Category: Scripture, Word: INFALLIBILITY
July 3, 2015 | by: Kendell Easley, prepared by Dave Maniquis | 0 Comments
Posted in: 52 Words
The ordinances of the Lord are reliable and altogether righteous. They are more desirable than gold—than an abundance of pure gold… In addition, Your servant is warned by them; there is great reward in keeping them. (Psalm 19:9-11)
DEFINITION: The infallibility of the Bible means that it is perfectly true and that it accomplishes the purpose the divine Author intended each of its parts to achieve.
The religious and ethical teachings of the Bible declare the mind of God to mankind. He gave His Word not for the joy of theoretical knowledge but to lead persons to know Him, resulting in eternal life. God’s Word infallibly performs what He means it to accomplish: “So My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please, and will prosper in what I send it to do” (Is 55:11). God’s people throughout the ages have depended on Scripture as utterly reliable in at least these ways:
- Historical accuracy: The narrative accounts of Scripture that on the surface claim to record real space-time events are in fact accurate descriptions.
- Scientific facts: Such fact as the creation of the world and the flood of Noah’s time are accepted, not the least because Jesus believed them to be true (Mt 19:4; Lk 17:26-27).
- Divine commands: The ethical and religious teachings of the Bible are binding on His people (recognizing that many commands, such as those concerning animal sacrifices, had a built-in obsolescence (Hb 8:13).
- Prophetic revelation: The prophecies of the Bible will certainly come to pass. The focus of prophecy is on the first and second coming of the Messiah.
Infallibility, of course, presumes that the Bible is interpreted correctly. Both fools and those who are willfully perverse can twist Scripture so that its message is missed. This goes all the way back to Eden, with the tempter’s insinuation, “Did God really say…?” (Gn 3:1). The burden of right interpretation is balanced by the parallel truth of Scripture’s perspicuity (clarity). This means that Scripture is sufficiently clear in its essential teaching. All believers may read and study it, confident that they will learn all they need for becoming more Christlike.
In the twentieth century, many North American Christians emphasized the term “inerrancy” in their descriptions of the Bible. This term focuses on historical and scientific statements in the Bible as being without error. Because the Bible’s religious teachings are often based on the reliability of historical reports (such as the bodily resurrection of Jesus), it is important to insist that these have been accurately recorded. When all the facts have become known, the Bible time and time again has been even as entirely true. One of the best approaches for understanding inerrancy and infallibility is to study the way Jesus treated the Scriptures of His day. He considered Scripture to be historically accurate, prophetically reliable, and a true record of the will of God. Along these lines He stated, ”Scripture cannot be broken” (Jn 10:35) and “You are deceived, because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God” (Mt 22:29).
REFLECTION: Why believe that the Bible itself is inerrant? What is the difference between infallibility and inerrancy? What are the implications if the Bible is 100-percent true?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank You that according to Hebrews 4:12 “the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow.” Help me to be alive by Your Word today and every day. Amen.
Dave Maniquis is a Teaching Elder at Restoration Church. He holds a BA in History from Rutgers University and an MA in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He enjoyed a 23-year career in the U.S. Government, working and traveling extensively in Western and Eastern Europe. He has been a Christian for most of his adult life and has been involved in church planting, overseas as well as here in Port Orange, teaching the Bible and speaking into others’ lives with the Gospel. He is married to Maureen and they have two wonderful sons, Dylan and Evan.