.  They should be available through a local bookstore or some of the online bookstores.

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, JulAug06.