Thursday, February 24, 2022

Inerrancy of Scripture (2 Peter 1:12-21)

"For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21)

When Paul describes the Scriptures as inspired by God (or “God-breathed”), he calls attention to the origin, not the means of revelation. The origin is God Himself; the means are human authors inspired by the Holy Spirit. This does not mean they simply exercised unusual insight or talent. This inspiration took place through supernatural help by which the human author was a vehicle for proclaiming God’s Word.

While the origin of revelation is unmistakable, it is not easy to define the mode of inspiration—how did that inspiration take place? First, human authors were not mere machines; their pens were not seized by the Holy Spirit thus bypassing the writer’s humanity. This mechanical view of inspiration says the author’s humanity was lost and he became like a machine. But we know in Scripture books bear the marks of each author’s style and purpose.

Another theory the church has traditionally rejected is the dictation theory. This says God verbally dictated to the authors as one would dictate a letter to a secretary. This is not what inspiration means. It means the Holy Spirit worked through the authors in their particular situations to convey God’s truth.

Since Scripture is inspired by God, it is infallible and inerrant. There has been much controversy over the use of these terms to describe the Scriptures. While many maintain that the Scriptures are infallible, they reject the concept of inerrancy. Though they think infallibility holds less weight than inerrancy, it actually holds more. Infallibility means that something is incapable of making a mistake. Inerrancy simply means a mistake has not been made. Humans can do a task inerrantly, but they are never infallible. The Bible is both infallible and inerrant because God Himself inspired it.

Inerrancy does not mean there are no grammatical crudities or literary devices such as hyperbole in the text. Some books have better grammar than others. Some passages use round numbers rather than specifics. This does not detract from the truth. Inerrancy means the Scriptures communicate real, truthful states of affairs without any deceit or fraud. Because the Bible is inspired, infallible, and inerrant, it is altogether true and trustworthy.

Why is it important to defend the inerrancy of Scripture? What is at stake? How did the prophets of the Old Testament convey the authority of their words (read Jeremiah 2:1)? What did this mean for the people? What does “Thus says the Lord” mean to you?