Category: Bible

The infallibility of Scripture

Previously: The inerrancy of Scripture

This is the third in a series of columns on the inspiration, inerrancy, infallibility, and sufficiency of Scripture.

When Christians say the Bible is true, we often use terms to describe the manner in which God has spoken to us through His written Word.

One such term is “infallible.” But what does that mean?

Incapable of error

By infallibility, we mean the original manuscripts are incapable of error. This is because the Bible is inspired, or God-breathed, resulting in “autographs” that are inerrant and infallible.

If the Holy Spirit is the author of Scripture, and His breathed-out words are exactly what He wanted to communicate to us, then we can rightly say these autographs are incapable of error because God is wholly dependable. He does not lie, make mistakes, or lead us astray.
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The inerrancy of Scripture

Previously: The inspiration of Scripture

This is the second in a series of columns on the inspiration, inerrancy, infallibility, and sufficiency of Scripture.

When Christians say the Bible is true, we often use terms to describe the manner in which God has spoken to us through His written Word.

One such term is “inerrant.” But what does that mean?

Freedom from error

The inerrancy of Scripture means the Bible is fully truthful in all of its teachings. P.D. Feinberg writes in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, inerrancy is “the view that when all the facts become known, they will demonstrate that the Bible in its original manuscripts and correctly interpreted is entirely true and never false in all it affirms, whether that relates to doctrine or ethics or to the social, physical, or life sciences.”

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy puts it this way: Scripture in its entirety is “free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit.”
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The inspiration of Scripture

This is the first in a series of columns on the inspiration, inerrancy, infallibility, and sufficiency of Scripture.

When Christians say the Bible is true, we often use terms to describe the manner in which God has spoken to us through His written Word.

One such term is “inspired.” But what does that mean?

God-breathed

The apostle Paul writes in 2 Tim. 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God …”

The phrase “inspired by God” comes from the Greek theopneustos. It means “God-breathed” and conveys the idea that Scripture is the product of a holy exhalation.

God did not breathe into the Scriptures, thus inspiring them; He breathed out His Word. The Bible’s origin is God Himself.
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Is the canon of Scripture closed?

holy-bibleSome Christian scholars today cast doubt over the canon of Scripture – those 66 books that the Church has long held to be the complete written revelation of God. They justify their views by claiming: (1) that surviving texts of the Old and New Testaments are corrupt and therefore unreliable, or (2) that early Church leaders deliberately excluded certain books for personal or political reasons.

As Craig L. Blomberg responds in his recent book – Can We Still Believe the Bible? – “there is not a shred of historical evidence to support either of these claims; anyone choosing to believe them must do so by pure credulity, flying in the face of all the evidence that actually exists.”

But what if we discovered an apostolic writing that has remained hidden for the last 2,000 years?

For example, in 1 Cor. 5:9, Paul alludes to an earlier letter to fellow believers in Corinth. We don’t have that letter, nor are we aware of its specific contents. Let’s say, however, that archaeologists unearth a clay pot containing a manuscript dating from the mid-first century and fitting the description of Paul’s letter.

Should the Church welcome 3 Corinthians as the 28th book of the New Testament? Not so fast.

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Reading the Bible with misplaced expectations

“The Bible is full of contradictions.”

So say many critics of God’s Word. When asked to provide examples, however, critics often reveal a gross misunderstanding of the writers’ purposes, according to Douglas S. Huffman, a contributor to In Defense of the Bible: A Comprehensive Apologetic for the Authority of Scripture.

Bible VerticalWhile alleged contradictions come in many forms, one of the most common is that of misplaced expectations; that is, critics approach the Bible from angles that are foreign to the author’s intent.

Huffman offers five examples:

Selection vs. denial. Authors must select what they choose to include in their accounts. Their selections are related to their purpose for writing. Just because they leave some details out does not mean they deny their existence. For example, each of the four Gospels has information not contained in any of the others. But this does not mean these records are in conflict with one another.

Even the Gospel writer John alludes to this: “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which, if they were written one by one, I suppose not even the world itself could contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).

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