Inspiration and Incarnation is one of Peter Enns’ older titles and I’ve discovered I prefer his older books to his more recently published ones. He seems to have more faith in the accuracy of the biblical stories in 2005 when the book was first published.
In this book, Enns focusses on three issues:
1. The Old Testament and other literature from the ancient world – why does much of the Old Testament look like other ancient literature.
2. Theological diversity in the Old Testament – why do different parts of the Old Testament say different things about the same issue?
3. The way in which the New Testament authors handled the Old Testament – often it looks like they are taking verses out of context.
These issues are summarised as: The Bible’s uniqueness, integrity and interpretation.
One of Enns’ main points is that when God interacts with our world he does so in ways that made sense to people in their culture in their time. God accommodates and condescends to meet us where we are. Therefore, the world view of the biblical authors must be taken into consideration in matters of biblical integrity and interpretation.
Many of the customs in the ancient world weren’t God’s design (eg Abraham sleeping with Hagar), they were simply part of the culture. Most ancient cultures had multiple gods, laws, priests, sacrifices and a temple. The point of God’s laws was to give Israel an identity as a nation with a relationship with the One, true God. God took what was common and used it for a special purpose.
The book is easy to read and understand. I particularly found his historical understanding of ancient cultures helpful and insightful as it applied to the biblical context.
Overall, a helpful read.