Thy Word is Truth?

Briefly stated, the doctrine of biblical inerrancy (from here on referred to as BI) is that the Scriptures as given by God Himself (God-breathed, inspired) are without error.  I am not here dealing with the transmission of the text, that is a different matter that I may address at a later date. 

So here are three supporting arguments for BI.

1) Whatsoever God has spoken must reflect His character. God’s words are not affected by sin, even if the instruments He chooses to utilize in recording them are affected by it. God cannot “breathe out” error, for, according to the Scriptures, He is perfect (Mt. 5:48). How, therefore, can perfection “breathe out” imperfection? Can a fig tree produce thistles? Can a fresh water spring produce salt water?

Some may counter that God is not the source of the supposed error in Scripture, but the fallen sinners whom He used to record it. Then I must ask, “Is God limited in His ability to communicate exactly what He wants to by His chosen instruments?” Even a man can communicate exactly what he wishes, why does God not have that same ability?

2) Christ Himself said that “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Mt. 4:4). How could Christ assert this if the Bible contains error? How could we know every word that proceeds out of His mouth otherwise? If the Word contains error, this statement by Jesus is incoherent.

3) If the Bible is not inerrant, it is left to the individual to determine which words are true. Although Jesus said “Thy Word is Truth” (Jn 17:17), it is the sinner who must decide which words. This sets up the individual as the judge of God’s Word, rather than God’s Word being the judge of the individual. Of course, such an arrangement is very appealing to the sinner. The very first attack of the serpent in the garden was an attack on what God said, and with good reason. The satanic modus operandi is no different today.

John Frame helpfully points out:

Some have objected that this [inerrancy] is a conclusion from a deductive argument, rather than an explicit statement of Scripture. True. But (1) the term inerrant is not found in the English Bible itself, so any conclusion about it, affirmative or negative, must of necessity be determined by implication from the actual language of Scripture. (2) Theology inevitably engages in logical deduction because its mandate is not just to repeat the biblical language, but to apply that language to questions and situations not explicitly mentioned in Scripture. All use of Scripture to define doctrine engages in logical deduction. (3) There are also many explicit statements of Scripture that are relevant to the question before us. To elaborate on (3): Scripture says in a number of places that God’s word is true, or truth. He is a God of truth. He desires truth in the inward being (Ps. 51:6). His word is the word of truth (119:43, 160). His law is true (119:142, 151). Jesus prays for his disciples, ‘Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth’ ”

The Doctrine of the Word of God, pp. 169-170

The denial of biblical inerrancy is an a priori commitment not derived from the text of Scripture, plain and simple. Those who think BI is not taught in the Bible have to blur the big picture, and in the process, obscure the details. Not only that, but worse, they leave their feet in mid air. Once BI is denied, any appeal to Scripture as truth is undermined. For what difference does it make if the Bible says one thing and not another, for who can discern which text is accurate? Such a position makes the Bible as easy to mold as a wax nose, and if you’re clever enough you can make it say whatever you wish. Redefine the words, redefine the concepts, and *presto*, you have come to understand God’s revelation better than almost anyone who has come before you. This is not reforming, this is Re-Forming.

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About C. M. Granger

I'm a firm believer in God's sovereignty, man's responsibility, and a gracious orthodoxy. I love the Puritans and the Reformers, but I don't believe our understanding of theology reached it's zenith in the 16th and 17th centuries. I love the Reformed Creeds and Confessions, but I'm not a strict confessionalist. I'm Reformed in my soteriology (I'm a moderate Calvinist), but not in the historical sense of the term (I'm a Baptist). Some of my favorite theologians/commentators are Kevin Vanhoozer, John Frame, D.A. Carson, Thomas Schreiner, Andreas Kostenberger, Peter O'Brien, David Peterson, Douglas Moo, and GK Beale. The list of dead theologians/commentators would be too long to list here. I think it's important to read widely, to read primary sources for yourself, and to accurately represent the positions of those whom you oppose. I believe it's imperative to have a proper balance between systematic and bibilical theology. I try to never make a round verse fit into the square hole of a theological system.
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One Response to Thy Word is Truth?

  1. Clear and helpful writing, Chad. I liked several of your expressions, and encourage you to keep writing. A further point to pursue might be how Jesus Christ viewed the Word of God (such as argued in John Wenham’s little book, Christ & The Bible, IVP). pdb

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