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Monday, March 07, 2016


"You know, the inerrancy of Scripture is not in the Bible," they'll tell you. Really? Oddly enough, many of those at war with biblical inerrancy consider themselves not only followers of Christ, but Christ-focused. So it's odd that they appear to have missed biblical inerrancy from the lips of Christ. It was Jesus who said, "Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35), which, read in context, does not mean "inviolable", but "inerrant". And it follows logically. (Scripture claims not to be merely inspired, but "God-breathed" (2 Tim 3:16-17). That is, not "inhaled" by man ("inspire"), but "exhaled" by God.) If it is God who breathed it into human writers, if these writers were "carried along by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21), then we're resting not on the veracity of human writers, but on the God who breathed it, the Spirit who carried it, the faithfulness of the Almighty. He is infallible and inerrant. The Word He breathed would have to be, too.

Part of the problem occurs in our failure to grasp the claim. We're not saying that it is inerrant in its precision. For instance, when Mark wrote that "the whole city was gathered together at the door" (Mark 1:33), we aren't looking at precision. We're looking at a representation of truth. Lots and lots of people were there. Nor are we referring to the problem of language. Time, culture, and comprehension all cause shifts. Copy errors, additions or subtractions, things happen that affect the texts we have. We understand more or less, better or worse. An industrial culture, for instance, might not comprehend the farm culture references as well as a farm culture would. The "inerrancy" claim is for the original texts, and to the extent that we grasp the original texts, we have inerrancy. Nor does inerrancy exclude the usage of language. Did Jesus say, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Yes, yes He did. Did God actually forsake Him? Not the point. The point was capturing the sense of Christ on the cross, not a statement of fact. Inerrancy, then, says that the Bible expresses truth in its original texts without error. Our job is to figure out what that is ... as opposed to correcting some supposed error.

You'll hear that "inerrancy" is not a biblical doctrine and, therefore, a man-made one. It is "man-made" indeed if you consider it from the lips of the man, Jesus Christ. And, sure, human logic from the faithfulness of God (biblical) regarding the "exhaled by God" nature of Scripture (biblical) and the impact of the Holy Spirit on the writers (biblical) to the reliability of the Bible might be considered "man-made", but it would appear to me to be impossible to avoid as well. John Frame said that biblical inerrancy is "a place to live." Not proposition, not a claim, certainly not "recent", but a doctrine that shapes our lives and thinking, the structures our ways of understanding everything, that establishes truth and provides commonality among believers. Oh, and least Jesus thought it was true, even if some of His "followers" disagree.


Alec said...

...a doctrine that shapes our lives and thinking...structures our ways of understanding everything...establishes truth and provides commonality among believers

Well stated.

Stan said...

I continue to be amazed that people who consider themselves Christians and even "love the Word" deny inerrancy or the reliability of the Word.

Alec said...

It scares me. For them.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I'm seeing the denial of inerrancy from "Christians" too often any more, and one has to wonder how few of us -- those holding to inerrancy -- will be left by the time the Lord returns.

Stan said...

"If those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. ... For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect." (Matt 24:22, 24)

Glenn, you're right. The forecast is ... dark.

David said...

I guess that would be another sign of the coming conclusion. He will return before the Bible is completely dismissed. And that doesn't seem like too many more generations.