Three critical pillars support confidence in Scripture’s reliability, the first of which is inerrancy.
A fundamental feature of inerrancy that needs to be embraced is infallibility. This means that the Scriptures are exempt from error; they are unfailing. Not only are they without error (inerrancy), but they are also unable to err (infallibility).
Since the Bible’s source is God, its truthfulness, accuracy, and inerrancy are anchored in the character of God. The God who breathed out the Word (inspiration) is true; He cannot lie (Titus 1:2). The Son of God who brought truth to the remembrance of New Testament writers is Truth (Jn 14:6). The Holy Spirit of God, the Agent in inspiration, is the Spirit of Truth (1 Jn 5:6-7).
Inerrancy applies to the original writings (autographs). All copies will contain some weaknesses, even small errors due to transmission and translation difficulties. Yet we know that over 99% of the original manuscripts said. We believe in errorless originals, which can be reproduced accurately by comparing manuscripts (textual criticism). To recognize errors in modern translation is to admit the frailty of copyists and translators who were not inspired by the Holy Spirit as the Prophets and Apostles were. With that said and to be clear, there are no doctrines that have been compromised. To the extent that our modern translations represent the originals, we have a sure word from God.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…” (2 Tim 3:16). Scripture (graphe) referred to all known Scripture (cf. Lk 24:25-27, 44-45). Inspiration (theopneustos) is used only once and may mislead people’s thinking if they are not cautious. The word could better be understood as “expired” or “out-breathed”. The words of Scripture came from a source apart from those who wrote them down. God breathed out the very words of Scripture. In the Old Testament, this word speaks of God’s actual breath (cf. Gen 2:7; Job 33:4).
The writers had characteristics common to all people created in God’s image.
They had the ability to communicate the pattern of their thoughts after His. Furthermore, they had unique perspectives prepared in advance by divine providence:
- Writing Scripture was no last-minute whim. God in His eternal plan directed each writer’s life so that the Prophet or Apostle He chose would be exactly who He wanted.
- God gave each writer His own unique perspective. Each one was influenced by the time, place, heredity, and education He received.
- Their life situations were superintended as God provided for their material needs and protected them from sinful disqualification. Finally, He saw fit to call them into their particular ministries.
Rather than looking for supernatural acts of God in preserving His inspired Word, we must embrace God’s providential guidance in the process.
Many Christians and churches verbally affirm that the Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. However, in reality, people evidence that it is not the final authority in their lives. The sufficiency of Scripture is attacked in numerous man-made ways:
- Psychology equals man’s wisdom.
- Church growth’s pragmatism equals man’s methods.
- Feelings equals man’s experience.
So, what does Scripture teach about its own sufficiency? It equips for every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17). It provides everything needed for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). It is perfect, fully orbed, complete, with no omission…resulting in renewal and transformation of the whole person (Ps 19:7a). It is trustworthy…giving skill for the living (Ps 19:7b). It is right…bringing rejoicing to the heart (Ps 19:8a). It is pure…giving light to the eyes, guiding man’s ways, and making sense of nonsense (Ps 19:8b). It is clean, without error…enduring forever, timeless, and limitless (Ps 19:9a). It is true…bringing forth comprehensive righteousness (Ps 19:9b).
Since the Bible is without error and without the possibility of error, it is given by God for what man is to believe and obey, it should fill the heart and life of every Christian. Man should seek wisdom in the Scriptures alone as he studies and obeys it for the glory of God.
- Sola Scriptura: The Protestant Position on the Bible by Don Kistler
- Seven Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible by Erwin Lutzer
- How Readest Thou? By J. C. Ryle
- Unleashing God’s Word in Your Life & Why Believe the Bible? By John MacArthur
- The Inerrant Word by John MacArthur
- The Scripture Cannot Be Broken by John MacArthur
- Inerrancy by Norman Geisler
- Biblical Authority by John Woodbridge
- Fundamentalism and the Word of God by J. I. Packer
- The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible by B. B. Warfield