The Inerrancy of Scripture

Posted on 22 Oct 2018, Speaker: Howard Katz

The Inerrancy of Scripture

 

  • The word inerrancy means “truth, wholly free from error.”

 

  • In regard to Scripture, inerrancy speaks of the Bible believing that each word inspired and recorded by its writers reflect word for word what God intended to convey to us.

 

 

Genesis 3:1-11 NKJV
1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make
one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
9 Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

Genesis 3:1 NKJV
1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

 

  • When the serpent first appeared to Adam and Eve the very first thing he did was question the Word God had given to Adam—“Has God indeed said …”

 

  • The serpent questioned God’s Word before He attacked God’s character.

 

 

4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.

 

  • After the serpent questioned God’s Word, he contradicted God’s Word given to Adam.

 

5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

 

  • After the serpent questioned God’s Word, he contradicted God’s Word. Then he attacked God’s character.

 

  • The serpent stated that God’s motivation was malicious and rooted in His desire to limit mankind, so they would be unable to think independently.
  • The serpent basically told Eve that they couldn’t trust God’s Word and that God’s Word would hinder them from finding joy, fulfillment, and truth.  The serpent stated that by obeying God’s Word they would be unable to know the difference between good and evil.

 

 

 

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

 

  • Eve began to rely on her physical senses and her own limited reasoning to determine what was good and what was evil, what was beneficial and what was destructive. This is what modern liberal “Christian” theologians do—they cherry pick Scripture, by dismissing the Bible where they think it is wrong or no longer relevant.

 

  • The problem with this approach is that there are many things we see only superficially or from a temporal perspective. Adam and Eve had no idea of the long term consequences, grief, loss, and death that would result from their single choice.

 

 

10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

 

  • God’s Word is protective not restrictive. When Adam and Eve rejected the protection of God’s Word, shame and fear enveloped them and instead of running to God for help they fled from God.

 

  • Why did Adam and Eve try to hide from God when they sinned?
  • Because they continued to believe the lies the serpent told them about God.

 

 

Genesis 3:21 NKJV
21 Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.

 

  • What was God’s response to Adam and Eve’s plight because of their sins?

 

  • God was moved with compassion and responded to their shame and fallen state by clothing them with tunics made of animal skins—a prophetic picture of what Jesus would ultimately do on the cross as He became the sin offering for all of mankind.

 

 

Revelation 20:1-2 NKJV
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;

 

  • While this cunning serpent appears near the beginning of the first book of the Bible—Genesis—the identity of this serpent is revealed near the end of the last book of the Bible—Revelation—to leave no doubt as to his true identity—the Devil and Satan.

 

2 Corinthians 11:3-4 NKJV
3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted-you may well put up with it!

 

  • Apostle Paul strongly warned believers not to allow the devil to deceive us as he deceived Eve. The serpent of old continues to want to undermine the authority of Scripture and to malign God’s character.

 

  • Although skeptics attack and mock the Bible and liberal “Christians” dismiss the authority of Scripture, there is another attack coming from within the evangelical movement and those who profess Christ as their Lord and Saviour that seeks to undermine the very foundation of our faith.
  • The subtle deception that is creeping into the Church is trying to shift our view of Scripture.
  • Instead of saying that the Bible is inerrant, they say things like “We believe the Bible is authoritative and inspired.”
  • While this may seem similar to inerrancy it contains a subtle but dangerous deviation. They say that the Scriptures contain truth, but that not all of the Bible is true or authoritative.
  • Once we say the Bible contains truth but is not totally true, than we can cherry pick passages or principles we agree with and discard those which we think are irrelevant, archaic, or just plain wrong.
  • Instead of the Bible becoming our authority we have become the authority over the Bible.
  • Every Christian denomination or church that watered down the truth of biblical inerrancy, within a few generations totally apostatized to the point of even denying Christ’s virgin birth and bodily resurrection. If we believe some Scripture is in error, it’s a small step to believing all Scripture is in error.
  • Some say the Bible is authoritative in areas that do not deal with science. What they really mean is that the first chapters of Genesis are inaccurate, unreliable, and not to be taken seriously.
  • While the Bible was not given to us as a scientific textbook, when the Bible makes statements about the natural world such as a young earth, a six day creation, and the world-wide flood, those claims are to be taken literally.

