Misquoting Truth

by Timothy Paul Jones, IVP Books, 2007,
ISBN 978-0-8308-3447-1, paperback, 175 pages

The flow of books attacking Christianity, the Bible, and belief in God has climbed steadily through the years. In recent years, books like these have been able to make appearances in the New York Times best seller list. One of the main figures in attacks on Jesus and the Bible is Dr. Bart Ehrman. In 2003 he wrote a book titled Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew, and in 2005 he wrote Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. Ehrman is chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina. With his credentials, he has gotten a lot of attention from the media and in 2006 Misquoting Jesus was a best seller.

Ehrman's basic theory is that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John did not write the gospels and that all New Testament manuscripts are so full of errors that it is not possible to know what the authors really intended. Misquoting Truth is a response to Ehrman's material. Timothy Paul Jones is a professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Rolling Hills, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Dr. Jones has a strong academic background, but what makes this book especially useful is the style of writing. Dr. Jones is kind, easy to understand, and regularly has side bars in each chapter that say things like "Think it out," "Look it up," "Fact Sheet," and "Know More." These sections direct the reader to not just accept at face value what has been said, but actually check it out.

The book has two parts: "Why the Texts Can Be Trusted" divided into four chapters and "Why the Lost Christianities Were Lost" also divided into four chapters. This last section goes into how biblical books were chosen and why we rely upon the writers of our Bible and not other authors who lived at the same time. The first section deals with Ehrman's claims that the documents have been victimized by copyist errors and lost manuscripts.

This is an excellent book. We recommend it highly. Even if someone has not read Ehrman's attack on the Bible, the book will be useful. It has a subject index, a name index, and a scripture index and is well documented. It can be used as a reference source or just to build your faith and confidence in the Bible.

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