Short Answers: a book review

Clinton Arnold is a New Testament scholar and the dean of Talbot School of Theology at Biola. I have appreciated his writing on ‘the powers,’ his commentaries (especially his Power and Magic: the Concept of Power in Ephesians), and his work on the Zondervan Bible Background Commentary. Jeff Arnold teaches high school, is a former youth pastor, and the creator of Unleashed (an intensive training program for Christian teens). The Arnolds have teamed up to produce Short Answers to Big Questions about God, the Bible and ChristianityIn the spirit and vein of Josh McDowell’s classic Answers to Tough Questions, Short Answers examines the questions many unbelievers, new believers and young people ask.

The Arnolds tackle fifty questions ranging from the reliability, inspiration and relevance of the Bible, the problem of evil, the nature of faith and doubt, angels and demons, the after life, the nature of God, Jesus and the Spirit, and how to cultivate your relationship with God. The questions are topically arranged making this more of a quick reference book for particular questions than a cover-to-cover book of theology.

This is a simple and practical resource which I think would be perfect for a muture high school student or a young college student. These are short answers to big questions, which means it doesn’t answer these questions comprehensively. There is a great deal more that could be said for any number of the issues covered here. But these answers are a good start and sometimes we don’t need to have a definitivie and final answer when we face various questions. We just need to know that there are answers. In their preface, Clinton and Jeff Arnold state, “Short Answers is not meant to be the end of your study; rather, it’s the beginning. Let this be the springboard for you to dive into the deep ocean that is understanding God” (17).

And a springboard is what this book is. With intelligent and pastorally sensitive answers the Arnolds make a good case for the reality and reliabilty of the God described in the Bible and insights on how to cultivate our relationship with him I give this book four stars.

Note: I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

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