 

 

  • Why then are so many young people leaving the church:

 

  • What is the real reason young Christians (and other religious believers) are leaving the faith? The answer lies in a 2016 Pew Research Center survey which allowed respondents to answer in their own words. In this study, most people with no religious affiliation said they no longer identified with a religious group because they no longer believed the Bible was true. When asked why they didn’t believe, many said their views about God had “evolved” and some reported having a “crisis of faith.”

 

  • Many of their unanswered questions revolved around what they had been taught in school: millions of years of evolution, the improbability of Noah’s Ark, and the big bang theory.
  • Often, when they asked their parents or church leaders, they received unsatisfactory answers, not biblical truths.
  • If we can doubt and reinterpret Genesis, where do we stop doubting and reinterpreting?
  • Their specific explanations included the following statements:
  • “Learning about evolution when I went away to college.”
  • “Religion is the opiate of the people.”
  • “Rational thought makes religion go out the window.”
  • “Lack of any sort of scientific or specific evidence of a creator.”
  • “I just realized somewhere along the line that I didn’t really believe it.”
  • “I’m doing a lot more learning, studying and kind of making decisions myself rather than listening to someone else.”
  • Some well-known and well-meaning Christian apologists do a wonderful job defending the Christian faith and Christ’s virgin birth and bodily resurrection, but they shy away from a literal reading of the first chapters of Genesis and a young earth and a six day creation. They go so far as stating that such a position is an “embarrassment to the Gospel message.”
  • Possibly their motivation is to make the Gospel message and the Bible more reasonable or palatable to non-believers or skeptics. What they are really doing is sowing seeds that will reap a destructive harvest in this and future generations.
  • Evangelical Christians who hold a view of Scripture as authoritative and inspired but not inerrant even claim the Gospels contain discrepancies because they are not historically accurate, and contain errors or exaggerations.
  • They conclude that although not all Scripture is to be taken at face value, as long as the resurrection of Jesus Christ is true that’s all that matters.
  • When reading Jesus’ words it is very apparent that He believed in a literal six day creation and a literal Adam and Eve. Some who hold a less than literal and inerrant view of Scripture would say that since Jesus was both divine and human, in His humanity He was limited and mistaken in some of His beliefs.
  • They argue that Jesus was limited by His humanity and the cultural context of His times, and unaware of what modern science would discover in the future and that is why some of His beliefs were erroneous.
  • Such a position calls into question everything Jesus taught not to mention the omniscience of God!
  • Biblical inerrancy is the very cornerstone by which we can know truth and trust God’s Word.
  • Biblical inerrancy is holding to the belief that the words recorded in the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek are inspired and literally reflect what God intended.
  • How did Jesus Himself view the Scriptures and what did He think about biblical inerrancy?

 

 

Matthew 5:17-18 NKJV
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”

 

  • Jesus said that not “one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” Jesus not only believed that each word of Scripture was inspired, but even each letter and vowel!

 

John 10:35 NKJV
35 If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),

 

  • When addressing the murmuring of the Jewish religious leaders, Jesus quoted from Psalm 82 and declared the immutableness of God’s Word.

 

Psalm 12:6 NKJV
6 The words of the LORD are pure words, Like silver tried in a furnace of earth, Purified seven times.

Psalm 119:160 NKJV
160The entirety of Your word is truth.

 

  • Many Old Testament Scriptures testify to the purity and truth of God’s Word.

 

  • When studying biblical inerrancy there are two questions we must ask that will help us to answer this question.
  • First, were the biblical writers trustworthy teachers of doctrine?
  • Second, did the biblical writers believe in the doctrine of biblical inerrancy?
  • As Christians we can answer the first question in the affirmative because we trust the writings and teaching of the biblical writers. However, what was their view of biblical inerrancy?
  • In 2 Timothy 3:16, Apostle Paul makes a clear statement about Scripture.

 

 

2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

 

  • However, 2 Timothy 3:16 could be translated in two ways.

 

  • We could translate this verse as “every inspired Scripture is also profitable,” implying that some Scripture is not inspired, i.e., “only inspired Scripture is profitable.”

 

 

  • We could translate this verse as “every Scripture is inspired and profitable.” In that case, the inspiration of Scripture is directly asserted, in other words, Paul affirmed that all Scripture is inspired and inerrant and not just portions of Scripture.  

