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Inerrancy

October 18, 2008

Having touched on the topic of inerrancy, I want to explain more specifically what I mean by that.

A belief in the inerrancy of scriptures is reasonable based on evidence. God has given us several kinds of evidence, including:

  • Creation. The very existence of ourselves and everything around us teaches us that there must have been a creator
  • Design. The intricate design of nature tells us there must have been a designer.
  • Prophecy.Verifiable historical events were predicted long before they came to pass.
  • The resurrection of Christ. Witnesses to the resurrection refused to deny it even to the point of martyrdom. Note that the very word martyr comes from the Greek word for witness. The words Paul wrote to the Corinthian church could be confirmed by the members of that church, since many of the witnesses were still alive at the time. Their testimony is emphatically confirmed by their willingness to give up their lives rather than recant their testimony.

Many books have been written laying out the reasons to accept those astonishing pieces of evidence. I won’t attempt to provide in-depth proof here. That evidence provides a basis for believing there is a God, and that God is the source of the Bible.

The resurrection of Christ is pivotal for the rest of the argument. Because God affirmed Christ in this dramatic way, we should pay careful attention to what Jesus said, and particularly to how he used the scriptures. Consider the following examples:

Jesus used the scriptures as the authority on what is right and what is wrong:

Mat_4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

Mat_21:13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

Jesus affirmed that what is prophesied in scripture will always be fulfilled:

Mat_26:24 The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

Mat_26:31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

Mar_7:6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;

Luk_24:46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,

Mat_26:54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”

Mat_26:56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”

Mar_14:49 Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.”

Jesus rebuked those who had not learned from the scriptures:

Mat_21:42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

Mat_22:29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.

Jesus attributed God and the Holy Spirit as the source of what the prophets wrote:
Matt 22: 31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God:
Matt 22:32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”

Matt 22:43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,
Matt 22:44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’?

Jesus clearly was referring to Old Testament scripture in the above examples. But Jesus also told the apostles that he would send the Holy Spirit to give them the message of truth:

John 14:25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you.

John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

The apostle Peter (affirmed above by Jesus as one whom the Spirit would guide into all truth) confirms that Paul’s writings are to be treated as equal to the rest of scripture:

2 Peter 3:15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,
2 Peter 3:16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

Peter also taught how we should regard scripture:

2 Pet 1:19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,
2 Pet 1:20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.
2 Pet 1:21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Peter, as well as Jesus, treated the scriptures as the final word on a given subject. He warned in the passages above against distorting the scripture, deviating from the true meaning of what was originally written. God said what he meant, and meant what he said.

Based on the evidences previously cited, we know that God created the world, that he sent Jesus with a crucial message for mankind, and that he proved it by raising Jesus from the dead. Knowing that, we also know that God has both the power and the will to preserve that message for future generations. We have the message, preserved exactly as God intended for us to have it. To believe otherwise is to doubt God himself.

So the authority of scripture is firmly established. We are therefore expected to obey the scriptures we possess today as the very words of God.

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