Please note: For better understanding, please read the previous part of this study before reading this one. Click here to read Part 01 of this study
The available data strongly support the belief in inerrancy. The very fact that it is still possible today to claim the autographs were inerrant is an indication that no one has yet succeeded in showing there is even one substantial, undeniable, legitimate error or contradiction in our present copies. After all, the Bible has proved its reliability in many ways and in many areas, and stood the test of time. Methodological analyses of inerrancy categorize the testimonies about the inerrancy of the scriptures as follows:
The pillar of Christian faith is the doctrine of inspiration which states that the authors and editors of the Bible were led or influenced by God with the result that their writings may be designated as the word of God. This is rooted in the Biblical verse 2 Timothy 3:16. Since all scriptures are breathed out by the Almighty God Himself, it ought to be true and inerrant. God can neither lie nor teach truth using errors. This infallible character of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit essentially proves that the scripture which is inspired by God is also true and inerrant in every aspect. Furthermore, the logical proof shows that since God is truth (Romans 3:4, John 3:33 ), what is breathed out by God, must also be true (John 17:17) and infallible.
Bible teaches its own infallibility and inerrancy. Some critics bring forward a lame argument that the word inerrant is not seen in the Bible. Just because inerrancy is not a Biblical term does not mean that the concept of inerrancy is not taught in the Scripture. Important concepts like Trinity, rapture, etc. which are not Biblical terms are taken from Biblical content itself. Rather than the literal word, the concept is given importance. The main reason why we think the Bible is Inerrant is that the Scripture tells us so.
The legitimacy of considering the Bible’s self testimony as the basis of inerrancy doctrine need not be questioned. This is because the base of our faith is God himself who has attested the scriptures as the source of all true spiritual knowledge. Just like we consider scriptures as the primary source of advice in the doctrines like sin, salvation, judgment, and the future, we need to base the doctrine of inerrancy [which in turn is the building block of other doctrines] in the scripture itself. The Old Testament itself declares 3,808 times that it conveys the words of God Himself. Most of the authors of the biblical books have confirmed that they are communicating God’s word and it is flawless.
Old Testament Writers
All prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Jonah, Micah, Joel, Amos, Zechariah, Obadiah, Zephaniah and Habakkuk has confirmed in their writings that they are conveying Words of God.
Moses declared that the law was given by God himself and warned Israelites not to add to or diminish from them. [Deuteronomy 4:2, 6:1-2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12:32].
Psalmists affirms that the word of God is:
New Testament Writers
Paul says the Word is Holy, Righteous, and good. [Romans 7:12, 1 Timothy 3:15]. He also testifies that it is inspired [2 Timothy 3:16, Romans. 3:2, 1 Corinthians 2:12-13,] and true [2 Timothy 2:15]. The apostle's teaching is so explicit in Galatians 3:16-17, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, 4:8
Peter confirms the doctrine of inspiration [2 Peter 1:21, 3:2, 3:15-16] and declares that it is eternal, [1 Peter 1:25] living and active [1 Peter 1:23].
Author of the epistle to Hebrews also mentions that the word of God is living and active [Hebrews 4:12]
Apostle John concludes his revelation [Revelation 22:18-19] with the warning against human intervention for changing the Word of God.
Words of Jesus Christ
Since Jesus Christ is the example for Christians, it is perfectly sensible to consider his teachings and quotes as one of the most important criteria for evaluating the inerrancy of the scriptures. It is obvious from his words that our Lord Jesus had absolute confidence in the authenticity, factuality, and reliability of the scriptures. He proved the following aspects of his teachings:
During the ministry on the earth, Jesus attested many historical facts in the Old Testament.
Jesus affirms the plenary inspiration of the scripture in Matthew 4:1-11. Quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, He responded to Satan that man is to live by every word (plenary) that comes out of the mouth of God (inspiration). By attesting the finality of the scripture (usage of “It is written”) it is clear that Jesus negates all views of inerrancy in the Bible.
In Matthew 5:17-18, Christ promised that the entire Old Testament, the Law, and the Prophets, would be fulfilled, not abolished pointing out that all of it is inspired and true. In Luke 16:17 also He mentions that not even a stroke of the pen [“jot” or “tittle”] in the scripture will be dropped out. Both verses establish the particularity of inerrancy (“jot,” “tittle”), and the extent of inerrancy (all Scripture). A basic understanding of the Hebrew alphabets may help in better understanding the significance of this statement. Below given is a table of Hebrew alphabets.
The smallest letter Hebrew alphabet “Yod” (see picture) is referred to as ‘jot’ in the English translation. It may look like an apostrophe in English. The word “tittle” in English translation refers to minor and almost unnoticeable strokes that distinguish certain Hebrew letters from others. In the above picture, the letter “Dalet” and “Reish” is distinguished by a protrusion that in a normal font type would not be more than 1/16 of an inch. That tiny protrusion is referred to as tittle. This tittle can be observed in the comparisons of the letters “Beit” and “Kaf” as well. The presence or absence of “tittle” or “jot” could change the word and/or meaning of a statement. Jot and title may be scarcely compared to “letter and syllable” in the English language.What Jesus meant by using this comparison is that the scriptures are precisely accurate to the smallest possible pen stroke or letter. It is impossible to think of another expression to conclusively establish the meticulous accuracy, validity, and truth of the law. Based on this unique formula of assertion used by Jesus, if it is easier for heavens and earth to pass from existence than for a “jot or tittle” to be failed, it is very clear that even the minutest detail in the scriptures are infallible, authoritative, and trustworthy. This passage in Matthew clearly shows that Jesus had a view of plenary inspiration about the scriptures.
