“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16Tweet
All the Bible is inspired by God. Or put another way, the Bible is the very Word of God.
At my undergraduate school, my professors did not believe in inerrancy, a term that simply means there are no errors in the Bible in the original manuscripts. So it is a subject I had to wrestle with quite a bit. My conviction about inerrancy led to my attending a more conservative seminary that believed inerrancy, so I found it helpful to articulate my thoughts about the whole thing.
Inspiration is the communication by the Spirit of God upon the minds of those writers chosen by providence to write the divine revelation. This divine revelation is interpreted only by the Holy Spirit who leads every honest reader and inquirer to salvation in Christ. The Bible is the very Word of God and is completely without error, that is to say it is inerrant. The inerrancy of Scripture means that Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact. The testimony of inspiration and inerrancy ensure a third aspect of Scripture which is its authority. Scripture has authority for all of life. Authority is the right to require obedience and impose beliefs (Augustus Hopkins Strong, Systematic Theology).
The inerrancy of Scripture means that Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact.Tweet
Inspiration, Inerrancy, Authority:
The relationships between inspiration, inerrancy and authority are complex since they are each intertwined. It is helpful to view these three as a braided cord (Ecc 4:12). If one is abandoned or weakened, they might maintain integrity. However, when they are weakened there can be a functional abandonment of these doctrines. Inspiration if understood as verbal and plenary must be maintained in order to affirm the others.
By verbal inspiration is to be understood that the words of scripture are inspired and not just the ideas (Frame, John, The Doctrine of the Word of God). By plenary it means that all of Scripture is inspired. Any other view will conflict with inerrancy. If the ideas are only the inspired parts of Scripture, it follows that there could be much in Scripture that contains error. This undermines the reliability of Scripture.
The Verbal Plenary view of inspiration must be maintained in order to affirm its authority. Trusting that God communicates through the words of Scripture, this inspiration maintains its authority as the Word of God. God communicated His will out of grace, if we can choose the parts we think are inspired or not we place our own reason over that of God’s revealed will. A wise person will take heed to the words of his father (Prov 4:20).
A Three Fold Cord:
If inerrancy is removed from the three-fold cord inspiration and authority of Scripture is weakened. If error exists in the Bible, it follows that either God lies or that mistakes were made in the transmission of truth. If God lies than we can not trust His authority, and if there are errors in transmission how do we know what is inspired or not?
Divine authorship is the reason for Scriptures authority. It heralds Jesus Christ as Lord and Redeemer. Since God inspired the entire canon of Scripture, it cannot err, but remains authoritative in all of life. The reason for this we are told in Scripture.
“That the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:17).
Keep the conversation going:
How does this view of Scripture impact your faith?
What comforts you about this truth?
Where do you take issue with this truth?