Light of the Word: How Knowing the History of the Bible Illuminates Our Faith – Susan C. Lim

Light of the Word: How Knowing the History of the Bible Illuminates Our Faith by Susan C. Lim
Published by IVP on December 5, 2023
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Theology
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While Christians generally acknowledge that the Bible is God's Word, many of us lack robust confidence in the reality of its trustworthiness. We may not be sure if we really believe what we read. But the more we understand how Scripture came to be, the more we discover its power and truth.

Historian Susan Lim unpacks how the history of the Bible bolsters our faith and anchors us through the changing tides of time. The story of Scripture, while messy and complicated at times, is also the story of how God shepherded his people throughout the centuries in and through these writings. Lim explains how Christians came to accept certain documents as inspired and not others, and how the books we now call the Bible came to be assembled and canonized as authoritative. The same Spirit of God who oversaw the writing of Scripture continues to be at work actively in us in our receiving and reading of it, to grow us in faith and maturity.

Those of us who confess that Jesus is Lord can also confess with confidence that Scripture is God's Word. As the church through the ages has received and passed down the sacred Scriptures, so too can we receive for ourselves the living Word that God still speaks through today.

In this accessible, engaging guide to the Bible, Susan C. Lim shares her personal testimony of coming to know Jesus and the story of her “second confession,” when after years of faithful Christian living, she recognized her lack of true confidence in the Bible and came to the point of really believing that the Bible is the Word of God. She explains that just like her, many Christians follow Jesus without ever fully believing in the authenticity of Scripture, and she shares evidence and information to help her readers understand why we can trust that the Bible is true and reliable.

Light of the Word includes brief summaries of what we know about the origin of each book of the Bible, and Lim focuses on both the Old Testament and the New Testament in turn, highlighting important things that Christians should know about issues like the canonization process, disputed books, and the Bible’s translation history. Throughout this book, she debunks many common myths that skeptics use to discredit the Bible, and even when she also includes references to what the Bible says about itself, she relies on historical, external evidence to persuade the reader. Also, even though Lim covers many high-level academic concepts in this book, it is highly readable. Her relaxed style and personal stories will engage readers who would never read a dense academic book on this subject, and she speaks to the reader in a conversational style without talking down to them.

Light of the Word: How Knowing the History of the Bible Illuminates Our Faith is an excellent book for Christians who want to better understand the Bible. Whether someone is personally struggling with doubts about the Bible or simply wants to know more about its history, this book will speak to them and provide helpful insights. Also, even though Lim primarily directs this book to fellow believers, this book can also appeal to curious skeptics who want to better understand the basis for Christianity. I would highly recommend this to book to anyone who wants a thorough, thoughtful, and highly accessible guide to understanding the history of the Bible.