Inspiration and Inerrancy

I had an interesting experience yesterday, one that I had prayed for. As I was reading my Bible in the park, a curious jogger stopped to ask why I was reading the Bible and if I truly believed that it contains the answer to life’s problems.

First of all, I had to recognize that I have some presuppositions about God and the Bible that this jogger might not share with me. So I wanted to be careful in how I shared my beliefs compared with the jogger’s doubts.

I started with how I view the Bible as a whole. I believe that the Bible has authority. According to H. D. McDonald, “[T]he Bible has a real authority in itself as the authentic embodiment of God’s self-disclosure.” I believe that because the Bible is the Word of God, and because God Himself is the ultimate authority, His Word has authority in the same manner as God has authority over me and my life.

That led me to talk about inspiration. The jogger was skeptical about the Bible, saying that it was written by men no different than you and me. I explained to him that he was partially correct about the authorship of the Bible. It was penned by men, but that those men were led by divine inspiration. God Himself guided the men and the words that were written. The Bible says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV). The Bible is not a work of the human mind, but the very words of God.

The jogger then asked a difficult question, “How can the Bible be accurate if it was written by men?” I told the jogger that I believe the Bible is inerrant. To me, inerrancy simply means that God is incapable of anything short of truth and perfection, and therefore, His word contains no errors or false claims. The Bible says, “it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged” (Hebrews 6:18, NIV).

I explained to the jogger that I learned about some arguments that have been made about the Bible being inerrant. The Slippery Slope Argument says that “some see inerrancy as so fundamental that those who give it up will soon surrender other central Christian doctrines.” I believe this to be the weakest argument to convince an unbeliever because the belief is based on a structure that is foreign to an unbeliever, the doctrines of the church. The Epistemological Argument says that the claims of the Bible’s inerrancy can only be certified by proving its claims. While we can verify many of the things the Bible claims, we cannot prove them all, because not all things have come to pass or the evidence of other claims no longer exist. The Biblical Argument uses Scripture itself to show that it is inerrant and infallible. The best example of this is the previously mention verse, 2 Timothy 3:16. The argument that I would consider the strongest is the Historical Argument. This argument says that the inerrancy of the Bible “has been the view of the church throughout history.” At first glance, this argument may seem overly simplistic. But it is a view that carries tradition and a long lineage of believers who were intent on sharing a view of God’s Word as it is, inerrant and authoritative. This view is founded by eyewitnesses to Biblical events. And then it was shared through generations. This argument shows a history of people, sinful humans, who have heard the message and accepted it and built their lives in Christ according to what each person saw in other humans. It is our greatest witness to the lost of our time.

The inerrancy and inspiration of the Bible are complimentary. Elmer Towns states that, “Inerrancy recognizes that what God revealed and inspired is accurate, reliable, authoritative and without error.” Because the Bible is inspired by God, the nature of God is a part of the Bible. The Bible is Truth. It is accurate. It is reliable. It has authority. It’s attributes are synonymous with God’s.

Because I believe that the Bible was inspired by God and therefore, carries the authority of God, is inerrant and infallible, I believe that what the Bible teaches has real meaning for me. I must study the Bible in order to know how I should live a life that is pleasing to the Creator. I must obey the commands of God that are found in the pages of His word in order to receive the blessings He has promised to His people.