 

  • Dan Wallace, an American professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, when working on his master’s degree in the 1970s wrote his thesis on grammar on this one point in this one verse. He spent 1200 hours studying this and came to the unequivocal conclusion that it should be translated “every Scripture is inspired” signifying that Apostle Paul held that all of Scripture was inspired and inerrant.  

 

Acts 1:15-16 NKJV
15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said,
16 “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus;

Acts 3:17-18 NKJV
17 “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers.
18 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.

 

  • The language that Peter employed in both Acts 1 and Acts 3 indicates that he viewed the prophesies recorded in the Scriptures as not merely concepts from God, but literally His words which He spoke through His prophets. Peter believed Scripture was inerrant, and that every word had weight and meaning.

 

2 Peter 1:19-21 NKJV
19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;
20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,
21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

 

  • Apostle Peter reinforced the truth that the prophetic words of Scripture were not written by mere men trying to convey thoughts and ideas that God had given them. Peter believed that what they wrote down came directly from the Holy Spirit. “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

 

  • Peter also believed that because the Scriptures came directly through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that only through the Holy Spirit are we able to understand and interpret them correctly. “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,”
  • Peter warned against private interpretation. The Greek word for “interpretation” means to “unloose something; to untie; to explain.” Only through the Holy Spirit are we able to properly understand and unravel the secrets, meanings, and applications contained in God’s Word.
  • Some have objected to the inerrancy of the Bible because of the many different interpretations and conclusions people have reached when studying the Bible.
  • Just because we believe the Bible is inerrant does not mean our interpretation of every Scripture is inerrant. As we study the Bible we must humbly and diligently ask that God will reveal through His Holy Spirit the true meanings and applications contained in His Word.   
  • The Bible states “For we know in part and we prophesy in part.” (1 Corinthians 13:9). This fact should keep us humble, teachable, and always seeking to have the Holy Spirit open God’s Word to us in greater and clearer ways so we can properly understand His Word.
  • If each word in the original text is not inspired, then the authority of Scripture is lost and people are free to interpret Scripture from their own personal viewpoint and even to decide what portions of Scripture are authoritative and inspired and what portions of Scripture are irrelevant and simply the opinions of the writers.
  • Those who reject the doctrine of biblical inerrancy say that we need to interpret the Bible from the perspective that the writers of the Bible were limited by their culture, superstitions, experiences, and faulty perception of how the natural world operated.

 

 

2 Peter 3:16 NKJV
16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

 

  • Some people will distort and twist God’s Word to try to make it say things totally contrary to what is meant to justify their own perverse ways or opinions.

 

  • Just because some people choose to twist God’s Word does not mean it is not inerrant. It simply means some people are unstable and untaught.
  • In the past, skeptics dismissed the Bible by saying that it was rooted in mythology and that the names of people, places, and events were simply fabricated. However, in the last 150 to 200 years archeologists have discovered the very places, peoples, events, and rulers named in the Bible.
  • Even modern day archeology concedes that the Bible describes real places and real people and is useful in locating these places.
  • Thus the historicity of the Bible has been confirmed.
  • The plethora of prophecies contained in the Bible and their fulfillment also points to the inerrancy of Scripture.
  • The birth of the modern State of Israel was prophesied over 2000 years ago and what seemed totally impossible was fulfilled in 1948!
  • The vast numbers of New Testament manuscripts confirm and validate that what the writers of the Bible penned is accurately reflected in the Bibles we have today. There may be some question as to specific words or verses, but nothing that affects our beliefs or theology.
  • Through the ages, God has preserved His Word!
  • The power of the Bible to bring about changed and transformed lives to those who are willing to read it, believe it, study and apply it to their lives testifies to the inerrancy of Scripture.
  • How then is the serpent of old causing even some evangelicals to question the inerrancy of Scripture?

 

 

2 Timothy 4:3-4 NKJV
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;
4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

 

  • One reason some evangelicals have strayed away from the straightforward reading of Scripture is because they have been influenced by modern social norms which have redefined everything from sexuality, to marriage, to morality. “but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears.”

 

  • This leads them to seek and promote teachings that support their unbiblical beliefs even at the expense of excluding some Scriptures or adding beliefs that are totally foreign to the Bible. “they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”

 

 

Deuteronomy 4:1-2 NKJV
1 Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you.
2 You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

 

  • God warned Israel not to add to God’s word or to take from God’s Word. “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it.”

