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by Joe Carter
“When you encounter a present-day view of Holy Scripture,” J. I. Packer wrote, “you encounter more than a view of Scripture.” As Packer adds,
What you meet is a total view of God and the world, that is, a total theology, which is both an ontology, declaring what there is, and an epistemology, stating how we know what there is. This is necessarily so, for a theology is a seamless robe, a circle within which everything links up with everything else through its common grounding in God. Every view of Scripture, in particular, proves on analysis to be bound up with an overall view of God and man.
Our view of Scripture—particularly how we view the Bible’s truthfulness and authority over our lives—profoundly affects our spiritual formation. For this reason, the primary thing we should know about the Bible is that, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
But our view of Scripture should also lead us to discover what the Bible is and how we came to receive it. Knowing facts about the Bible is not for the purpose of gathering material for a trivia contest, but for becoming intimately familiar with the book that will most shape our lives.
Here is a sampling of basic facts we should know…
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