The Bible Is Errorless
Looking at the nation of Israel, they should have been gone by now but God has reserved for Himself a remnant because, as the Apostle Paul writes, It is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel . Today, just as in Joshuas day, we can say, Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed all came to pass .
Your Convictions About The Bible
Of all the books ever written, there is only one that is utterly infallible, timeless, and completely trustworthythe Bible. But is it merely a collection of ancient mens words or is it the revelation of the living God?Your answer to that question is of the utmost importance. In this message, Dr. Stanley shares his personal conviction that the Bible is the very Word of Godinerrant and wholly reliable.What you believe about the Bible matters!
Charles F. StanleyJune 12, 2021
Of all the books ever written, there is only one that is utterly infallible, timeless, and completely trustworthythe Bible. But is it merely a collection of ancient mens words or is it the revelation of the living God?
Your answer to that question is of the utmost importance. In this message, Dr. Stanley shares his personal conviction that the Bible is the very Word of Godinerrant and wholly reliable.
What you believe about the Bible matters!
This sermon was recorded before COVID-19. For the protection of our staff members and the community, we are currently following safety guidelines by practicing social distancing. We appreciate your understanding.
The Three Is Of Scripture: Inspired Inerrant Infallible
In asking the question, Where did we get the Bible? ultimately we must answer that we received it from God. This is, in fact, the claim the Bible makes for itself. The apostle Paul says, All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness .
The biblical word for inspired means Scripture is breathed out by God. The apostle Peter describes this process, First of all, you should know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from ones own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man instead men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit . God breathed out His Word by using godly men to write down exactly what He wanted them to write.
Christians use a number of words to describe what they believe about the Bible. Three common words Christians use are inspired, inerrant, and infallible. But if youre new to the faith, or if you havent grown up around the church, these words can be a little confusing. So, what do they mean?
When we say that the Bible is inspired we mean that God is its definitive author. While God used human beings to record his words, it is God himself who is behind what they wrote. God didnt just inspire the big ideas behind the Bible, but the very words of Scripture.
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Steve Chalke: The Bible Isn’t Infallible But Jesus Is
By Steve Chalke2018-01-17T00:00:00+00:00
I was confused. Not only by the huge questions I had around some sections of the Bible, but also by the fact that no one ever seemed to acknowledge that there were any questions around the teaching in some sections for instance, stories of violence, discrimination and brutal ethnic cleansing all initiated at Gods command.
As a young child in Sunday school and then, having become a Christian, years later in my teens, all I could conclude as I pondered this was that I must just be really slow. The answers were, I assumed, so obvious to everyone else that it wasnt even worth them talking about them.
No satisfying answers
In my early 20s, I went to theological college, where I was sure things would be dealt with thoroughly. But when my lecturers also seemed to ignore them, once again I concluded that the problem must be mine and mine alone. I just wasnt bright enough.
And that was the pattern. Over the years, as I became a minister, then set up Oasis and became a conference speaker although I had no satisfying answers to these difficult questions, I always assumed that someone else, somewhere else, far sharper and more senior than me, must have it sorted.
Grappling with the Bible
Surely we have a God-given obligation to use our best understanding to grapple with the Bible and, indeed, all lifes issues?
The word of God?
Is the Bible wrong?
For more from Steve, visit openchurch.network/chalketalk
The Foundation Of Science
Another standard we use when evaluating certain kinds of claims is the standard of science. The tools of science allow us to describe the predictable, consistent way in which the universe normally behaves. Science allows us to make successful predictions about certain future states. For example, if I mix chemical A with chemical B, I expect to get result C because it has always been that way in the past. This happens the same way every time: if the conditions are the same, I will get the same result. Science is based on an underlying uniformity in nature. But why should there be such uniformity in nature? And how do we know about it?
We all presume that the future will be like the past in terms of the basic operation of nature. This does not mean that Friday will be exactly like Mondayconditions change. But it does mean that things like gravity will work the same on Friday as they have on Monday. With great precision astronomers are able to calculate years in advance the positions of planets, the timing of eclipses, and so ononly because the universe operates in such a consistent way. We all know that the universe will behave in the future as it has in the past. Science would be impossible without this critical principle. But what is the foundation for this principle?
According to the biblical worldview, God has chosen to uphold the universe in a consistent way for our benefit.
