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Inerrancy Of The Bible

by Dr. Paul Lee Tan (1/10/00)

 

     The inerrancy of the Bible has generally been accepted among evangelicals...until the 1950's, together with the rise of the New Evangelical movement.  By inerrancy, we are of course dealing with the accuracy of the "original ("first copy") manuscripts of the Bible.

I. Biblical Basis of Inerrancy

     (1) "II TIMOTHY 3:16  

     The word "theopneustos" in this verse does not mean "inspired of God."  It speaks only of a inspiring" or "spiration.”

     In other words, Scripture is not a book breathed "into by God, but is actually God breathing out.”.  It is the product of the Divine breath, out(c)spiring through Its human authors.

     We believe in "Verbal, Plenary Inspiration of the Bible, that is "every word, every part" of cripture is inspired and without error.

     (2) "II PETER 1:19-21

     This verse stresses the Divine trustworthiness of the Scripture.  Peter said that the Scripture does not come from "private interpretation," or the writer's own thinking process.

     But men spoke from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit.  Here is used the word "borne." It is not merely guide, direct, control or lead; it means to be conveyed under the Bearer's power (see Acts 27:15).  And this was why the "prophetic Word" is so sure.

     (3) "JOHN 10:34

     This further stresses the extent of inerrancy: the entire Scripture.  When accused of blasphemy, Jesus appealed to an obscure and least expected portion of Scripture (Psalm 82:6).

     As far as Christ was concerned, if "it is written" in Scripture, that settles it.

     Christ called the book of Psalms "the law" and added that it cannot be "broken."  This word "broken• is the common one for breaking the law or the Sabbath (John 5:18, Matt. 5:19).

     According to our Saviour, the indefectible authority of Scripture attaches to the very form of expression of its most casual clauses, down to its most minute particulars.

II. Human Aspect of Scripture

     Dr. John C. Whitcomb writes: "God not only prepared the "material” which forms the subject matter of these [Bible] books, but also prepared the "men” to write these books, beginning with their remote ancestors and through their entire lives, the effect of which was to bring the right men to the right places at the right times, with the right endowments, impulses, acquirements, to write just the books which were designed for them.”. (Unpublished class notes, Grace Theological Seminary)

     Thus, the process of human authorship of Scripture was much more intimate than could be described by the term "dictation." 

     The Paul who was brought to the task was a Paul who could spontaneously write just such letters.  Although the preparation of human instruments took a lifetime, the act of inspiration came only at the time of the "final" act of writing the Scripture, making it actually and supernaturally the divine Word of God. (See Mark 12:36, Matt. 15:7, Mark 7:6, Rom. 10:5, 19)

 

 

III. "THE DEDUCTIVE OR INDUCTIVE METHOD

     (1) "The Deductive Method”

     We believe that the deductive approach to inerrancy should be taken.  The statement of our Lord--rather than how logic or science "proves" the Bible--determines the validity and extent of Biblical inerrancy. (See Benjamin B. Warfield, "The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible,” a classic work on this area.)

     (2) "The Inductive Method"

     Some evangelicals believe that one must study the historical, grammatical, and scientific details of the Bible to determine if the Bible is inerrant.  A three-legged support is affirmed: Logic, Science, and Christ.

IV. OTHER POSITIONS ON INERRANCY

      (1) I BELIEVE IT, BUT WILL NOT DEFEND IT

      (2) ONLY BIBLE TRUTHS, NOT ITS WORDS, ARE INERRANT

     However, it makes a crucial difference whether the historical details of Scripture may be trusted.  As Edward J. Young said: "Remove this historical background from Christianity, and you remove Christianity itself." (Thy Word Is Truth, p. 256).

     Who should be the arbitrator of what is "peripheral" and minor in Scripture?  If God has erred in one minor point, how could we trust Him on other points?

     We are seeing, and will further see, the continued erosion of conviction on Biblical inerrancy which the church had previously received as a treasured heritage.

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