The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible: The Source of Its Authority (Part Four: Inerrancy)

There were several passages that made it difficult for the young man to see anything but inerrancy as the Bible’s view of itself.

In Matthew 5:18 Jesus proclaimed, “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”  How could Jesus make such a claim for the Old Testament if there were inaccuracies in it.  If even the smallest part of a letter could not fail, in Jesus’ opinion, He must have believed in a Bible free from error. 

That Jesus did believe this seemed demonstrated in John 10:30-36.  When he claimed to be one with the Father, the Jews got ready to stone Him, “because,” they said, “you, a mere man, claim to be God” (v.33).  Jesus quoted Psalm 82:6, where it calls Israel’s obedient leaders “gods.”  He argued that since the Scriptures called them gods, and the Scripture couldn’t be broken, they had no right to condemn Him for saying He was the Son of God.  Jesus’ whole argument rested on the accuracy of one word.

Paul did the same thing in Galatians 3:16.  He argued that the promise of God was not made to Abraham’s seeds (plural), but to his seed (singular), who is ultimately Christ.  How could Paul argue on the basis of one word unless he viewed the Bible as without error?

For the writers of the New Testament it seemed the Scriptures could be identified with the perfect God Himself.  What was true of Him as to inerrancy was true also of His words in Scripture.  It was common to say that God had said something in the Old Testament when it was the human author who said it (Matthew 19:4,5 referring to Genesis 2:24).  It could be said that the Holy Spirit used someone’s mouth to speak Scripture (Acts 1:16).  Conversely, they could write that the Scriptures said something that God said (Romans 9:17).  The Scriptures and God were completely identified and viewed as one.

This was because the writers of Scripture, who were always intellectually active in receiving and writing God’s revelation, were nevertheless completely controlled by God in what they wrote.  As Peter said, they were “carried along” by the Holy Spirit as a ship is borne along by the current (2 Peter 1:21).  And it was not just certain Scriptures which had this quality, but “all Scripture” was “God-breathed” and so was profitable for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

 Though perhaps God could use an errant Bible, how could His people know which parts were errant and which were authoritative?  It would be up to the judgment of each individual.  It was unlikely that such a Bible would long have steered the church on a true course.  No, the young man felt sure that he must accept the Biblical doctrine of inspiration.  The Bible contained no errors.

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