 

 

  • The Rabbis and Jewish religious leaders were guilty of both.

 

  • They added their man-made traditions to God’s word which placed unnecessary burdens on the people, making it seem impossible to please God. It also caused God to appear frivolous in His demands. “that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”
  • In the same act of adding to God’s Law they also took away from God’s Word because their traditions obscured the true purpose of the Law which was to reveal Jesus and the salvation that is obtained through faith in Him alone.

 

 

Romans 3:21-23 NKJV
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

 

  • When we as believers add our own interpretations and extra-biblical material to our doctrine, we are adding to God’s Word to justify our own personal beliefs and preferences. In doing so, we distort the clear truth of Scripture.

 

  • When we as believers take from God’s Word to support our own personal beliefs and preferences we lose precious truths that are essential to living holy and overcoming lives.
  • When we add to God’s Word or take from God’s Word it results in losing the true and central purpose of God’s Word—the centrality of Jesus Christ and the perfection of God’s plan of salvation and redemption.
  • There is a second reason that some evangelicals reject the inerrancy of Scripture: a clear reading of the first few chapters of Genesis and miracles, such as Jonah being swallowed by a huge fish—and living to tell the tale.
  • To a naturally minded person these miracles seem absurd, so people seek a more naturalistic reading of Scripture, even if that means reinterpreting or jettisoning some Bible passages.

 

 

1 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV
14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

 

  • We can observe this same problem in Jesus’ day in regard to the Sadducees.

 

  • The Sadducees believed there was no resurrection because in their minds there were too many difficulties and problems that could not be explained if there was a resurrection.

 

 

“The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him” (Matthew 22:23a).

 

  • To prove their point, the Sadducees posed a question to Jesus to show the absurdity of a belief in the resurrection.

 

“Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.” (Matthew 22:24-28).

 

  • Jesus pointed out the reasons the Sadducees failed to believe in the resurrection:

 

  • They failed to understand the straightforward teaching of the Scriptures although they prided themselves in being students of the Law.
  • They had no idea of the power and wisdom of God that transcended anything that mortal man could conceive.

 

 

“Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.”” (Matthew 22:29).

 

  • Jesus pointed out the problem with the Sadducees: they were trying to fit God’s Word into their limited paradigm and earthly experiences, not realizing that God’s ways are infinitely greater than ours.

 

“For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.” (Matthew 22:30).

 

  • Jesus summarized His explanation to the Sadducees with one simple verse categorically affirming the resurrection and exposing their failure to trust in the inerrancy and authority of Scripture.

 

“But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying,  “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”” (Matthew 22:31-32).

 

  • The debate that had raged for many years between the Pharisees and the Sadducees regarding the resurrection was resolved by one simple verse of Scripture resulting in the people being filled with amazement.

 

“And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.” (Matthew 22:33).

 

  • When we do not muzzle God’s Word but allow it to be our authority and speak to us, many answers we are seeking become clear.

 

  • Some struggle to believe that God could inspire the writers of the Bible so that every word they wrote was inspired by God and reflect exactly word for word what God intended to have recorded.
  • Many would question some of the apparent discrepancies found in Scripture as proof that the Bible is not inerrant. However, many of these apparent discrepancies are resolved when the Holy Spirit reveals the correct interpretation or secrets found in His Word.
  • Other apparent discrepancies we may still not understand but this does not mean that the Bible cannot be trusted to be inerrant. There are still many things we simply do not know or understand. That is where faith bridges the gap.

 

 

  • The reason I shared this testimony, besides the amazing things that God did, is because it underlines that God has no difficulty in having someone expressing God’s very words through someone, although the speaker hasn’t the slightest idea what he is saying.

Acts 2:1-11 NKJV
1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.
6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.
7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?
8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?
9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretans and Arabs-we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

 

  • In light of our own experiences with the Holy Spirit, it is not difficult to believe the second chapter of Acts. In fact, that event seems quite reasonable and believable.

 

  • When we look at the evidence that a wonder-working God has given us from the historicity of the Bible, to the supernatural evidence of God working in our lives, to the life changing message of the Gospel, we can rest our confidence in the authority, inspiration, and inerrancy of Scripture.

 

 

Translate »