Christian Apologetics Free Course 04, Lesson 04

Christian Apologetics Free Course 04, Lesson 04

The Reliability Of The Canon

 

 

The Inerrancy Of The Bible

pen-1035081__340Right from the time of the Old Testament, believers have held that the Word of God is Inerrant. Inerrancy means that in producing the original manuscripts, the sacred authors were guided by Holy Spirit in such a way that they transmitted perfectly, without error, the exact message which God desired to record for men. Since the Word of God is infallible, it cannot err. And since it is Inerrant, it contains no mistakes.

The doctrine of Inerrancy arises out of the nature and declarations of the Scriptures themselves. Biblical books everywhere present themselves as being the Word of God. When the Lord speaks, He cannot lie; neither can He teach truth by means of error. His veracity as well as His power is at stake. If he spoke erroneously at the beginning or mingled the true with the false, what could we think of Him? He would be an unreliable God, delivering an unreliable message. Even the non-believer knows this implication, and that is why the rationalists spend so much time to somehow show that the Bible contains errors.

With our eternal salvation standing or falling on the testimony of Bible, what certainty could we find in a Revelation that can contain error? Or what if God, after giving to the sacred authors a message exact in every detail, had showed Himself unable afterwards to effect its transmission in a way worthy of confidence? This would only mean that He had deceived us. And in that case, His initial revelations would have become untrustworthy by now.

Inerrancy is a fundamental belief of evangelical Christians, and every Apologist should both understand as well as defend this doctrine.

 

The Bible’s Testimony to its Own Inerrancy

 

Bible repeatedly claims that it is the infallible and inerrant word of God. But no sooner we mention this, someone might raise objections against it. Thus it would be well to consider these objections before going further.

First of all, they might ask, is it legitimate for us to base our faith in inerrancy on the Bible’s own testimony? Isn’t this just a vicious circle: like dispensing with a debate simply on the declarations of the accused or merely on the basis of the statements of the interrogated witness? No, for here we have the Lord Himself, who attested the Scripture as the only sources of all true spiritual knowledge. Thus, just as we go to Scripture for all the doctrines concerning judgment, salvation, the future, etc, we can deduce from the revelation a sure teaching concerning the written Word. Since the Lord Himself proclaimed the Scriptures as authoritative, our first question regarding any subject must be “What do the Scriptures have to say about this” (Rom. 4:3; Gal. 4:30).

About 3,808 times the Biblical books claim to be transmitting the words of God. After the giving of the law, Moses declared: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from it” (Deut. 4:2; also 6:1-2, 6-9 and 12:32). The psalmist says over and over: “The law of Jehovah is perfect…. I trust in thy word…. I have seen an end of all perfection; but they commandment is exceeding broad… Thy word is very pure; therefore, thy servant loveth it… Thy law it truth… All thy commandments are truth… The sum of thy word is truth; and every one of thy righteous ordinances endureth for ever… Let my tongue sing of thy word; for all thy commandments are righteousness” (Ps.19:7; 119:42, 96, 140, 142, 151, 160, 172).

Christ specifically confirmed the whole Old Testament as true. He did not find any error that needed to be eliminated, nor did He express the slightest doubt about any part of it. He consistently based His arguments and exhortations on the Old Testament Scripture. He declared: “One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished” (Matt. 5:18). Discussing a single word with the Jews, He said: “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). And he exclaimed towards the end of His days on earth: “Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth” (John 17:17).

The holy Apostles also witnessed to the perfection of the Scriptures. Paul said of the law that it is holy: “and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good” (Rom. 7:12). The apostle’s teaching is so explicit (e.g., Gal. 3:16-17) that any error in the Scripture cited would take away the very foundation of that teaching.

For the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Word of God is living, effectual and penetrating, goes so far as to judge even our feelings and our innermost thoughts (Heb. 4:12). It is not our prerogative to set ourselves up as its critics. James, describing the Word speaks of it as “the perfect law, the law of liberty” (James 1:22-25). Convinced of its supreme authority, he addresses to us this solemn warning: “Think ye that the scripture speaketh in vain?” (James 4:5).

Finally, John brings the written revelation to a close with these words: “If any man shall add unto them (the things which are written), God shall add unto him the plagues which are written in this book: and it any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life” (Rev. 22:18-19). If it is the Lord who has given a message from Himself, who could have the audacity to attempt to “complete” it or to delete any of it, even those parts which he might think of slight importance?

A testimony as clear and as unanimous as this is truly impressive. Nowhere does Scripture in one place declare erroneous what it given in another place, and this holds true for even the smallest details like the very words, jots and the tittles. As it unsparingly recounts the faults and failures of men in general and of the people of God as well, its total silence about errors in the work of the sacred authors undeniably has great weight.

 

 

 

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