Is the Bible without error? In light of our question last week, “Is the Bible the Word of God,” this question of inerrancy must be our next question, as our answer from last week will determine our answer this week. That being said, I will be reasoning out this new question from the affirmative of our last question, in that I do believe the Bible is the word of the living God, for reasons both external (the thrust of my column last week) and reasons internal (my sense after being born-again that God has spoken in the Scriptures.)
So, is the Bible inerrant? Yes, and it’s only reasonable to believe so.
Before we look at what the Scriptures say about themselves, think about it for a moment. First, believing in a Holy-loving God that speaks and has revealed Himself through the written Scriptures, we know Him to be omnipotent (all-powerful), who by His eternal nature is immutable, meaning He cannot change (Psalm 102:25-27; James 1:157). Furthermore, He is completely just and good, unable to lie or mislead (Numbers 23:19).
Thus, the only reasonable explanation to draw about the nature of the Scriptures, since the Scriptures are inspired by such a God as this, is that they must be (though they were communicated via man’s hand) the exact word He intended to communicate, being then without errors. Stated simply, if the Scriptures are truly inspired by God, they are inerrant. For, the two — inspiration and inerrancy — are forever linked by the nature of God.
This doctrine of inerrancy has been the unwavering consensus of the faith since the first piece of Scripture was written. Actually, it was not until the modern age that the inerrancy of the Scriptures was called into questioned. But what do the Scriptures say about themselves?
We see through their writing that both the Apostle Paul and Peter upheld the doctrine of inspiration and inerrancy. When Paul writes to the church in Thessalonica, he joyfully states that the people who heard his preaching did not accept it as a “word from men, but as what it really is, the word of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Likewise, Peter acknowledges and trusts that the Scriptures are written by men inspired by God. He explains this mystery of inspiration, writing, “no prophesy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophesy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). Other New Testament writers affirm this trust in the written word, as well.
Like Paul and Peter, the anonymous author of Hebrews affirms the inspiration and inerrancy of the Old Testament scriptures, declaring that both the written work of David (quoting poetry) and Jeremiah (prophesy) was spoken by the Holy Spirit through them (Hebrews 3:7; 4:7; 10:15-17). The author of Hebrews thus recognizes their varied writings as scripture and completely trustworthy (inerrant) because it comes from such a God. Peter affirms this reasoning in his own writing, acknowledging the writings of Paul as scripture because of his inspiration from God (2 Peter 3:16).
But it is Paul who gives this reasoning succinct words of clarity, boldly stating that “all scripture is breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16). The scriptures, themselves, claim to be inspired and, therefore, inerrant. To believe such, is to hold the scriptures in the high regard they demand.
The people of God have always held a high view of scripture. In fact, Jesus, himself, held the scriptures in such a high regard that he believed they could never be wrong, stating, “the scriptures cannot be broken” (John 10:35). Furthermore, Jesus upheld biblical narratives highly questioned by scholars and scientists of the modern era as accurate history, such as the creation (Matthew 19:4) and Jonah in the belly of the whale (Matthew 12:38-40, Luke 11:29-30).
Jesus, like His followers, also believed the Bible to be inspired and inerrant because of the importance of its purpose, to lead us to repentance and faith for salvation (John 5:37-47). Will you?
Will you believe the Bible to be God’s word to you — God speaking to you across the millennia through prophets and apostles, kings and fishermen to give you the knowledge of Him who desires to save you?
If you have any questions about this answer, the Christian faith, or want to know how to become a Christian, please email me! Until next week, God bless.
(Jeremy Breland of Ruffin is associate pastor of Ruffin Baptist Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)