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Inerrancy and Worldview: Answering Modern Challenges to the Bible Paperback – May 31, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway; 1 edition (May 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433523876
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433523878
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“I can think of no one in the world better qualified to write a defense of biblical inerrancy than my lifelong friend Vern Poythress. This book is no ordinary defense of inerrancy that merely focuses on proposed solutions to several difficult verses (though it does examine some of them). Rather, it is a wide-ranging analysis that exposes the faulty intellectual assumptions that underlie challenges to the Bible from every major academic discipline in the modern university world. I think every Christian student at every secular university should read and absorb the arguments in this book. It is profoundly wise, insightful, and clearly written, and it will surely strengthen every reader’s confidence in the trustworthiness of the Bible as the very words of God.”
Wayne Grudem, Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary

“Vern Poythress has written what I consider to be definitive books on many subjects, including biblical interpretation, language, science, and sociology. In Inerrancy and Worldview, he brings his insights from these disciplines and more together to address the relation of biblical inerrancy to worldview. He shows quite convincingly that the issue of inerrancy is not just a matter of asking whether this or that biblical passage is factual. Rather, our attitude toward the claim of biblical inerrancy depends on our general view of how God is related to the cosmos and to us as individuals and societies. And that general view, in turn, depends on our relationship to Jesus Christ. The book gets deeper into the question of inerrancy than any other book I know.”
John M. Frame, J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando

“Every new item that Vern Poythress writes is thoughtful, creative, and worth reading. This book is no exception. Among the many things I like about it is his emphasis on the personalist worldview of the Bible, as over against the impersonalism that dominates modern Western culture. Besides its crucial contribution to his own subject in clarifying how it is that God communicates to us through the Bible, I think this basic idea will be fruitful for a good number of other topics as well. Thanks, Dr. Poythress, and thanks, God, for giving him to the Church.”
C. John CollinsProfessor of Old Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary; author, The God of Miracles, Science, and Faith: Friends or Foes? 

“Vern Poythress has provided both the church and the academy a remarkable service with Inerrancy and Worldview. Recognizing that the modern objection to Scripture is neither univocal nor objective, but rather varied and religious, he helpfully reframes the discussion in terms of competing worldviews. By surveying the various options for the allegiance of the modern mind, Poythress shows that not only is an inerrant Bible a reasonable expectation of a personal God, but our rejection of it is rooted not in evidence, but in our sinful rebellion against that God. With clear logic and pastoral care, Poythress leads us through an amazing tour of both the ‘wisdom of our age’ and the follies of our hearts, bringing us at last to the God who speaks—humbling our pride and setting our hearts free.”
Michael Lawrence, Senior Pastor, Hinson Baptist Church, Portland, Oregon; author, Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church

“To our shame, the response of Christians to challenges to our faith can often be dismissive, shallow, defensive, or disrespectful. On the other hand, we can err too much on the side of tolerance for error when truth is under siege. In Inerrancy and Worldview, Vern Poythress shows us how to be neither fools nor cowards. Through intelligent, informed, insightful, and respectful engagement, key foundational faith defeaters taught in many disciplines at every secular university are explained and critiqued from a biblical perspective. Poythress challenges the challenges to biblical belief at the root of their assumptions. We are left with a solid basis and defense of the Christian way of thinking. Inerrancy and Worldview should be required reading for all who want to think more deeply about their faith and defend it within a skeptical culture.”
Erik Thoennes, Professor of Theology, Chair, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University; Pastor, Grace Evangelical Free Church, La Mirada, California

About the Author

Vern S. Poythress is professor of New Testament interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he has taught for over three decades. He has six earned degrees, including a PhD from Harvard University and a ThD from the University of Stellenbosch. He is the author of numerous books on a variety of topics, including biblical interpretation, language, and science.

