Truth and Power: The Place of Scripture in the Christian Life by J. I. Packer is a defense of the inerrancy of the Bible. It also offers many helpful insights that show how the Word speaks to our lives. The author presents seven points, each of which highlights an aspect of the approach that is critical for communion with Christ.
First, think of the Bible as a library, a collection of 66 separate pieces of writing. Their common purpose is to inform us about God and godliness and to draw us into a responsive life of faith. These books were written over a period of something like 1,500 years in a number of different cultures. The unity of their presentation of God and His ways is simply stunning.
Second, see the Bible as a landscape, that is, a panorama of human life. It is a people book, narrating stories of good and evil in the lives of some of the most vital, fascinating people you can imagine. As we read their stories, we learn a steady flow of lessons about right and wrong ways to live.
Third, look upon the Bible as a letter, a love letter addressed to you personally by the divine Lord. We take love letters very seriously, reading them over and over. Sometimes the writer’s words of love affect us so poignantly they take our breath away. If we read the Bible seriously as God’s love letter, this will be our experience time and time again.
Fourth, think of the Bible as a listening post, where you go to hear the voice of God. Our hearing of the specific things God has to say to us at this moment begins with our overhearing what He said to others long ago—to Israel, or to the disciples, or to the early Christians. Those who approach the Bible as their listening post and listen for God as they read it are made aware of particular things that God is saying to them about their relationship with Him.
Sixth, always approach Holy Scripture as a light. Psalm 119:105 states, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Walking by the light of Scripture is like walking by the shining of a flashlight. Beyond the little circle of vision that your flashlight gives you, the darkness remains, and it is through this continuing darkness that you travel. But Scripture enables you to see each next step you must take.
Seventh, the Holy Scripture should be to us a lifeline. A lifeline is a rope to which a drowning person clings while being pulled ashore. To people drowning in hopelessness, Bible truth comes as a lifeline. God throws this lifeline to us to ensure that we stay connected with Him while the rescue is in progress. The hope that the Scriptures bring us arrests and reverses the drowning experience here and now, generating inward vitality and renewed joy.
This review has been written primarily in J. I. Packer’s own words. My hope is that they have as much meaning for you as they have had for me.