Sharing my faith, and the reason for my hope in Jesus is always an exciting venture for me. I’m always nervous when thinking about speaking boldly, but in the moment, it’s a complete 180, and the nerves are completely gone and the Holy Spirit recalls things to me, which I could have never uttered otherwise. I know the Spirit does this because God’s word says that He will give me the words to say, and in fact it isn’t me speaking, but the Spirit speaking in me (Luke 12:12, Matthew 10:20). When it comes to the bible, authority, inspiration and inerrancy are always in question, and those questions deserve answers.
Authority is defined as “the right and power to command, enforce laws, exact obedience, determine or judge (American Heritage Dictionary). Infallible and inerrant are words used when expressing authority, and when we say the bible has authority we mean it has the authority of God, meaning that in Him all authority is located, and He is His own authority because outside of Him there is no other foundation for authority (Elwell Pg. 154). The authority of the bible comes from the bible itself. “The bible points beyond itself to God” and “has a real authority in itself as the authentic embodiment of God’s self-disclosure” (Elwell Pg.153). Within the bible, the authors claim their message to be from God over 3,000 times, and God, like all authors, claimed His own work.
Biblical inspiration “is the guidance or influence of the Holy Spirit on the human writers of scriptures so that God controlled them in such a way that what they wrote was exactly what God wanted them to write without error” (Towns, Theology For Today Pg. 59). When we claim infallibility we mean without error, which plainly speaking, is hard to conceive in our human minds, but all things are possible with God (Luke 1:37). We read, “all scripture is inspired (God-breathed) by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). This supernatural guidance in the unique life of the human authors resulted in the inspired word of God with all authority and truth. We understand that the prophecies made in the bible were not of mans own will, but of the will imposed on them through their own vocabulary, knowledge, and ability, by God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21).
The bible is without fault or inaccuracy, and is the complete truth that God chooses to convey to us. Furthermore, with all facts, correct interpretation and original autographs the bible is found as absolute fact in regards to every, and all facets of life, this is biblical inerrancy. Historically, scripture has been held to the position that it is true, and inspired, but now the new position is that in the areas of salvation and doctrine it is authoritative, but because the writers were limited man, then their claims in the scientific areas (for example) are “non-revelatory, or non-authoritative” claims (Towns Pg. 64). The “bible reflects an attitude toward itself that every word was placed there by God” and therefore “it is God’s book and has God’s authority” (Towns Pg. 65). There are several defenses for the inerrancy of the bible, such as the biblical argument, where within scripture there is teaching of its own authority, such as when Jesus stated His fulfillment of the law (Matthew 5:17) which first requires inerrancy. A historical argument that states the claims of early church fathers, and an early church understanding and natural assumption of the inerrancy of the scriptures. Also the epistemological argument, which is the study of meaning, understanding, or knowledge, that formulates around knowledge claims and standards of knowledge. Finally the slippery slop argument, citing the fundamental nature of inerrancy, and that the denial of such fundamentals will lead the Christian to ruin. While all these are good arguments, I believe the argument to hold the most weight and create the greatest defense to be what the bible says about God’s character. A single fact like the bible was written “in different locations stretching 2000 miles” (Towns Pg. 55) should be enough to start head scratching. “Ezekiel wrote in Babylon some 560 miles east of Jerusalem, while Paul composed his final prison epistle in Rome, approximately 1450 miles west of Jerusalem” (Towns Pg. 55). There were some prophets sent to northern tribes, and some to southern, and yet their social and societal background does not change the perspective nor change their unity (Towns Pg. 55). Written by about 40 different authors, over 1600 years by men with wildly different backgrounds, occupations, and separated by up to 2,000 miles, while writing on vastly different subjects, the structure and theme and direction remains constant. An objective reader cannot help but recognize that it is the word of God, inspired by God, with authority and inerrancy.
“You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me” (John 5:39). Scripture is a witness of Jesus, and points to Him. In this statement, we recognize that the scriptures were about Him, therefore inspired, and He claims that not in them, but in Himself is eternal life, and therefore authority, requires inerrancy. Jesus is the perfect relationship of inspiration and inerrancy, being the one who all things have been created through and the one who holds all things together (Colossians 1:16-17). Jesus is “I AM” and therefore is before all time, and is everlasting, and truth in the end.
The ultimate conclusion of this is that the bible is the infallible word of God, with all authority, total inspiration, and definite inerrancy, and therefore our lives ought to be lived to love God and love people (Mark 12:30-31) and love and keep His commandments and not be burdened by them (1 John 5:3).
Grace and Peace