Customer Reviews

I don't find it satisfying.
Inerrancy and Worldview is the latest book from Vern Poythress.
Adam Parker
If this is the case, then his argument is rather trivial.
A. Omelianchuk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By ta ethica on May 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
Poythress, Vern Sheridan. Inerrancy and Worldview: Answering Modern Challenges to the Bible. Wheaton: Crossway, 2012. 271 pages, paperback.*

Dr. Vern Poythress is a prolific author, writing on a wide variety of subjects from hermeneutics, theological method, the relationship between Christ and the OT Law, sociology, science, linguistics, and others, including a forthcoming book on inerrancy in the Gospels and what looks to be a massive book on the study of logic. His latest book, Inerrancy and Worldview, is essentially a synthesis of his former works, as the majority of his footnotes reference his other works for further details and explication, and as Poythress notes in a footnote, all of his works relate in some way to biblical interpretation (p. 15).

In this new work, Poythress sets out to defend the traditional notion of Biblical inerrancy. But what is different about this work is that Poythress does not devote his work as a negative and critical response to recent works attacking inerrancy. Rather, Poythress seeks to develop a positive response by showing that many of the challenges to inerrancy are rooted in a worldview that opposes the Biblical worldview (p. 14, 21).

After the preface and introduction, Poythress begins with two brief chapters on common religious difficulties: exclusivism and morality being a strait jacket. Poythress shows how these difficulties are wrapped up in one's worldview, which Poythress says is the fundamental key for understanding the various challenges and difficulties that people have with the Bible.

After these brief chapters, Poythress discusses a variety of challenges to the Bible, with all the sections beginning with the word, "Challenges...
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A. Omelianchuk on September 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
The central thesis of Vern Poythress's Inerrancy and Worldview is that "modern people" challenge the authority of Scripture by bringing presuppositions from a materialistic worldview to its pages. That is, modern people, or those who think the Bible is errant, read it through the lens of an "impersonalistic" view of natural laws, moral properties, and regularities in thought and speech. Poythress guides the reader through topics such as the natural sciences, sociology, linguistics, historical criticism, and cognitive psychology so as to demonstrate how an impersonalistic worldview affects modern thinking, and hence the handling of Scripture as an errant human text. The antidote to this state of affairs, he says, is to recast these disciplines along the lines of a "personalistic" worldview, which envisages our lawlike world of regularity as one that is upheld by God's sustaining word. In short, given the reality of a personal God, we should expect an inerrant Bible. Along the way, he addresses certain challenges to particular problem passages and admonishes readers to take account of their spiritual pride that might hinder one's reading of Scripture.

If one is looking for a general overview of how materialistic thinking affects various disciplines (assuming he has represented them fairly) and the conclusions drawn from them, one might find Poythress's book helpful. But if one is looking for a defense of inerrancy, one should look elsewhere. In my estimation, this book woefully falls short of a robust defense of inerrancy, because the assumption of a personalist worldview is not sufficient for believing in an inerrant Bible.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Doug Erlandson TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I will begin my review of "Inerrancy and Worldview" by Vern Poythress with a couple admissions concerning my own worldview. First, I consider myself to be a moderate presuppositionalist in my apologetics (although I see a certain value in an evidentialist approach as well). Second, I believe in biblical inerrancy when it is properly qualified (as it is in the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy, to which Poythress alludes on several occasions in his book). In other words, Poythress and I are pretty much on the same page in these regards.

After reading his book I was torn between giving it a five-star or a four-star rating. On the one hand, Poythress does an excellent job of defending the thesis that our attitude toward the Bible and whether its alleged contradictions can be resolved will depend on our worldview, and that as Christians we must begin with the assumption that there are no contradictions and must therefore find ways to resolve different accounts (particularly in the Synoptics but also elsewhere) unless there is no way to do so. To put this in its most basic terms, the Bible is innocent (free of contradictions) unless proven guilty. (If we assume guilt beforehand we will come away with a guilty verdict.) Furthermore, God in his wisdom and providence has provided multiple and sometimes differing accounts of certain events to enrich our understanding and increase our insight into what these events can teach us about God and his dealings with human beings.

On the other hand, I found Poythress's handling of a couple issues rather disappointing. First, his dismissal of the Synoptic Problem (i.e.
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More About the Author

Vern Sheridan Poythress is professor of New Testament interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary. He has six earned degrees, including a PhD from Harvard University and a ThD from the University of Stellenbosch. He is the author of numerous books on aspects of biblical interpretation and science.