Posts in Uncategorized
The Inerrancy of Scripture



“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” - Hebrews 10:16

Communication is a multistep process. It requires that the thoughts of one individual be transmitted through a medium and into the mind of another individual. The desired end result is that the receiver of a message has the exact same thoughts as the giver of that message.  The receiver of that message can then act in a way that corresponds to the information that was given them.
The mark of a good writer is someone who can effectively communicate those ideas to a diverse audience. A good writer is one who can also communicate an emotion, not just give propositions but also influence the emotions and desires of the other individual. 
I believe that it is God’s intention to communicate clearly information that doesn’t just reach our heads but also hearts.  This information has been revealed to us inerrantly in the pages of the Bible.
Inerrancy Today
A few years ago Pew Research published a report on the current religious beliefs of America. Only 33% of Americans agreed that the Word of God is literally true Word for Word. I see some serious consequences with this. If we do not take the Word of God as being literally true then how can we accept it as being authoritative? Even if we did believe it was true, we still struggle enough as it is to obey it.
But I think that this is the heart of why the idea of inerrancy has been so strongly attacked. We all want to live our lives on our terms and don’t want scripture telling us how we should or shouldn’t live our lives. If the Bible can be proved to be errant, then the "rules" no longer apply. We are constantly looking for loopholes in the rules.

Furthermore, all other doctrines in the Bible are irrelevant and nonsensical if the foundation of what we believe about scripture is lacking. Why even study soteriology or eschatology if we believe that there could be errors in the Bible? Can you see the importance of why you might want to deny or prove the inerrancy of scripture?

I do believe that the Bible is inerrant and here are 3 reasons why:
1.              My understanding of my ignorance.
2.              My understanding of the effects of sin.
3.              Evidence.
Ignorance

It has been said by many learned people in history that the more you know, the more you realize how little you know. As I have studied scripture and surveyed what there is to know in this world, I realize that I have only scratched the surface. I can try to understand the history of the life and times of Jesus, but in the end, there are so many variables unaccounted for. I have to admit that at the end of the day when I read scripture, I may not understand how it can be so and I am OK with that because I find other areas in my learning that perceived paradoxes can be explained as knowledge is gained. I often just don’t have all the data in to come to a conclusion.
The Effects of Sin
There have been times where I have been driving and when I try to tune in a particular radio station, all I get is static. It would be absurd for me to call up the radio station and complain that they are broadcasting static. That would imply that the problem is with the station or the information being transmitted rather than perhaps a problem with my radio or how I am receiving it.
In the same way it seems that we are so quick to look at a seemingly difficult to understand passage of scripture and conclude that the Bible has errors. We seem to think that we are the smartest people who have ever lived and that the writings of the “ancients” were “primitive” and we are now so refined to believe any of that nonsense. It is evident that the default of mankind is to assume that “I am right and everyone else is wrong because I am smarter than everyone else, including the Word of God”. This arrogance blinds us from knowing the truth. We are quick to conclude what we want to believe by looking only for evidence that supports our desired conclusions rather than looking into evidence that goes against it.
Evidence
There are many seemingly problematic areas of scripture that make it seem as if there are errors. But usually the objectors to these claims in scripture are operating under certain presumptions of what is true about the world we live in. If there is no supernatural, it would be logical to conclude that Jesus cannot walk on water. But to believe that there is no supernatural is absurd because we all understand at the very least that everything came from something. So then why is it difficult to believe that our Creator would not interact with His creation in supernatural ways? There are numerous ways we can explain these seemingly problematic passages of scripture and I think that the arguments for them are good and I can admit when I think they are poor.
God Has Spoken Clearly

In the end, I find that God’s word is inerrant because it is the ultimate standard for truth and it claims to be inerrant. As a favorite author of mine has explained, all claims to truth are circular in their reasoning. For me, I believe that the Bible is inerrant because it claims to be inerrant. What other standard should I use to draw this conclusion? If I say that reason should be used to determine whether scripture is true, this implies that my mind and my confidence in my ability to reason and research accurately is the ultimate standard of truth. But as mentioned above, I find reason to be fundamentally flawed and I rely on something outside of my fallable reason to tell me what truth really is: The Word of God.

Is Justified Belief Necessary?

One night there were two sets of couples walking underneath the stars to their car. As they drew closer to the car, Tom pointed up to the moon and said, “Hey look! It’s a full moon tonight!” Everyone looked up at the moon. After a few seconds to take it all in, Jim explained “Wow, isn’t it amazing how much cheese the moon is made of?” Pam laughed at Jim and replied, “Are you being serious? The moon isn’t made of cheese!” Tom laughed as well at what seemed to be an absurd statement. Annoyed at the response he was receiving, Jim proceeded to state several reasons why the moon was most certainly made of cheese. Pam then countered with some reasons why the moon was most certainly NOT made of cheese. As they argued back and forth, Jim was becoming more and more frustrated and asked Jan what she thought. “I think you are right.” she responded. “Everybody knows that the moon is made of cheese!”

