Wednesday, October 10, 2012

From God’s Mind to Man’s Pen, Volume 1 by Sean Hochdorf, Editor

From God’s Mind to Man’s Pen, Volume 1:  Inspiration, Canonization, Transcription, Translation, Sean Hochdorf, Editor

This is a lectureship book from the 28th Annual West Visalia church of Christ Lectureship in West Visalia, CA conducted in 2007.  This is actually a two-volume set, but this review will focus on the first volume which deals with matters relating to the text of the Bible in four different, but interconnected, areas:  inspiration, canonization, transcription and translation.  Knowledge in each of these four areas is critical to effectively answer questions such as “How can we know the Bible is from God?”, “How do we know we have all the books of the Bible and that the ones we do have actually belong there?”  “How can we know that the Bible has been faithfully copied and transmitted to us over the centuries?” and “Can I rely on my English translation of the ancient languages of the Bible?”  All of these are highly relevant questions and ones which deserve serious attention.  This lectureship book does a fine job of explaining these matters in a straightforward manner that is not overly technical but does not sacrifice scholarship for simplicity. 

It appears the West Visalia congregation sought to conduct a very informative lectureship and if certain subjects were unable to fit the schedule, then the leadership sought qualified writers to write lectures for the book.  This makes the lectureship book even more informative than merely attending the lectures alone.  It is readily apparent that a lot of planning and detail work went into the making of this book.

There are excellent articles relating to evidences for the inspiration of the Scriptures, whether inspiration was at the “thought” or “word” level, and the impact of archaeology on the accuracy and inspiration of the Scriptures.  There are also excellent articles on whether or not the Catholic Church gave us the Bible and about other books by Gnostic writers.  Included are chapters dealing with matters such as the Received Text compared with the Critical Text, the difference between Higher and Lower Criticism and an excellent discussion about the full picture of those “copyists’ errors” that all would do well to read.  Included is a chapter by B. J. Clarke on whether or not Mark 16:9-20 belongs in the Bible or not that one will find informative.  These is also a review of some of the more reputable translations accepted among conservative scholars such as the KJV, NKJV, ASV, NASV, NIV, ESV and others. 

The articles are well written with extensive citations to follow-up with additional research for the dedicated student. Some of the subjects dealt with in this series of lectures are complex.  One may not agree with every point in any book on this scale of subject matter; however, From God’s Mind to Man’s Pen is a valuable research tool from a conservative viewpoint of the Scriptures for one’s study of the One who guided man’s hand in the writing of His word!

Originally printed in West Virginia Christian, Vol. 20, No. 1, January 2013, p. 8. Reprinted by permission.


James E. Snapp, Jr. said...


Could you share some extra details or quotations about what the author says about Mark 16:9-20? I have looked into this subject and noticed that a lot of writers have simply paraphrased the writings of Bruce Metzger on this subject, although Metzger's claims have quite a few shortcomings.

Yours in Christ,

James Snapp, Jr.

drkenney said...

I can tell you that B. J. Clarke has a chapter in the book entitled "Does Mark 16:9-20 Belong in the Bible?" If you read his article in Power, then you will have a good idea what he wrote here. He does discuss Bruce Metzger in the book. I think you will enjoy reading Clarke's analysis of the matter.