In John 10:31-38 Christ confidently clarifies the infallibility, accuracy, and reliability of the scriptures, even when his life was at stake on that matter. He refers Old Testament as the Law and quoting the Psalmist, [Psalm 82] points out that the judges in Israel were called “Gods” though they were mere humans, due to their God-given office. Stressing this fact, it was concluded that if a mere man can be referred to as “God” the Son of God who was sent to the earth is more suited for that word. The very fact that Jesus focused on the single word, “God” reveals that He affirms the verbal infallibility of scripture. He was emphasizing that the minutest part or even a part of the sentence, is inspired by God. Furthermore, in verse 35, He asserts that “the word cannot be broken” indicating the authoritative inspiration of the scriptures. Since only an inerrant nature can conclude this authority, it is clear that Jesus knew the scriptures are infallible.
Matthew 22:23-33 is another instance where Jesus focused on specific written words rather than a general concept. Quoting God’s words to Moses, at the burning bushes, He clarifies the doctrine of life after death. He said that though He is the God of the living, by using present tense in identifying himself as God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob [I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob] it is implied that they are living before God, after their physical death in the earth. When man ignores the usage of “I am” vs. “I was” as an insignificant matter, God had a specific reason to use that part of speech exactly like that. From Jesus’ teaching of this passage of the scripture, it is understood that He affirms
In Matthew 22: 41-46 Jesus clarifies the authority of scriptures to his listeners. Quoting Psalm 110:1, he asked Pharisees how David can call Messiah as his Lord if Messiah is his son, to which they had no answer. The only possible way is that the Messiah is both God and Man. This clearly shows that Jesus acknowledged that the passages in the scriptures which are not be properly understood by everyone in the true context do not imply an error or difficulty, rather it simply proves the authority of the bible, since God never makes a mistake as a human does. Thus it is clearly understood that Jesus, the God incarnate, himself has pronounced that the Bible is infallible, inspired, inerrant and hence totally trustworthy.
For those who oppose the presupposition of inerrancy truth, lot of historical and scientific evidence exists to prove the accuracy of the Bible.
Though the Bible was not written as a work of science, wherever the Bible describes the physical world, it is accurate. A common but lame attack by the liberals on the Bible is in the usage of “Sunrise” or “Sunset” in the scriptures. However, they do not consider that even in the languages in the modern world, we do use these terms in literature and it does not refer that Sun is moving. The theory of evolution was an unsuccessful attempt by a human to question the creation defined in the Bible.
As a matter of fact, several centuries before the scientific inventions by man, Bible has proclaimed, many science facts such as the following:
It is interesting to know that science textbooks are constantly being rewritten. With the discovery of quantum physics, the theories of classical physics have to be revisited. With the revelation of relativity, we can no longer be certain of the environment we are living in. compared to the absolute and unchanging nature of God and His Word, the nature of science is so uncertain and changing.
Many critics vainly try to accuse Bible of contradicting itself without knowing the fact that a difficulty is not a contradiction. Some apparent contradictory statements are harmonized upon gaining more information. Most contradictory statements are only superficial and taken out of context.
Throughout the Bible, we can see God’s divine intervention in human history for fulfilling the eternal plan. These interventions are proven in numerous modern archeological and historical inventions. These proofs can be laid out in different categories:
In modern historical science, several techniques are available for dating documents and traditions, verifying events reported in those documents, and reconstructing and interpreting those reports. These techniques are effectively used in defending the inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures. By analyzing the textual content of the scriptures using the tools available in historical sciences, one can conclude the source, authenticity and infallibility of the Bible.
Biblical archaeology is the archaeology that relates to, and sheds light upon, the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament. Certain discoveries from countries in the Middle East [Egypt, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Syria, and Palestine] have contributed the most to the development of archeology that helps Bible students. Recent years have witnessed a lot of archeological findings supporting the accuracy of biblical scriptures. Some of the major findings are:
The archeological findings related to the Bible are too numerous to be listed here. All points to the fact that the Bible is free from errors.
The Genuine prophecies listed in the Bible are the most evidential for substantiating the Bible’s claim to divine inspiration. The amount of predictive matter in the Bible is 8,352 verses out of its total 31,124. This means that the portion of the Bible that is predictive is 27% (28.5% in the Old Testament and 21.5% in the New Testament). There is no other Scripture on the face of the earth, nor has there ever been, which even comes close to this kind of predictive ability. Every prophecy in the Bible that is intended to the period till date is fulfilled with 100% accuracy. No other predictions in the world can claim this accuracy. Some of the major historical events which were predicted in the Bible decades and centuries before its happening are listed below:
The Christian church for all these past 2000 years has held fast to the doctrine of inerrancy. When Errantists maintain that inerrancy has not been the historic position of the Church they are either unacquainted with the data or refuse to accept it. As Lindsell states: There is no evidence to show that errancy was ever a live option in the history of Christendom for eighteen hundred years in every branch of the Christian Church that had not gone off into aberration. Bible has stood the test of time. Its authors are proven trustworthy over the centuries.
There is no middle ground or partial inerrancy. The whole of the original autographs of the Bible is verbally inspired, divinely infallible and absolutely inerrant. Man’s knowledge has often proved unreliable and limited. However, in spite of the wealth of confirmation for 2,000 years, even in light of 200 years of recent skeptical attack, the Bible has proved its reliability in many ways and in many areas, and it is absolutely worthy of our trust.