The Doctrine of Inerrancy

By Ryan Itzel

Introduction

            Bibliology, the study of the Word of God, is often the first doctrine taught in Systematic Theology. The reason for this is that without a proper understanding of the Scriptures, we are hopeless to come to right Biblical conclusions. One of the major aspects of an orthodox Bibliology is known as the inerrancy of Scripture. In this brief post, the importance of the doctrine of inerrancy will be demonstrated, revealing the devastating effects of rejecting this teaching.

The Doctrine of Inerrancy

The inerrancy of Scripture is not a topic that should be given to compromise. Some doctrinal beliefs Christians can agree to disagree, being secondary or tertiary, and not salvific in nature. Inerrancy, however, is not a negotiable truth. The very foundation of all that we believe as Christians is dependent upon a correct understanding of the issue. I believe the Holy Bible to be completely inerrant, inspired by God, and kept from contradiction or flaw. John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue say in their systematic theology, Biblical Doctrine, “The Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God. It is the result of divine inspiration, which produced divinely authoritative and factual accounts that are truthful in

what they record.”[1] This assertion relays the foundational truth of the historical and spiritual reliability of Scripture for man. The basis of this belief is found throughout the pages of Scripture. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is clear on this subject, informing us that all Scripture is breathed out by God. Along with this, in 1 Thessalonians 2, Paul says, “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God. . .” The human authors wrote down Scripture, but the divine Author, the Holy Spirit, guided the writings, keeping them from error, and leading the human authors in content as well.

Application

 Why is this important? Without a belief in Scriptural inerrancy, we are hopeless to truly know God, have a source of ultimate authority, and would be considered foolish for staking our eternity on the reliability of Scripture. First, it is impossible to truly know God if the Word of God is not inerrant. If one section of Scripture is in error, we cannot hope to trust any statement. The Scriptures are God’s special revelation, disclosing who God is and how we might have a right relationship with Him. Speaking of the supernatural revelation which we today find solely in the Word of God, B.B Warfield says, “God has therefore, in his infinite mercy, added a revelation of himself, strictly so called, communicating by his Spirit directly to men knowledge concerning himself, his works, will, and purposes.”[2] If the Scriptures are errant, we cannot know Him who authored the Scriptures.

Second, if the Scriptures fail at any point, we are without an absolute authority. The Moody Handbook of Theology states this, “No adequate theology is possible without a belief in the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. If this doctrine is abandoned, reason becomes the source of authority and reason sits in judgement upon the text of Scripture.”[3] This statement is true, and thus, if the Bible is not inerrant, we are ultimately without an authority for faith and practice. Finally, if we cannot trust the Scriptures, the foundation for original sin, salvation by grace through faith in Christ, and the hope of the return of our Lord is without grounds. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:12-17,

             Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 

If the Gospels, communicating the hope of our salvation seen through the resurrection of Christ, are flawed, we are still dead in our sin. But the Scriptures are not broken, they are not full of erroneous writings. Praise the Lord for Paul’s words of hope in verse 20, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”

The doctrine of inerrancy is a precious truth, giving hope to all who name the name of Christ. We must not presume a better way than the authoritative revelation. Scripture is from God, for us, and is completely true and trustworthy. We must stand firmly upon this truth and not sacrifice or compromise our stance in any way. So, let us uphold the Biblical doctrine of inerrancy and call others to do the same.


[1] John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue, Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), 113.

[2] Benjamin B. Warfield, The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield: Revelation and Inspiration, vol. 1 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 46. 

[3] Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1989), 149.


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