Each week we want to share a word of encouragement and offer some resources from like-minded believers for your profit. These articles are available in print upon request.
The Inerrant Word of God
Last week, eight of us from MBC spent four days at the Shepherd’s Conference hosted by Grace Community Church and The Master’s Seminary. Attending were over 4500 men from every state in the US and 70 countries around the world. At stake in this historic conference was the issue of Biblical inerrancy, namely that the Bible is fully true in all that it affirms, including doctrine, morality, history, and science.
Why have a conference on Biblical inerrancy? Because attacks on the Bible, both from within and without the church, are numerous and have always occurred. Paul warned in Acts 20 that savage wolves would come from within the church, speaking perverse things to draw away God’s people. Peter also warned about the dangers of false teachers who secretly introduce destructive heresies into the body of Christ. For this reason, Jude urges us to “contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
It should not surprise us, then, that there are a number of attacks upon the inerrancy, authority, infallibility, and sufficiency of the Scriptures today. This comes in the form of those who want to do away with Scripture as an outdated book, or those who claim the sufficiency of the Word of God in their life but then deny that claim by looking for extra-biblical revelations, or those who even use the Bible to justify so-called “same sex marriage.” These, and many more, contemporary attacks on the Word of God demonstrate the need to stand firm on the fact that the Scriptures are totally without error in the original and are, therefore, fully sufficient for all matters of faith and practice.
To that end, let me offer four defenses for the inerrancy of Scripture to aid you in your ability to stand firm on it and to bolster your confidence in the Word of God:
- The Bible’s Teaching on Inspiration Argues for Inerrancy – Paul declared that “all Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Timothy 3:16) and Peter stated that “no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20-21). As both of those biblical writers make clear, the Scriptures are the very “breathed out” words of God, the communication of God given through the superintending work of the Holy Spirit. Thus, as the Word of God itself, it contains no error.
- The Bible’s Teaching Concerning its Own Authority Argues for Inerrancy – Jesus Himself declared the authority of the Scripture when he said “until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:18). Additionally, in John 10:35, Jesus stated that “the Scripture cannot be broken.” Such assertive affirmations clearly demonstrate that the Word of God contains no errors and is completely trustworthy.
- The Way in Which Scripture Uses Scripture Argues for Inerrancy – There are instances where the whole argument of a passage rests on a single word (see John 10:34-35). There are instances where the entire argument depends on the tense of a verb (see Matthew 22:32). There are instances where the point of a passage depends on a singular word instead of a plural one (see Galatians 3:16).
- The Bible’s Teaching Concerning the Character of God Argues for Inerrancy – The truthfulness of Scripture cannot be separated from the truthfulness of God’s character. God is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19; see also Titus 1:2). So, to say that the Scriptures contain error is not only to impugn the character of the Word, but also to impugn the very character of God, namely to make Him a liar.
Such affirmations should boost our conviction that the Bible we hold in our hands is the very Word of God, inspired, infallible, and completely inerrant. As such, it should produce a number of practical effects in our lives:
- It should excite us to come on Sunday mornings and to small groups and to other teaching times ready to hear God speak to us from the pages of Scripture.
- It should drive us to personally read and study the Word of God on a regular basis to ensure that our thinking is brought in line with God’s thoughts.
- It should heighten our trust in God, knowing that not only is His Word trustworthy, but He Himself is worthy of our dependence and reliance on Him.
-Dr. Todd Dykstra, Teaching Pastor
Resources on the Inerrancy of Scripture:
- Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. In 1978 nearly 300 noted evangelical scholars signed this statement.
- Shepherds’ Conference 2015– Videos from the Shepherds’ Conference Inerrancy Summit are now available.
- The Inerrancy of Scripture in 3 parts: 5 Aspects, What it is and isn’t, and Objections and Consequences.
- Why Should We Believe in the Inerrancy of Scripture? Dealing with each part of the Bible.
Other Helpful Resources:
- 5 Simple Ways to Teach Your Kids Theology. It is never too early to rehearse the Gospel.
- 3 Sieves. “Let nothing be said about anyone unless it passes through the three sieves.” Our standard of gossip.
- Practical Theology for Women: The Centrality of the Word in Discipleship.
- Always being prepared to… what? 1 Peter 3:15-16 and defending the hope you have!