Were the original authors of Scripture supposed to write their books in pencil?
In other words, are there errors in the Bible that need to be corrected?
It is my belief that Scripture is inerrant, which means that
Scripture never affirms anything that is false.
If you are like me, you don’t believe in the inerrancy of Scripture because you have worked through every alleged discrepancy in the entire Bible and found a satisfying answer for each one. So why should a Christian believe that Scripture is inerrant?
Two Arguments for Inerrancy
There are at least two arguments for inerrancy that I find convincing. The first argument comes from Norman Geisler:
Premise 1 seems to be a given for a Christian. In fact, Scripture explicitly says that “it is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18). But does the Bible claim to be the Word of God? There are many verses that deal with this, but the main text is 2 Timothy 3:16:
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
Here we have Paul claiming that all of Scripture is God-breathed, or inspired by God. Now it could be argued that this reference is only speaking about the Old Testament since the New Testament wasn’t completed yet. At least four passages, however, imply that the New Testament is also the Word of God.
First, Jesus promised the disciples that His teaching would continue through them. Jesus said,
“The Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:26-27).
Jesus affirms that the future teaching of the apostles (which would later be written down in the New Testament) comes directly from God.
Second, Paul claims that his own teaching is equal to the Word of God:
“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers” (1 Thess. 2:13).
Third, Paul quotes the Gospel of Luke as “Scripture” (1 Tim. 5:18; Luke 10:7).
Fourth, Peter calls the writings of Paul “Scripture” (2 Peter 3:15-16).
So far we see that the Bible claims to be the Word of God. And since God cannot err, the Bible cannot either.
Jesus’ View of Inerrancy
A second argument for inerrancy is based on Jesus’ view of Scripture. If Jesus, God incarnate, believed that Scripture is inerrant, then so should we. Jesus made at least four statements which taken together show that He believed in the inerrancy of Scripture:
1. “But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void” (Luke 16:17). The Scriptures are so sure and eternal that it is more probable for heaven and earth to vanish than the smallest part of the law to fail.
2. “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). Here Jesus affirms that Scripture is binding and indestructible.
3. “Everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44). In Jesus’ mind, the prophecies in the Old Testament must come true because Scripture can never be wrong.
4. “Your Word is truth” (John 17:17b). If God’s Word is truth, then surely none of it can be false.
In summary, I believe that the Bible is inerrant for two reasons. First, God always tells the truth and the Bible is God’s Word. Second, Jesus believed that Scripture is unbreakable and trustworthy in all that it affirms.
4 thoughts on “Scripture Wasn’t Written in Pencil: Inerrancy”
Reblogged this on Call to Witness.
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Good article. Typo alert: I believe you mean to say “If you are like me, you DO believe in the inerrancy of Scripture.”
Thanks for the comment! Well actually I was saying that although I believe in inerrancy, I didn’t come to believe in it by working through every difficulty in the Bible. And then I go about presenting two arguments on why Christians should believe in inerrancy even if they never worked through every possible discrepancy. So I affirm inerrancy but for those two reasons. But I may consider changing the wording if it confuses future readers. Thanks!
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Doh! Of course. Clearly I am tired 🙂