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The Bible Is Infallible
How do we know that Gods Word, the Bible, is infallible, which means incapable of error? The Bible itself declares, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work , and knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someones own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit . Thats enough for me.
Why Does This Matter
If the Bible is fallible, we as Christians have nothing on which to base our beliefs. We can only know Gods character, His plan, or His desires for us and the kingdom through His revelation to us we are incapable of knowing Him by our own effort. We dont possess the innate ability to discern truth from error regarding God, and if the Bible is mixed with said truth and error, it would be impossible to distinguish whats true and whats false.
Imagine watching a person from a distance and trying to know them personally. You can make endless speculations about their behaviors but there would be no reason to think you know them. Only as they get closer and reveal themselves to you can you know who they are. If this is true of people, how much more of God?
We trust Gods attributesHis holinessand His whole character. He is the very source of truth. He defines our reality by His Word . It is because of this we can trust we possess His unfailing Word. To say the Bible can mislead or deceive someone is like saying God is not Who He says He is.
God shares some of His attributes with His human creation , yet Gods very nature is on trial to those who do not believe the Bible is His infallible Word.
God encompasses some attributes which belong to Him alone.
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Is The Bible Inerrant And Infallible
Many Christians speak of the Bible as inerrant and infallible.Inerrant means simply without error, or some would say incapable of error.Infallible is from the Latin in, meaning not, and fallere, meaning deceive.Infallible would then mean that the Bible does not deceive or, more commonly, that it is incapable of being wrong. To say that the Bible is inerrant and infallible is to say that it contains no mistakes. Some have replaced inerrant and infallible with the phrase totally true and trustworthy. Because these words have become a kind of litmus test for some Christians regarding the orthodoxy of ones faith, this is an important question.
Those who hold to inerrancy and infallibility sometimes point to Christians like Augustine, who noted in the fifth century,
“I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error. And if in these writings I am perplexed by anything which appears to me opposed to truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either the is faulty or the translator has not caught the meaning of what was said, or I myself have failed to understand it.
Many mainline Christians and an increasing number of moderate evangelicals have rejected the idea of inerrancy that has been championed by conservative Christians, offering instead a view of scripture that takes seriously both the Bibles inspiration from God and the humanity of its biblical authors.
Article 13 of the Chicago Statement offers this denial:
It Would Be Preserved Through Time Without Corruption
As you mentioned, surely an omnipotent deity is capable of recording His words in such a way that they will last through time and without corruption. After all, what good is a message from God if it got lost or the message became corrupted over time . Of course, this doesnt mean that no one would ever misinterpret or mis-translate the words. But it does mean that we should be able to somehow discern where the errors in the copies are as well as the original intent of the message.
Ancient writing surfaces, as you probably know, were made up of natural elements such as papyrus, clay, and animal skins and decayed easily. Therefore, we do not have the original documents of the Biblical texts . However, we do have copies of the originals and can compare those to one another to determine what was in the originals and what wasnt. Obviously, the more copies you have from different places and the closer in age they are to the original, the better you will be at determining the original message.
I want to point out that this is the same process used for all ancient documents and not just the Bible. The reliability of all ancient texts is tested in the same manner. Historians look for copies of the text, from where they originated, their age and proximity to the autographs, and if the documents were quoted in other works to help them determine the closest rendering of the text to its original form.
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Historical Accuracy Of The Bible
The Bible describes events and places throughout thousands of years of history. Many of these places and events are verified from Archaeology. Archaeology cannot prove if the Bible is the inspired word of God, but it can show us if things found in the Bible are true or false. By excavating biblical sites, archaeologists have proven many facts claimed in the word of God.
Example 1: Lysanias
Critics had a problem with Luke 3:1 where it speaks of “Lysanias” as being the governor/ruler of Abilene during the time of John the Baptist. This was counted as an “error” in the Bible until an inscription was found with the name “Lysanias” as a ruler in Abilene. This discovery introduced the theory of two rulers with the same name one about 50 years prior to the one mentioned in Luke 13.
Example 2:The Hittites
Critics have claimed the Hittites were mythical people. But by the end of the 19th century, monuments were discovered by William Wright proving that these people did exist. The Bible was right once again.
