This is the third post in our series on the biblical view of the Bible. We have briefly looked at both the inspiration and authority of the Bible, and now we want to touch upon another very important corollary of the inspiration of Scripture, that is its inerrancy.
Inerrancy, simply defined, means that there are no errors or mistakes in the Bible. None. Now that may sound like a preposterous claim to some, but I make no apologies for stating it. The inspiration of Scripture (i.e. that it is “breathed out” by God – 2 Timothy 3:16) implies and even demands that the Scriptures be without error. The Word of God, because it is the Word of God, is true, sure, and trustworthy in all that it says. It can be believed, trusted, and relied upon.
Some prefer the term infallibility, which is merely the idea that the Bible will not steer you wrong. That sounds all well and good, but it is sometimes used as a pretext for denying the full inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. And if there are errors in the Bible, by what standard are we to determine what those errors are? And how are we to discern what parts of the Bible are to be believed and followed? Church tradition? Our own reason? Sadly, human reason, as fallible as it is, often ends up becoming the substitute standard. One then reads the Bible and simply rejects or reinterprets what it says based upon his or her own prior convictions and thoughts. Another way of saying that is to say that we are then placing ourselves above Scripture – we essentially become our own standard, the measure of truth and understanding. But are we wiser than God? I think not.
What was Jesus’s own view of the Bible? In the “sermon on the mount” (Matthew chapters 5-7) He told the crowds, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:17-18, ESV). Think about that. An “iota” is a reference to the smallest letter in the Hebrew Alphabet (which looks much like a comma); and a “dot” is a reference to the smallest marking in Hebrew writing (which looks like just what it sounds like – a dot). So the Lord Jesus Christ did not just claim that the Scriptures were true in some general, vague sense, but rather boldly stated that everything in it will be fulfilled, right down to the smallest letter or mark! The Word of God is trustworthy and true – all of it!