Defending the inerrancy of scripture can be a challenging task for the unprepared Christian. In the world today, there is no shortage of critical voices speaking out against the authority of scripture. Even within Christendom, some seem determined to undermine the bible’s inerrancy in every instance. Therefore, Christians need to be equipped to defend, not only their faith but also the scriptures upon which the only true religion is based upon.
I highly recommend Poythress’ book Inerrancy and The Gospels. to anyone desiring to understand the harmonization of the gospels better. The book is largely broken up into two sections. The first is centered on the basic principles for studying harmonization, and the second examines specific gospel problem texts. I found the principles section to be the most useful part of the book. It creates a brilliant groundwork for the reader to approach the gospels in a logical, practical, and faithful way.
The practical nature of the principles was a relief. I have read numerous works on textual criticism, commentaries, etc. They have their place and are useful. Yet, it is easy to get lost in them. However, the basic principles laid forth in Poythress’ book are accessible to almost any believer.
Poythress reminds us of the complete trustworthiness of scripture, and the importance of remembering historical, narrative context. As Christians, we are called to trust God and His written word. If we find what appears to be a contradiction, our first response should be to remember that the problem lies not with the text, but with us.
As mentioned, the second half of the book focuses on logic and a handful of specific examples of gospel problem texts – such as The Rich Young Ruler and Blind Bartimaeus. This section is useful and interesting as a reference tool to study specific texts. However, for me, the deep value of the book is found in the principles.
I highly recommend Poythress’ book to all Christians. Defending the inerrancy of scripture is not a hard task when we have the right tools and worldview to accompany it. Poythress’ principles to study the harmonization of the gospels are fantastic and worth the price of the book.