It is possible to classify all types of people into different types of groups based on their ethnicity, age, beliefs, etc. I am proposing that every person who has ever lived has fallen into one of four categories based on how what they believe in and whether or not they justify those beliefs in any way. These 4 types of people are listed below:
1.     Believes it, has justification, and in reality it is false.
2.     Believes it, has no justification, and in reality it is truth.
3.     Believes it, has justification, and in reality it is the truth.
4.     Believes it, has no justification, and reality it is false.
Person 1: Jim falls into the first category. He believes that the moon is made of cheese and has several reasons to believe this to be so. In reality though, what he believes is false. This means that every argument that he gave for what he believed was based on some sort of faulty reasoning.
Person 2: Tom is person number 2. In this story Tom doesn’t believe that the moon is made of cheese. He can give no justification for what he believes. He is also unable to give an internal critique of Jim’s argument to point out where his reasoning is faulty.
Person 3: Pam, like Tom, doesn’t believe that the moon is made of cheese. Unlike Tom, she has justifications for why the moon is not made of cheese. Perhaps she argues that all cheese comes from cows and no cow could survive on the moon without a space suit, which is an unbelievable thing to consider. She may have several other reasons she can give to show why Jim is wrong.
Person 4: Jan is like Jim in that she believes that the moon is made of cheese. She is wrong about this. Furthermore, she has no justification why the moon is made of cheese. The only justification she can give is that most everybody believes it to be true and therefore it must be true.
I believe that Jan is the person worst off in this story. Not only is she wrong in her understanding of the world but she also believes blindly. I think this is similar to what most of the world around us believes. They go with the flow of what others around them think and don’t care to have reasons for why they believe. They just believe what they are told and go about their business. This is even more tragic when you see that what they believe has seriously negative repercussions on how they live their lives and the level of joy they have.
Jim is wrong about what he believes but you do have to commend him for at least trying to find the truth. But if Jim stubbornly believes that the moon is made of cheese even after it being clearly shown that the moon is indeed not made of cheese then he is in a worse state than Jan because his pride has blinded him from the truth and has led many others like Jan away from the real truth. I liken Jim to those in the world who religiously hold to their beliefs even though their reasoning has been clearly shown to be inadequate and absurd. From a Christian perspective, I see these as the leaders of other religions that counter Christianity including the religions of Atheism and Agnosticism. Though I have greater respect for these individuals than someone like Jan, it never ceases to amaze me the extent one will go in their pride to defend what cannot be defended.
Tom is in a much better place than Jan and Jim but not where he ought to be. Tom has knowledge of the truth but doesn’t seem to care to take much time to understand why it is indeed true. So, when Tom is ridiculed by all of Jim and Jan’s friends for not believing that the moon is made of cheese, he becomes saddened and begins to wonder if maybe he is wrong. Trying to fit in, he even begins to live out the negative lifestyle patterns that Jim and Jan live out that steal from the joy that he could have if he grew deeper in his knowledge of truth and forsook the criticism that was given to him by those who were clearly perishing. At the same time, he is unable to assist Pam in critiquing Jim’s argument in hopes that he will discover the truth. This does a disservice to all 4 of the people in this story. Most importantly, it does a great disservice to the Originator of Objective Truth. I see Toms all throughout the church today. My great struggle is to encourage others like Tom to be proactive in their learning so that they can be confident in the Truth and great communicators of the Truth so that perhaps they may also be great persuaders of the Truth.
Pam is the bittersweet one of the bunch. It is sweet in that she has knowledge of the Truth, which means that she has a special connection to the Originator of Truth. But at the same time, Pam is often lonely and has to fight feelings of frustration at the world around her. She wants everyone to know the Truth but others are either too prideful to admit they are wrong, too uninterested to discover the truth, or worst of all, a combination of pride and disinterest. What can Pam do? She must continually rejoice that the Originator of Truth has shown her the truth and the justifications for it. Most importantly, she must have peace that the Originator of Truth is in control of all and is the only one who can make someone both interested to discover Truth and humble to turn from their false ways. Pam cannot make a hardened person change their mind and cannot speak with enough angst to motivate a disinterested heart to be interested. These two things are an act of God. Pam needs to pray and serve as faithfully as she can.
In this story, it makes little difference as to whether someone believes the moon is made of cheese or not. But in the everyday world we live in, the truth can be a matter of life or death. It is extremely important that we know why we believe so that we can discover where beliefs are justified and where they are unjustifiable. The world we live in needs it.
13 But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. – John 17: 13-19