Saturday, January 25, 2020

WM 150: Resource: John Owen on Scripture

I have posted WM 150: Resource: John Owen on Scripture. Listen here.

In this WM I discuss a book I have recently complete under the title, John Owen on Scripture: Authority, Inspiration, Preservation from our publishing ministry, Trumpet Books, 2019. It is in paperback and is 157 pages in length.

The book is available to order here at, or if you search by the author name and title.

This book consists of three parts:

1.    An introductory essay on Owen’s Bibliology.
2.    An abridgement and simplification of Owen’s essay The Divine Original.
3.    An abridgement and simplification of Owen’s essay A Vindication.

If you attended the Text and Canon Conference in Atlanta back in October, you know that I made mention of this book project and suggested it would be of interest to anyone interested in the whole text and translation matters.

I read the two essays by Owen more than 15 years ago, and they were very influential in shaping my views on the text of Scripture and helping me to understand how the godly men of Owen’s age saw these things.

Some of you know that I completed a similar project back in 2012 for Grace Publications in their series Great Christian Classics. That work was titled Gospel Church Government and was an abridgement and simplification of Owen’s classic work on ecclesiology The True Nature of a Gospel Church and Its Government.

I started this new project around that time and have now added this introductory essay. The point is not for this book to replace reading Owen directly, but it is to serve as a supplement to it.

In this podcast I read my Introduction (pp. 1-13) to this work (without reading the footnotes) in hopes it might interest listeners to get the book and read the remainder of it.



Howie said...

Dr. Riddle,

Can't wait to read your new book!

Thanks for your varied work in pointing so many, as John Owen did in his day, to the settled nature of the sacred Scriptures, kept pure in all ages (not corrupted and reconstructed in all ages). I'm sure this book will be as excellent as your other writings and lectures; have just ordered several copies.

Blessings in Christ,


Jeffrey T. Riddle said...

Thanks for your encouragement Howie! Hope you are well.

Grace, JTR

Howie said...

Dr. Riddle,

Having just finished your new book, John Owen on Scripture -- thanks and kudos. A few of my favorite lines from it:

According to Owen, the authority of the Bible comes not through the witness of the church but through the witness of the Holy Spirit... Owen held that the original autographs (autographa) of Scripture has been allowed by God to perish, the Bible has been faithfully and fully preserved, in God's all-wise providence, in the existing copies (apographa)... Owen did not advocate scholarly reconstruction of the original autographa of the text of the Bible. Instead, he held to the providential preservation of the Bible in the apographa... (as reflecting) the views put forward in chapter one in the Westminster Confession of Faith. He did not suggest that the text of Scripture was preserved through scholarly reconstruction but through divine preservation (pg. 5, 6, 12, 13); Riddle.

"...the Word has come to us from God without any mixture of error or fault is the foundation for everything else (pg. 21)...both the doctrine contained in it and the words by which this doctrine is delivered are wholly his. What the doctrine and words speak, God himself speaks (p.27)... (and that) Scripture, the Word of God, is is a 'a light shining in a dark place' (2 Peter 1:19)...Now, this light in the Scripture is nothing but the beaming of the majesty, truth, holiness, and authority of God, given to and left on it by its author, the Holy Spirit" (pg. 45,48); Owen

" has come about that every minor variation from the received text in word, syllable, or tittle has been imposed upon us as a variant reading...simply creat(ing) a temptation in the reader that nothing is left sound and entire in the word of God (pg. 96, 97)... (yet it) quickly become(s) apparent how few real variants there are in the copies of the Greek New Testament and how these do nothing to weaken in any measure my former assertions about the care and providence of God in the preservation of his word" (pg. 101); Owen

"As regards supposed corruptions, I only wish that learned men would abstain from insinuations, unless they are able to support them by instances. They do not speak against mistakes in copies, which come by the errors of scribes or printers. There is no need of men's critical abilities to correct such mistakes. Other copies are there to provide that relief. They make insinuations about the text (pg. 155)...if this kind of liberty be once given to look upon the Scriptures as if they are corrupted and can be amended at the pleasure of men, I do not know how we can stop before we come to the bottom of questioning the whole Scripture" (pg. 156); Owen

A worthy, edifying, and "accessible Owen" read!

Blessing in Christ,


Jeffrey T. Riddle said...


Thanks so much for taking the time to read the Owen book and for offering this feedback and these citations. Much appreciated.


hefin said...

Dr. Riddle

Is your introductory essay available independently of the modernisation?


Hefin Jones

Jeffrey T. Riddle said...

Hi Hefin,

No, the article is not in print outside of the book. If you send me a request by email, however, I'll send you a copy of the article:


hefin said...

Dear Dr, Riddle

Thanks for that kind offer. I'll email you.


Dr AH Bogaards said...

Dear dr Riddle,

I wrote an email to you at this email:

I want to get your book on John Owen and Scripture, but I do not know how. The postal service in South Africa is real bad.

Things are already for decades very bad for ministers like me. The last to Bible Translations is based on the UBS/NA text. I am using the KJV, the Dutch Statenvertaling and ou Afrikaans Old Translation (1933/1954) which used the Textus Receptus.

In Christ
AH Bogaards