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Biblical Inerrancy

Throughout the ages of church history, the Church has embroiled itself in many strange controversies. Among the strangest of all is the present one, the controversy that rages across the world of religion today that has to do with the Bible itself.

“Is the Bible infallible?” “In the words of Scripture, do we have inerrant truth which God gives us as an infallible expression of His will for our lives?” Strange as it may seem, what appears to be the obvious answer to these questions is no longer obvious to many who preach in our churches, teach in our schools and provide the top leadership for colleges and seminaries in our time. The issue of final truth is being debated once again, and this debate has, astonishing as it may seem, moved within the walls of the Church.

“Is the Bible the inerrant Word of God?” That is the question that presses upon the Church in our time and which is therefore worth our attention in this critical hour in the history of the Church and the world. In the world, as never before, distraught people are asking “Who can I trust?” “What can I build my life on?” “Is there a sure foundation that will not fail me in the world where all values are changing, all truths have become relative?” Up until our time, the instant and unhesitating Christian answer to these questions was “Yes, a thousand times yes, you can put your faith in the inerrant Word of God! You can trust Jesus Christ as the promised Savior of the world and the Son of God. The truth of the Bible and of the Gospel is a foundation which cannot be shaken!” Now however, large segments of the Church have foolishly slipped away from these convictions while still wondering at its impotence in this relativistic age. It even is still apparently blind to the fact that when we lose the final authority of Holy Scripture, philosophize as we will, we have lost everything. Think for just a moment about this matter of inerrancy, of final authority.

Let us first of all recognize that something has to be inerrant. Without a yardstick, we cannot be sure of feet and inches. Without a thermometer, the temperature would be the object of mere guess-work on our part. Without a perfect standard for size, weight, motion and existence itself, sanity disappears and life itself is not. There must be a perfect standard or nothing at all. If all things are relative then, as any fool ought plainly to see, existence itself disappears.

Secondly, let us remember that, when we are talking about a perfect standard, we have but two choices. These two choices to which we are limited are human reason and Divine revelation. The simplest thinker will recognize the fact that humanity is limited to those two possible bases of thought, of reason, of valid information, of sanity itself.

Then, let us recognize that human reason is not a dependable guide. Every automobile accident, every psychiatric clinic, every cemetery testifies to us that human reason is not a final and dependable standard. This is the reason why all things that have to do with human reason must be verified by experiment, by experience, by the testing of results in actual usage. Science, despite the vaunted boasts of its practitioners, is a very inexact thing, never to be trusted until the plane flies, the boat floats or the rocket makes it to the moon. Science without experimental verification is mere alchemy, a magician’s hope. No scientist who is not a fool (and it is possible to be both) would dare stake his life or even his reputation on his equations or his reasoning alone. Human reason is just not an exact thing.

Let us recognize then that we are, therefore, limited—when we are speaking of exact things—to Divine revelation. God alone knows everything. God alone has all power, all perception and is the master of everything. Therefore, His words alone are exactly correct. One of the first principles of life which will never fail us and which should be memorized by every person is the fact that nothing is true like the Bible is true. The true thinker instantly recognizes the limitations of human reason and deduces the absolute necessity for Divine revelation. This we have in the Word of God, an inerrant and perfect exposition of the mind of God Himself.

This is why Jesus Christ gave us the marvelous promise: “The scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). He affirmed the precise truth of its actual words saying, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Therefore, He combined both a warning and a promise by saying, “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away” (Luke 21:33).

He, therefore, gave us a most earnest recommendation that every aspiring truth seeker will write upon his heart, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Note that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, used the expression “every word.” In so speaking, He reminded us that the ultimate values of life, certainly the ultimate truth is found in “every word” that comes from the mouth of God. Here is confirmed the teaching of Scripture that the individual words are inerrant, dependable sources of data concerning conduct and life.

Every thoughtful heart will, therefore, purpose that the chief dedication of his life and education will be found in Paul’s words to young Timothy: “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). A knowledge of the Word of God as a perfect standard of our faith and conduct is recommended everywhere in Scripture. “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate therein day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success” (Josh. 1:8). God places infinitely high value upon His Word, telling us, “Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. Add thou not unto His Words, lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar” (Prov. 30:5-6).

A final reminder is also appropriate. The first responsibility of every Christian is to know the Word of God, for this is the way he develops spiritual strength. We must remember, however, that knowing the Word of God implies another great responsibility, that of doing the Word. The Apostle Paul has warned us that we deceive ourselves if we know but we do not do. The Word of God was given to us, not as an idol to worship but as a source of instruction, motivation, direction as to how we can live our lives with adequacy and spiritual success. Do not fear then to study the Word of God with confidence and believe it without reservation. Let it be more important to you than any degree of human wisdom. Then, I promise you, it will be health to your soul and intelligence to your mind.

From the writings of Dave Breese

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