Book Review Words of Life

Timothy Ward, Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2009.

This is an excellent recent survey of the doctrine of Scripture. Ward is concise, readable, careful, and judicious. He does not simply restate that traditional evangelical doctrine but instead seeks to make explicit its biblical foundations. He also interacts with recent challenges to the doctrine. But this is not to say that Ward is innovative. While he does make use of recent theories about how language works, Ward also appreciatively draws on the wealth of previous theological giants who have formulated this doctrine: Calvin, Turretin, Warfield, and Bavinck.

I have only one major complaint about the book. In his section on sola scriptura, I find Ward overly dependent on Keith Mathison and Heiko Oberman’s inaccurate handling of the various views of tradition held throughout church history. He would have been better served by the categories found in Anthony Lane’s article, “Scripture, Tradition, and Church: An Historical Survey.” Vox Evangelica 9 (1975): 37-55. This one complaint, however, should not deter readers from reading this excellent  study on the doctrine of Scripture.

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (May 22, 2009)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830827442

Review written by Dr. Brian Collins and you can read his blog Exegesis and Theology.    This book is available at


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