Thursday, January 7, 2021

The Infallible Bible

"Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” (Matthew 22:29).

The doctrine of biblical inspiration means that God breathed His own words through the consciousness of human writers. Men and women (such as Deborah, Hannah, and Mary) were moved by God the Holy Spirit so that the words they spoke or sung were also the Word of God Himself. Inspiration does not mean that God dictated the Bible to its human authors (except for those sections when God spoke directly to the writers, and they took down what He said, as is the case with much of Exodus and Leviticus). Nor does the doctrine of inspiration mean that the human authors became mere automata while God made their hands move as He wished. In fact, quite the reverse is the case. Just as we experience an increased self-awareness in God’s presence and a blossoming of our talents as we encounter Him, so the distinctive personalities of the human authors came to life as they wrote.

Theologians also say that the Bible is inerrant and infallible. Biblical inerrancy means that the Bible makes no errors in any of its claims. When we say that the Bible is infallible, we are saying that it is impossible for the Bible to contain errors of fact and doctrine. God cannot make mistakes. God’s Word, then, is infallible by nature, and thus it is inerrant. The process of inspiration is infallible, since God is at work, and thus the end product (the Bible) is inerrant.

In recent years, some theologians have rejected the term inerrant but continue to say the Bible is infallible. What these theologians mean by infallibility is that the Bible does not fail in its purpose. While this notion is true enough, it does not do justice to the traditional biblical doctrine of infallibility.

All this means that the Bible is true. It was the arch-liberal Rudolph Bultmann who studied the biblical word truth and concluded that what the Bible means by truth is something that is without deceit, without fraud, and communicates real states of affairs. What orthodox Christianity affirms is that the Bible is true in terms of the Bible’s own definition of truth: On every page the Bible, without error, communicates real states of affairs.

That the Bible is the Word of God leads to two inescapable-conclusions: that is has no error and that it is absolutely binding. Have you ever overlooked a particular demand in the hope that it might be a mistake? Commit to following God’s Word not just when it is convenient but in all its parts, no matter what the cost.