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Essay on Inerrancy and Inspiration
Since the past, the authenticity of the Bible is put into question. This is about the authority, inerrancy and inspiration of the Scriptures. Analyzing these things will make one realize why it is important and appropriate to read and value the Bible.
That the Bible is authoritative means that the Bible has the right and power to instruct, demand, implement, reprove, and exhort towards its readers. Its authority is self-asserted; it is established by its own claims. The entire Bible contains assertions that it is the “word of God.” The Old Testament prophets, when speaking to the people, often begins with, “Thus says the Lord.” In the New Testament, the words of Jesus Christ and the apostles are identified as the words of God Himself and were communicated in an authoritative manner (John 5:24; 2 Cor. 12:19; 10:11; 1 Thess. 2:13). The Scripture is not just a narrative, but a credible and reliable self-revelation of God people should believe in, respond and render obedience to.
Inspiration of the Scriptures
The inspiration of the Scriptures means that it is the very word of God written through human instruments (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The Holy Spirit supernaturally influenced the human authors that, through their personalities and writing styles, they wrote down God’s self-revelation to man (1 Peter 1:20, 21) as authoritative and trustworthy. It means that every word in the Scripture is of plenary and verbal inspiration. The texts from Genesis to Revelation, including historical and doctrinal statements, are all complete and full revelation of God (Deu. 29:29; Matt. 5:18; John 10:34-36; 2 Tim. 3:16). There is no need to add to or reduce from it (Rev. 22:18-19). Also, God allowed the human authors to freely and personally express the words of the Bible (Acts 1:16). Although the human writers were under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God did not obliterate their personality, style, culture, and physical and intellectual consciousness when they penned the original manuscripts. As each man wrote according to his God-given character, insight and purpose, God was breathing through him so that these human words are also the divine Word of God.
Inerrancy of the Scriptures and its Relation to Inspiration
The Bible’s inerrant nature refers its incapability of having failure, error, or misleading statements. The inerrancy of the Bible extends to all disciplines of knowledge – including, but not limited to, geography, ethics, history, science, and theology. As the very word of the perfect, faithful, and true God (Matt. 5:48; 1 Pet. 2:21-22; John 14:6), the entire Bible cannot be false (2 Tim. 3:16; Prov. 30:5; Psa. 12:6). However, due to the fallibility of man in regards to forming Bible translations, the absolute inerrancy of the Scriptures extends only to the original manuscripts. Although certain modern translations are reliable, true and accurate meaning of the Scriptural texts can be attained through its literal and grammatical-historical interpretation.
That “the Bible is inerrant” is not explicitly mentioned in the Biblical texts, but certain biblical rationales prove it as true. The first argument regarding inerrancy is the Historical argument – which, I believe, is the least of all arguments. It argues that inerrancy is long accepted by the church throughout the history. Through careful study and timely discussions, the church considered it as true. Opponents argue that these churchmen simply devised the principle. However, the churchmen simply acknowledged it for what is already existent (the Biblical Canon), not invented it. The second argument is the Epistemological argument, which asserts that, to make an authoritative knowledge justified, it should be inerrant. If the Scripture is authoritative in nature, then it is right to assume that it is right in all its authoritative claims. Otherwise, it is unreliable and self-opposing. The third argument is the Biblical argument, which holds that the Scripture uses itself to defend its inerrancy. John 10:34-35 and Isaiah 55:10-11 explains that every minute detail of God’s word will be fulfilled. If Scriptures contain error, then God’s claim of fulfillment is nullified. Lastly, the fourth argument is the Slippery Slope argument – which I deem best. It argues that the denial of some parts of the Scriptures necessarily means a [perpetual] denial of the rest of it. For instance, a denial of a certain verse from the word of God implies that God is wrong. If God is wrong, then He is not perfect. If He is not perfect, then His other attributes such as omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, faithfulness, and others taught in the Scriptures will also be deemed wrong.
Inspiration and inerrancy are linked to each other. Simply, if the perfect and all-superior God is the author of the Bible, then His words cannot be lacking, false, or misleading.
In practical, the inspiration and inerrancy of the Scripture imply that one should study it through its literal, contextual, and grammatical-historical interpretation. Also, its inerrancy means that we ought to read it, for every right and godly counsel we need is found in it. Further, this implies that everything in the Bible should be accepted and obeyed in every matter pertaining to life (2 Pet. 1:3; 1 Pet. 2:2-3; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 4:12)
Elwell, Walter. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter Elwell. Ada, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2001.
Stringer, I. A Dictionary of Bible Knowledge, ed. H.J. Appleby. England: Grace Publications Trust, 1992.