Example 3: Pontius Pilate
Example 4: Isaiah and the Dead Sea Scrolls
The Bible Is Infallible Not Inerrant
While the cruciform understanding of the God-breathed nature of Scripture is in tension with the way most talk about inerrancy , I do not believe it is at all incompatible with what the Church has always sought to express by affirming the infallibility the Scripture. The core conviction is that Scripture will not fail you when you rely on it for the purpose for which it was intended. Even ancient thinkers such as Origen and Augustine understood that one can find mistakes in Scripture if you hold it to the wrong criteria. While infallible must be more precisely defined, it does not require us to use modern scientific and historical criteria to evaluate Scripture as does the word inerrancy.
I believe the word infallible succinctly captures the attitude of Jesus and the earliest disciples regarding Scripture. Moreover, while the concept of inerrancy is inapplicable to certain genres within Scripture , the concept of infallibility is broad enough to be applied to any genre of literature. Whatever purpose an author had for composing whatever kind of canonical literature we might consider, we may affirm that, because it is God-breathed, this writing will not fail to achieve its purpose, assuming, once again, that we are relying on it for that purpose instead of for the purpose of satisfying our epistemic angst or some other imported agenda.
Image by Freaktography via Flickr.
It Would Be Completely Accurate Historically
If the Bible really is the word of God we would expect it to be completely accurate historically as the facts contained within must be presented unerringly.
There are actually many written sources outside of the Bible that corroborate its documentation. The most famous is probably the writings of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus who lived in the first century. The writings of Josephus not only preserve many of the traditions and events from the Old Testament but also corroborate many things in the New Testament such as the existence of John the Baptist, the death of James, the brother of Jesus, by the high priest Annas, and Jesus himself. Despite the fact that Josephus was a Jew and had a vested interest in not helping the Christian cause, he not only characterizes Jesus as being a wise man, but also reports the fact that people viewed Him as The Christ and that Jesus appeared to His disciples three days after Pilate had Him put to death.
There are other writings that corroborate the history as outlined in the Bible as well. The Jewish Talmud mentions Jesus and records His death on the eve of Passover. Thallus, a Samaritan historian who wrote in 52 A.D. mentions the crucifixion, as did Phlegon of Tralles, the Roman historian. And these are but a few examples.
How Do We Know The Bible Is Infallible
4.4/5Bible is infalliblebiblical
Then, how is the Bible infallible?
Biblical infallibility is the belief that what the Bible says regarding matters of faith and Christian practice is wholly useful and true. It is the “belief that the Bible is completely trustworthy as a guide to salvation and the life of faith and will not fail to accomplish its purpose.
Also Know, where does it say the Bible is the inerrant word of God? Following 2 Timothy 3:16, we say that the Bible is “inspired” by God. The term in 2 Timothy is “God-breathed.” In other words, we believe that the testimony of Scripture is an expression of God Himself.
Accordingly, where does the Bible say it is infallible?
‘” Lindsell states that, “The very nature of inspiration renders the Bible infallible, which means that it cannot deceive us. It is inerrant in that it is not false, mistaken, or defective”.
How is the Bible inspired by God?
Biblical inspiration is the doctrine in Christian theology that the human authors and editors of the Bible were led or influenced by God with the result that their writings may be designated in some sense the word of God.
The Standard Of Standards
The above lines of evidence are certainly consistent with the premise that the Bible is true. Many people have no doubt found such evidence quite convincing. Yet, we must admit that none of the above lines of evidence quite proves that the Bible must be the inerrant Word of God. Critics have their counterarguments to all of the above. If we are to know for certain that the Bible is true, we will need a different kind of argumentone that is absolutely conclusive and irrefutable. In all the above cases, we took as an unstated premise that there are certain standards by which we judge how likely something is true. When we stop to consider what these standards are, we will see that the standards themselves are proof that the Bible is true.
Putting it another way, only the Bible can make sense of the standards by which we evaluate whether or not something is true. One such set of standards are the laws of logic. We all know that a true claim cannot contradict another true claim. That would violate a law of logic: the law of non-contradiction. The statements The light is red and The light is not red cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense. Laws of logic thus represent a standard by which we can judge certain truth claims. Moreover, all people seem to know laws like the law of non-contradiction. We all assume that such laws are the same everywhere and apply at all times without exception. But why is this? How do we know such things?