There are circles today in which it is fashionable to highlight the remoteness of the biblical world from ours and the problematical nature of the composition and background of the biblical books and, on this basis, to ask whether it can be wise or fruitful to expect ordinary Christians to be benefitted, as distinct from perplexed, by personal Bible reading.  Thus, for instance, D. E. Nineham writes: “It is, perhaps, a pity that the proposed new Anglican catechism appears to regard the private reading of the Bible as mandatory for every literate member of the Church.  Is that realistic. . .?”  This is a return to Erasmus, and the Reformers’ comment on it would certainly be the same as Luther’s to Erasmus: namely, that if you have eyes for Christ as the scopus of Scripture, according to its own testimony to itself, you will find that, just as the grace of the biblical Christ is relevant to you, so the essence of the biblical witness to Him is clear to you.  Millions of Bible-readers in the world today will testify that this is indeed so. – J. I. Packer (born on July 22, 1926)


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